This morning’s Los Angeles Times’ editorial pagesÂ has calledÂ for California to take tougher steps to stiffen penalties for illegal and the dangerous practice of cockfighting.Â The Times’ editorial cited a fatality that happened in the Central part of the state, where a rooster equipped with a razor cut a man who wound up bleeding to death.Â
The practice of cockfighting is cruel to the chickens and is a form of illegal gambling that has no place to today’s society.Â Last year, more 800 birds bred for cockfighting were seized and killed from a residence in San Diego CountyEscondido owned by a man from Fullerton.Â Police also seized razors and sharp knives that can be attached to the Rooster’s leg for the purpose of cutting its opponent.
From the Times editorial: “An incident in Central California last week was so bizarre that the headlines it generated wouldn’t be out of place in a supermarket tabloid next to tales of alien babies and Elvis sightings: “Man Killed by Rooster.” More specifically, one of the feathered contestants in an illegal cockfight in Tulare County, armed with a blade attached to its leg, apparently stabbed 35-year-old Jose Luis Ochoa in the calf, and Ochoa was declared dead of “sharp force injury” two hours later.
This isn’t the first time someone has died in what is supposed to be blood sport for birds; last summer in Merced, two men got into an argument over a $10 bet, one pulled out a gun and killed the other, and the victim’s brother and another man allegedly beat the shooter to death. But aside from the question of whether cockfights are humane for humans, they raise serious concerns about whether the state of California is doing enough to discourage them.
Californians earned a reputation for their conscientiousness about animal welfare after passing the nation’s first ban on the use of battery cages for egg-laying hens in 2008. Yet while we don’t want to crowd chickens, we don’t seem to have much of a problem with letting people attach razor-sharp knives to their fighting spurs and place bets on which one will survive. Cockfighting is a felony in nearby states such as Oregon, Arizona and New Mexico, but it’s only a misdemeanor on a first offense in California, rising to a felony on a second strike.”
Police say illegal cockfighting also attracts illicit drug use and prostitution.Â Cockfighting is illegal in every state in the Union but it is legal in both Mexico and the Phillipines.