Bulang Sabong Cockfighting

Gameness (til the End) From All Over The World

Cockfighting on Web Enters Legal Arena

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– Gameness (til the End)

Sunday, July 22, 2007
Cockfighting on Web Enters Legal Arena
Broadcaster’s Suit Challenges Anti-Cruelty Law
By Peter Whoriskey, Washington Post Staff Writer

MIAMI — One evening last week, two roosters in a ring surrounded by cheering spectators pecked and clawed one another in a fight to the death. With each lunge, feathers flew, then floated to the ground. Finally, one bloodied bird, its eyes plucked out, lurched and faltered.

“Red is blinded,” shouted the announcer. “Red goes down. . . . Now he’s really hurt. . . . A tremendous blow by Blue!”

Every state in the nation has a law banning cockfighting. But this match was held in Puerto Rico, where the fights are legal, and transmitted to the States by the Web site ToughSportsLive.com.

The Web site’s backers defend it as an exploration of cultural traditions. But the site has also triggered a federal lawsuit in Miami that asks whether Internet feeds of cockfighting can be sold legally in the United States, to people in places where cockfighting has been banned.

The change in the focus of the debate — from live fights to video depictions of them — has expanded the argument over cockfighting’s cruelty into one that involves the First Amendment and, its defenders say, cockfighting’s cultural significance in other countries.

“It’s a historical sport; they’ve been practicing it for thousands of years, and I’m just documenting it,” said Jason Atkins, whose Hollywood, Fla., company is behind the Web site.

On one side is his company, Advanced Consulting and Marketing, which argues that cockfighting is a venerable tradition in many countries, including the Philippines and Thailand, and that stifling it is a violation of the First Amendment. The company has sued to overturn a 1999 law that prohibits interstate sales of images depicting cruelty to animals. If it is unable to achieve that, it wants the law interpreted to allow coverage of cockfights.

On the other side of the legal divide are animal rights groups that see the activity as disgusting and cruel.

“It’s an indefensible form of staging fights — watching these animals hack each other to death,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, which has led the campaign against the contests.

Drawing a comparison to child pornography, Pacelle argued that the cockfighting Web site should be considered illegal.

“Any sensible person can see there is no socially redeeming aspect of cockfighting,” he said.

At the heart of the dispute is a law signed by President Bill Clinton that makes it illegal to create, sell or possess a depiction of animal cruelty with the intention of selling the depiction — across state lines or internationally — for commercial gain.

The law was aimed at videos that show women harming animals to appeal to sexual fetishists.

In signing the law, Clinton said it was important that the law not be construed so broadly as to “chill protected speech.”

Toward that end, the law offers an exception for depictions of animal cruelty that have “serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical or artistic value.” But the law does not spell out which depictions qualify.

Atkins’s company argues that the exception for serious value applies to cockfighting. The lawsuit quotes St. Augustine of Hippo writing about a cockfight in “De Ordine”: “Why do all cocks behave this way? Why do they fight for the sake of supremacy of the hens subject to them? Why did the very beauty of the fight draw us aside from this higher study for a whole, and onto the pleasures of the spectacle?”

The company’s Miami lawyer, David Markus, dismisses the child pornography comparison, instead comparing cockfighting to bullfighting, hunting and fishing.

“There is no cockfighting exception to the First Amendment as there is for child pornography or hate speech or violent speech,” he said. “You can watch bullfighting, hunting, fishing and any number of activities that some would call cruelty to animals on TV. Some would call those sports.”

Atkins said he considers cockfighting “natural” because the birds fight on their own. Not so in dogfighting, which he said he opposes. Dogfighting is in the news now because of pro football player Michael Vick’s recent indictment on charges related to his alleged operation of a dogfighting ring in Virginia.

But Pacelle scorned the appeal to history, tradition and nature, describing the allure of cockfighting in more mundane terms.

“There is a dark place in the human soul that is expressed in a small number of people in violence toward animals,” Pacelle said. “There’s nothing artistic about the presentation. . . . They’re selling plain old cockfighting videos.”

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2009/03/24 Posted by | Liberty and Freedom | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sabong: A Sport and Industry Filipinos Can Be Proud Of

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– Gameness (til the End)

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Jan 19, 2009

Even before the Spaniards landed in our shores, our forefathers were already fighting roosters. According to Magellan’s chronicler Pigafetta when they landed in the island of Palawan, “We found the natives fighting huge, but very tamed roosters”.

In a case study by American Scott Guggenheim, who stayed in Cagayan Valley for almost two years, it was mentioned that the Filipino’s fondness for the cockfighting was employed by the Spaniards to make governing the natives easier. “People were living so far apart from each other, so the rulers built cockpits and the natives transferred around these establishments”.

It was also thru cockfighting that the first acts of taxation were implemented. History tells us that the first semblance of upheaval by the Filipinos was when Spanish government raised the fees and taxes on cockfighting. Though it may be true that cockfighting was employed against us, we did turn the tables on the Spaniards in the same manner, due to the fact that the cockpits became the ideal recruitment grounds for the prospective members of the Katipunan that paved the way for us to win back our freedom.

When the Americans came, they implemented things to make the Filipinos turn their backs from and forget cockfighting, but they failed. Under the American regime, textbooks were printed in the hope of putting the sports in a bad light, thus the phrase that “if a cocker’s house catches fire, the will save his rooster first, then his wife” was spread. The Americans also introduced baseball to the hilt, hoping the youth would adopt the said sport and completely veer away from cockfighting, but to no avail, Cockfighting continuously became popular.

SABONG IN THE ’80s

In 1981 the Philippine Gamefowl Commission was created by the virtue of Presidential Decree 1802. The ’80’s was the decade when Philippine cockfighting saw a strong resurgence. The success of what were considered as truly Filipino breeds such as Lemon 84, the Mitra Blues, and the Zamboanga Whites gave new colors and a foundation of hope to the sport. It was during this time that a number of cocking stars rose to fame.

New cockpits were built while existing ones were refurbished and improved such as San Juan Coliseum, Cavite Coliseum, and Roligon Mega Cockpit that presented record-breaking events that brightly augmented the glitter of Araneta Coliseum’s revered contribution to Philippine cockfighting, the World Slasher Cup.

SABONG IN THE ’90s

The passing into law of the Omnibus Local Government Code of 1991 that ordered the devolution of the Philippine Gamefowl Commission and gave the local government units blanket authority and power over cockfighting, paved the way in the easing up of restrictions on cockfighting that blew open doors for the long overdue expansion of the sports. More cockpits were established. More derbies were held. It was also during this period that several periodicals on cockfighting were put in circulation such as Pinoy Sabungero Magasin, Sabong Magasin, Birds & Steel, and Philippine Cockfights Newsmag. Tukaan, the first tele-magazine program on cockfighting and gamefowl breeding went on air in 1999.

It was in the 90’s when specialty feeds, vitamins and medicine for the gamefowls were produced by such companies as Thunderbird with its “winning formula”. The huge increase in the number of cockpits resulted in stiff competition to the benefit of the cockfighters. Rich and attractive derby promotions were staged outdoing each other in the amount of prizes and gimmicks. They offered large guarantee prizes with easily affordable entry feee like the Hatawan sa Tag-ulan and Largahan of Roligon. This paved the way for mass-based cockers to try derby fighting for the first time.

2000 TO THE PRESENT

It cannot be denied that at the onset of the new millennium, one of the biggest thngs that ever happened to Philippine cockfighting, particularly in the field of gamefowl breeding, become a reality. It was the creation of the National Federation of Gamefowl Breeders that bound the already existing breeders’ associations under one umbrella and also provided the inspiration for gamefowl breeders in every region and provinces to put up their respective associations.

The next big development was the easing up on the importation of fighting cocks and breeding stocks from America. While before that time, only participants in an international derby can bring gamebirds into the country, the Bureau of Animal Industry, to the delight of the local rooster-raisers allowed anyone to import, as long as his farm is registered with the said agency.

Nowadays, Philippine cockfighting is at am all time high. There are now two federations after the United Gamecock Breeders Association was formed by groups that decided to break away from the NFGB. Today, NFGB is stronger with about 30 member breeder’s associations boosted by the formations of new provincial and regional groups.

Before, it was only the World Slasher Cup, but today there are five to six international derbies being held each year. However, the Slasher, which is held twice a year at the historic Araneta Coliseum for more than 30 years now, is undoubtedly the most prestigious and regarded internationally as the “Olympics of Cockfighting” joined by the best cockfighters from here and abroad bringing along their finest winged-warriors. Legends like Duke Hulsey, Joe Goode, Billy Ruble, Jimmy East, Dee Cox, Ray Alexander, Carol Nesmith, and Johnny Jumper have graced the Slasher which Jorge “Nene” Araneta’s flaming commitment to Philippine cockfighting.

For the first time, World Slasher Cup’s 3-day format had to be spread as a five-day event with the number of participants finally breaking the 200-mark. The healthy competition and interaction between local and visiting cockfighters has contributed so much to the high pedigree of “warbirds” that we have in the Philippines today. Moreover, this semi-annual cockfighting spectacle through the years, has also become the homecoming occasion for thousands of Pinoy sabungeros working abroad or have acquired foreign citizenship, but have remained Filipinos in their passion for sabong.

Philippine cockfighting is alive and kicking and hundreds of thousand of families now owe their livelihood to cockfighting and the gamefowl industry. There are those who are directly employed, the gamefowl breeders, handlers, gaffers, cockpit owners, cockpit operators, derby promoters, bet-takers, vendors, etc.

Thousand more are benefited by way of employment in allied industries that provide products and services to cockfighting and gamefowl breeding such as that work in gamefowl feeds and vetmed companies, just to name a few.

Today, the sport of cockfighting and the gamefowl breeding industry is estimated to be at P50 billion.

philippine daily inquirer a sports and industry filipinos can be proud of To read from source click photo and another window will open then zoom in until you can read the prints.

On World Slasher Cup One Winning Formula

For more than 30 years, the World Slasher Cup has been continuously held at the Araneta Coliseum as a burning commitment of Jorge “Nene” Araneta to the Filipino cockers.

More than the world-class battle between prized roosters bred and raised locally or brought in from America and other countries, the World Slasher Cup has provided the glitter and glamour that has raised the bar of competition and pushed the level of acceptance and popularity of the Sport to greater heights.

The undisputed “Olympics of Cockfighting” has lured the most promiment rooster-raisers and cockfighters from the United States bringing along their finest winged-warriors. Legends like Duke Hulsey, Joe Goode, Billy Ruble, Jimmy East, Dee Cox, Ray Alexander, Carol Nesmith, and Johnny Jumper among others have graced the World Slasher Cup.

The healthy competition and interaction has contributed so much to the high pedigree of “warbirds” that we have in the Philippines today.

Moreover, this semi-annual cockfighting spectacle, through the years, have also become the homecoming event for thousands of Pinoy sabungero working abroad or have acquired foreign citizenship, but have remained Filipinos in their passion for sabong.

The prestige of winning a World Slasher Cup has served as the inspiration for cockers everywhere to race against each other in acquiring the dominant bloodlines available and breed then in the hope of coming out with the elusive nick that will produce the offspring battlecocks fit to enter the World Slasher Cup.

together with this quest is the determination to provide the best health and nutrition for their fightingcocks. The right feeds, vitamins, and medication – the winning formula.

Thunderbird – the gamefowl industry leader, since the launching of its first product – Thunderbird Hi-Protein Power Pellets, has provided “The Winning Formula” for the Filipino cocker.

Since 1991, when Thunderbird started on its path to pursue its vision of a promising gamefowl industry, Thunderbird’s Winning Formula has produced 8 “Champion of the World” that have won a total of 12 World Slasher Cup titles.

These are Bicol’s Cito Albert (2008 & 1991), Honey Yu of Quezon City (2008 & 2004), Dicky Lim (2006 & 2002) of the Winslet fame, Bulalayaw Game Farm owner Boy Marzo (2005), Laguna’s pride Pol Estrellado (2004), newspaper executive Rey Briones (2003), Aling Lydia’s better-half Boy “Lechon” de Roca (1995), and Zamboanga Black breeder Manny Dalipe (1991 & 1990).

The Filipino cockers have been awed, inspired and united by the World Slasher Cup staged year after year at the historic Araneta Coliseum – the acknowledged mecca of entertainment and sports in Philippines. Thru time, the celebrated event has maintained the cocker’s unwritten code of fairness, honor, friendship, honesty, and sportsmanship.

And ever since the Filipino gamefowl breeders and cockers began providing their fighters with the health and nutrition products that Thunderbird has developed to match their will and determination to win, the Pinoy sabungero has put their faith and have continued to trust Thunderbird – the winning formula.

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2009/03/24 Posted by | Liberty and Freedom | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Ban on Cockfighting, but Tradition Lives On

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– Gameness (til the End)

July 6, 2008
A Ban on Cockfighting, but Tradition Lives On
By Adam B. Ellick

CHAPARRAL, N.M. — After two weeks of preparation, 150 officers, backed up by a helicopter, slipped into this sleepy desert town. Their focus was not illegal immigration or drug smuggling, but a less pressing crime: cockfighting.

But when they raided what was billed as the Christmas Cockfighting Derby in December expecting to find 300 cockfighters, they found fewer than a dozen people. The cockfighters had been tipped off, the police said, and the officers issued tickets for four misdemeanors before seizing 12 shrieking roosters.

Last year, New Mexico became the 49th state to make cockfighting illegal. (Louisiana will become the last state when a ban there takes effect in August.) The state has devoted vast resources to ending the sport, but with only one misdemeanor conviction thus far, it continues unabated in hidden venues, cockfighters and law enforcement officials say.

And light penalties — a first offense is a petty misdemeanor — have not only failed to stop the fights, they continue to attract cockfighters from four of New Mexico’s five neighboring states, where the sport is a felony.

“It seems they’re always one step ahead of us,” said Robyn Gojkovich, who in May became the state’s first full-time animal control investigator.

Ed Lowry, 51, a paunchy rooster breeder from Chaparral, agreed.

“They ain’t shut nothing down,” said Mr. Lowry, who has not been charged, even though his truck and computers were seized in the December raid.

Mr. Lowry, who still possesses his prized bloodlines, said he constantly turns down invitations to fight. As a director of the New Mexico Gamefowl Association, a nonprofit cockfighting advocacy group, he has taken up fighting in the courts, where appeals claiming tribal, religious and cultural sovereignty have failed to win exemptions from the ban.

“A gamecock shows me what an American should be like,” he said. “You defend to the death.”

To avoid the police, law enforcement officers say, promoters have relocated the fights from large arenas to clandestine sites on sprawling properties. Lookouts are stationed atop dusty mesas, and speakers, which in the past blared mariachi music, now carry feeds from police scanners.

But law enforcement officials are not giving up. They insist their aggressive operations — the raids, the full-time investigator, a special cockfighting task force — are sending a message in a war of attrition.

Nationally, though, it appears that animal rights advocates are winning that war, and they have been helped by a high-profile case. The conviction of the football star Michael Vick in a dogfighting operation in 2007 has pushed animal cruelty cases to the fore.

Circulation of the country’s largest trade magazine for cockfighting, The Gamecock, has fallen to 8,000 from about 14,000 over the last decade as states strengthened penalties for animal cruelty. And the wider cockfighting community, once an $80 million industry in the state, is suffering. In New Mexico, profits at feed stores and hotels in cockfighting strongholds are down as much as 70 percent, owners said.

Some police officers in this state say the pressure for stepped-up enforcement from the animal rights lobby has become so intense that resources are being diverted from more serious crimes, like drunken driving and amphetamine abuse.

For years the state’s governor, Bill Richardson, a Democrat, avoided the issue. In 2006, Jay Leno ridiculed him on the “Tonight Show,” for saying there were strong arguments on both sides of the issue. At that time, the sport was already a felony in 33 states. But in March 2007, Mr. Richardson signed the measure outlawing the sport. He was widely criticized as only getting behind the legislation because he was then running for president.

“You can’t go on the national stage and have people find out you have no problem with a bloody sport,” said Sheriff Darren White of Bernalillo County, where officers issued citations for two cockfighting misdemeanors in a raid on June 21.

Mr. Richardson’s office said he would not be available to discuss the issue.

Sheriff White, a Republican who is running for Congress, said the ban has transformed public opinion on animal cruelty issues. Animal rights advocates agree.

“New Mexico is on the verge of having a modern culture,” said Heather Ferguson, the legislative director for Animal Protection of New Mexico, an animal-rights lobbying group. Ms. Ferguson said a newly established animal cruelty hot line was receiving about 90 calls every two weeks.

As public support rises, so do costs. The Chaparral raid cost the four counties involved more than $25,000, officials said. And several high-ranking police officers, who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to talk to reporters, said that while they oppose cockfighting they are frustrated at how politicians are disproportionately emphasizing the crime.

“We don’t even investigate misdemeanors on other crimes,” one officer said. “We laugh at these investigations.” Of one cockfighting raid he said: “We wasted $10,000 on a recent misdemeanor. I’d rather use that for a D.U.I. checkpoint and take 20 people off the road in the three hours and save lives over chickens. I feel good when we save chickens, but whoop-de-do, a misdemeanor?”

Others defended the raids, citing ties between cockfighting and other criminal enterprises, like illegal gambling.

“You aren’t going to take down a cockfighting ring with two or three people,” Sheriff White said. “This is not a friendly card game. There’s a lot more going on.”

Ms. Ferguson said she would like to see even more legal action on the issue. She is seeking $200,000 in additional state money to finance positions like a full-time prosecutor for animal cruelty cases. In addition, she is working to make cockfighting a felony in New Mexico. Over the next year, Animal Protection of New Mexico will lobby for about $1.1 million for three new animal custody facilities that would be completed by 2010.

For 16 years, Richard and Louisa Lopez operated a 310-seat cockfighting arena at their farm in Luis Lopez, N.M. The $30,000 they earned annually from the operation helped subsidize their farm expenses, and send their children to college. Last month, they used the arena for their family reunion and a baby shower.

“We don’t have money to buy diesel sometimes,” Mr. Lopez said. “And this is the place that kept my farm going.”

In January, the courts dismissed a suit by the New Mexico Gamefowl Association claiming economic devastation. Ms. Gojkovich, the animal control investigator, was hardly sympathetic.

“You need to go find a job at Wal-Mart,” she said.

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2009/03/24 Posted by | Liberty and Freedom | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment