Op Vocativ: Cockfighting Ruffles Feathers in Mexico

palenque-87It’s one of Mexico’s most cherished traditions, but also one of its most ghastly. Now some lawmakers are pushing to make cockfighting illegal.

TEXCOCO, MEXICO—In a small arena just north of Mexico City, fans trickle into their seats as two men enter a sandy ring, each cradling a rooster like a fragile heirloom. The men stare intensely at each other, bending their knees and delicately holding out the animals in front of them. Then the crowd quiets. An announcer gives the cue. And the men let go.

Suddenly, the birds fly forward, attacking each other with legs and beaks and wings flapping furiously, their feathers flying in a brief and brutal ballet. The scuffle is almost cartoonish in its speed and intensity. The birds move so quickly, it’s like they’re fighting in fast-forward. In a minute, it’s over. One of the roosters is dead, lying in a pool of its own blood.

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