Posted by: puebloman | September 1, 2009

A cock and bull story. . .

cock fight
cock fight

Cock fighting was outlawed in England in 1849 , at a time when the British authorities felt more kindly disposed towards chickens then they did towards people (bare knuckle fighting was still allowed). Today in England a fighting cock is a show bird – big, well muscled, beautiful plumage and a good meal. So I was astonished to discover while surfing the net  that “VélezMálaga is one of the last places in Europe where public cockfighting is conducted”. Velez Malaga is down the road from us – our nearest town. This statement appears on several sites, but the fact that all the statements use an identical form of words suggests a certain amount of lazy cutting and pasting from from one unverified source. In fact the statement is bullshit. Cock fighting is illegal throughout Spain. There is no cockpit in Velez Malaga and no Sunday cockfighting. Not officially anyway.

The Spanish government recently confused animal rights campaigners by supporting bullfighting while at the same time extending legal rights to the great apes, in what is thought to be the first time a national legislature has granted such rights to animals. Critics of the government point out that Spain in fact has no great apes, and that their so called “rights” don’t extend to being released from zoos (to whence? you may ask). Professor Roger Scruton has pointed out that rights are intrinsically bound up with responsibility and since animals can have no responsibilies, they can have no counterbalancing rights.

The domestic chicken did not come into being from man’s need for eggs, or even meat. The chicken was originally bred from the Indian jungle fowl for its aggression – as a fighter. It was in fact a sacred animal. As was the bull. I say this not to sentimentalise blood sports – I don’t especially care for blood sports. However, any meat eater who sits on a moral high horse should get out a bit more and, for example, spend a day in a slaughterhouse. There, the stench of fear shit and blood, the screaming of terrified animals queueing up to be stunned, to have their throats cut or have a bolt shot through their brain, would make any sentient being yearn for the cockpit or the bull ring.

Animals selected for fighting rather than slaughter are carefully and humanely reared in the best possible setting with the best possible food and shelter. They are at their absolute physical peak when they go to the ring. When the time comes for them to die, they are not subjected to a process of degradation. The fact is, killing animals, however you do it, isn’t very nice.

The bullfighter Frank Evans “El Ingles”, who at 67 years of age staged an elegant comeback yesterday by killing two bulls at Benamaldena bullring sporting a titanium knee and a quadruple heart bypass, has little time for those who think bullfighting is unfair or cruel.

Frank from Salford

Frank from Salford

“Generally they come from sheltered backgrounds” He says “They’ve never seen an animal die”

As usual unimaginative politicians are passing laws and “jobsworth” beaurocrats issueing edicts which bear no relationship to the everyday experience of ordinary people and do not command their respect. The big political issue is this: there are two blood sports in Spain. Cock fighting is as intrinsically Spanish as is Bullfighting. Yet one, the poor man’s sport has been banned, and the other, the sport of the wealthy, is tolerated.

Disused Cockpit, Mallorca

Disused Cockpit, Mallorca

I go to the village bar late at night. As always, no one is there and the family who run the bar – Paco and Marisol, Moses their son and Antonio who is Paco’s dad, are sitting out under the stars wondering whether to shut up shop.

Me: Antonio, do you know if there are cockfights in Velez?

Antonio: Of course there are. Do you want to go to a cockfight?

Marisol: No there aren’t any cock fights

Antonio: My grandson breeds fighting cocks

Moses: That’s right and they’re all called “Ingleses” all the different types of fighting birds (he laughs)

Marisol: (crossing her arms) I said there aren’t any fights. Its illegal

Me: Because I saw on the internet that there are fights on Sundays

Antonio: Every Sunday, that’s right. Do you want to go?

Marisol: It’s against the law. We don’t do it

Me; A lot of people round here seem to be breeding fighting cocks. . .

Antonio: That’s right, I’ve got some

Moses: Its illegal. But it’s done, everyone does it, but its against the law. If you get caught – whoa! Big fines. But you don’t get caught. Its “costumbre”. . . .


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: