Cockfights (August 19th, 2013)


Despite local illegalities a Philippine friend once convinced me to spend a sixties afternoon at the cockfights near Manila. Not an especially humane sport, each rooster wore a curved razor about four inches long attached to one leg-spur and spectators were reasonably confident that only a single bird would walk or limp away from the match. Winners were expected to fight another day and medical facilities included the lap of a gaunt chain smoker whose dangling cigarette ash never fell toward the stitches until he was completely done with a bird. Consistent with the times he was affectionately known as Dr. Barnard. He told me that losers invariably went into a pot. Nevertheless the predominant attendee agenda was gambling rather than dinner.

Recently I learned there is federal law against cockfighting in the US. That's no big surprise since contemporary America legislates against virtually everything but taxes. What is astounding are penalties ranging to 5 years in prison and $250,000 fines for each offense. In any case these penalties are the ones sixty year old ex-princess Irina of Romania faces in Oregon these days for her recent participation in the organization of cockfights. According to BBC the US attorney for the District of Oregon has said: "Besides being a barbaric practice, cockfighting jeopardizes public health and safety and facilitates the commission of other criminal acts1." Serious business, it seems to paragons of righteousness promoting truth, justice, and the American way.

A popular regret is that we can't seem to unleash the wrath of US attorneys against the military-industrial gang. Hypocrisy can be disturbing and it appears to some that war is almost as barbaric as cockfighting. Certainly war jeopardizes public health and safety inside invaded nations and arguably facilitates the commission of other criminal acts by making murderers of certain participants and war criminals of others. Ex-princess Irina likely organized her events without deceiving any one of the players whereas American leaders touted outright lies in order to get support for now ongoing Middle East conflicts. Surely they could be fined as a minimum even though $250,000 seems inconsequential on scale.

But I am forgetful nowadays and it's even tougher to remember the illogical. Somehow it seems ludicrous to have American laws against cockfighting with none opposing war. Even original constitutional impediments to war have been removed or nullified. Congress has not declared war since WWII despite consistently funding belligerence. Arguably Afghanistan and Iraq are the longest, least lucrative, and most ill-advised wars in our nation's history and both were instigated in myth by stupidity nevertheless still funded enthusiastically by lobbyist-owned congress.

Perhaps we need a law against using war as an instrument of national policy. Then we could unleash the sanctimonious wrath of US attorneys against the very government that hires them. No wait. That won't work. Maybe we just need a new form of government.



1, 2013. "Ex-Romanian princess Irina on Oregon cockfighting charges". Last retrieved February 04, 2016. (

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