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Feathers Fly Over: Cock-fighting is One of Thailand’s Most Popular Activities

Some Thai citizens are fighting to end this practice. The notion of animal welfare is slowly gaining momentum in the country. Their push saw the introduction of the first-ever animal welfare law to the applause of animal rights activists. 

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Cock-fighting is a popular sport in Thailand. If you thought that was a cliché, then consider the fact that top-fighting birds could cost up to 3 million baht, and gambling wagers are usually as large as 22 million baht. 

It Is an Old-Age Tradition

It is typical to hear the cry of roosters and the roar of engines below a Bangkok flyover. When you move closer, you will find many eyes trained on two birds sparring in a high-stakes battle. It is at this point that you will appreciate that cock-fighting is ingrained in Thai culture

Some have argued that it was a way of preserving Thai culture and passing it on to the next generation. Even the Thai government supports this sport as part of the national heritage. A representative of the Thai Interior Ministry revealed that cock-fighting has been in Thailand for over 700 years. As a result, many local communities rear birds as a source of additional income. 

Wagering 

The cock-fighting in Thailand is also very popular among gamblers. The cock-fighting fans have a chance to bet on the fights on online leading betting platforms like vWin, which is gaining traction among the fans.

One cock-fighting stadium was reported to have raked in 22 million baht for a historic bet. When you visit a cock-fighting ring, you will find thousands of spectators cheering on as the cocks lock their necks in battle. You will also notice there are numerous bets heatedly exchanging hands.  

It Is Not Unto Death

The cockfights don’t usually fight to the death like in other regions. However, some cocks usually leave the ring with fatal injuries. In other regions like the Philippines, the cocks usually fight with blades attached to their feet. Consequently, their fights sometimes end in death.

On the flip side, the Thai birds usually fight with their spurs shrouded in fabric. So, the cocks are not judged on their ability to kill their opponent. Instead, they are judged on their fighting skill. The supporters claim that these measures are taken to minimize injuries. 

Champion Birds Command a Cult Following

The cocks that emerge champions usually get a cult following similar to that of “muay thai” kickboxers. You will also find magazines dedicated to the sport. 

This also makes it a lucrative business as the best fighters can sell for as much as 3 million baht. Moreover, Thailand also exports cocks to neighboring countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. There are also buyers arriving from as far as Bahrain and France to get the Thai cocks.   

New Push to End the Tradition

Some Thai citizens are fighting to end this practice. The notion of animal welfare is slowly gaining momentum in the country. Their push saw the introduction of the first-ever animal welfare law to the applause of animal rights activists. 

These laws prohibit torture and cruelty towards animals. However, it puts an exception to activities regarded as Thailand’s traditions like cockfighting and bullfighting.     

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Michael

    September 4, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    When acts of extreme cruelty are excused as part of a nation’s culture, one has to question the very notion of progress.

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