To Flight and Fight: A Fair Cock Fight

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I’ve heard the horror stories. Razors for easy killing, fighting ’til death, blood and feathers everywhere. In fact – my Italian grandfather was known for organizing this type of thing. Cock fighting in Laos, however, was much more humane than I ever would’ve pictured.
There were three rubber rings for the match-off between two fired up chickens. Around the outdoor arena, nearly two hundred tanned Lao men were all actively engaged in some way (and apparently taking a day of from “work”). A few owners carried their prize dangling from shoulder slings. A few carried wads of Kip around for betting with the owners. The majority huddled together around the fight, peering over each other to see the action.

Three rounds, each 20 minutes long go on until one cock eventually gives up and jumps out of the ring. Until then, claw kicks to the face, wing pin-downs and pecking ensue. The men, now five or so layers deep “Uhh!” in harmony when one cock begins to take a lead. It’s hard to discern which fighter is which and even who’s winning, but what my handful of falang friends and I really found interesting was the adorning care that the cocks received by their owners.

Between rounds, the prideful men would grab their fighter and bring it to a more secluded area under the trees. Immediately they began sowing up eyeballs, rubbing open wounds down with hot, damp towels and to the biggest surprise, sucking the blood out of their cuts. The squatting Lao men would swiftly wrap their mouth over the chickens head and a few seconds later spit out the blood of the cock. It could’ve almost been romantic.

Others were force fed cucumber and water, as it upsets their stomach as makes the cocks want to fight. Some received M-150, a variation of Redbull so strong that it’s illegal in the states. A large feather gets stuck down their throat to clear it of blood and then they’re back into the ring for battle.

All in all, few feathers were lost, little blood was shed and no one died – however there was chicken on a stick, chicken feet and boiled eggs for sale!

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