- Title: Puerto Rico cries foul over U.S. Congress's cockfighting ban
- Date: 18th December 2019
- Summary: SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO (DECEMBER 16, 2019) (REUTERS) SEE-THROUGH CAGE LIFTING, RELEASING ROOSTERS IN PIT, ROOSTERS COCKFIGHTING, PECKING AND SCRATCHING EACH OTHER MAN HOLDING UP HIS ARM, HOLDING A STASH OF MONEY AND YELLING AT THE FIGHT COCKFIGHT MEN STANDING, ONE COUNTING MONEY CLOSE-UP OF MAN COUNTING MONEY COCKFIGHT MEN HOLDING STASHES OF MONEY, COUNTING COCKFIGHT MAN HOLDING ROOSTER, PAYING MONEY TO ANOTHER MAN WIDE SHOT OF THE PIT, ROWS OF MEN GATHERED AROUND THE PIT WATCHING (SOUNDBITE) (English) FIGHTING COCK OWNER CARLOS JUNIOR APONTE SILVA, SAYING: "This is an abuse the U.S. government is committing against our culture. We've been cockfighting for over 500 years and they (the US) is trying to go against our culture which is the rooster sport. Donald Trump said that people's cultures should be respected. Let's respect this one!" MEN GATHERED AROUND PIT, ONE MAKING A THREE-FINGER SIGN WITH HAND, CALLING "THIRTY, THIRTY" COCKFIGHT MEN GATHERED AROUND PIT, POINTING FINGERS AND YELLING VARIOUS OF MAN PUTTING SPIKES ON ROOSTER'S LEGS TO CAUSE MORE DAMAGE DURING FIGHT MAN HOLDING ROOSTER TWO MEN HOLDING ROOSTERS, THE BIRDS PUFFING UP AND OUT THEIR FEATHERS AT EACH OTHER TWO ROOSTERS FACING EACH OTHER INSIDE SEPARATE SEE-THROUGH CAGES VARIOUS OF COCKFIGHT, MEN WATCHING MAN COUNTING MONEY WIDE OF COCKFIGHT IN PIT, MEN WATCHING PENUELAS, PUERTO RICO (DECEMBER 17, 2019) (REUTERS) PART-TIME BREEDER, ELVIN LUGO RODRÃGUEZ FEEDING CAGED ROOSTERS MAN HOLDING ROOSTER ROOSTER IN CAGE / MORE CAGED ROOSTERS IN BACKGROUND (SOUNDBITE) (English) PART-TIME BREEDER, ELVIN LUGO RODRÃGUEZ, SAYING: "He (his manager) was not going to go clandestine, but If there's nothing before (December) 21st, well then we'll continue fighting cocks. I'll take my roosters and continue illegally. On the 21st we will become criminals." RODRIGUEZ FEEDING HIS ROOSTERS YAUCO, PUERTO RICO (DECEMBER 17, 2019) (REUTERS) MAN CARRYING SACK OF ROOSTER GRAIN ON SHOULDER, PILING IT ON TOP OF OTHERS VARIOUS OF ROOSTER PRODUCTS, SIGNS SHOWING PICTURE OF ROOSTERS AND READING (Spanish) "FINE ROOSTERS" PEOPLE AT ROOSTER PRODUCT STORE BAGS OF CORN PILED UP ON SHELF BOTTLES OF ROOSTER VITAMINS ON SHELF (SOUNDBITE) (English) FARMER AND SELLER, LUIS PALMER, SAYING: "We don't know what's going to happen with the rooster sport, it's an uncertainty. We are expecting a miracle." SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO (DECEMBER 16, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF COCKFIGHT WIDE OF COCKFIGHT IN PIT, MEN WATCHING
- Embargoed: 1st January 2020 20:51
- Keywords: Puerto Rico USA ban breeders cockfighting congress roosters
- Location: SAN JUAN+ PENUELAS + YAUCO, PUERTO RICO
- City: SAN JUAN+ PENUELAS + YAUCO, PUERTO RICO
- Country: USA
- Topics: Sport,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001BAI8CP3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: An attempt by the U.S. Congress to ban cockfighting in Puerto Rico has set off a debate about animal cruelty, put thousands of jobs at risk and sparked a possible power struggle between the U.S. territory's government and Washington.
The 500-year-old tradition of cockfighting in Puerto Rico was due to end on Friday (December 20) under a law passed by Congress last year to bring the island in step with prohibition in every U.S. state.
But Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez on Wednesday signed legislation designed to allow cockfighting to continue. That could set up a conflict with U.S. federal authorities.
Puerto Rican fans see cockfighting as part of their cultural heritage and say 27,000 jobs could be lost among breeders, food suppliers and others if the ban goes ahead.
They bristle at being ordered to end fights by Congress, where the island's 3 million people have no elected voting representative.
"This is an abuse the U.S. government is committing against our culture," said fighting cock owner Carlos Junior Aponte Silva.
Animal rights groups say cockfighting is cruel.
The birds have spikes attached to their legs by owners to cause more damage to opponents as men gather around a pit to watch the combatants peck and scratch each other in 12-minute fights. The death of cocks during a bout or shortly afterward is common.
The cocks' lives are miserable even without fighting, says the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) group.
"Many of these birds spend most of their lives tethered by one leg near whatever object is intended to serve as their shelter, such as an overturned plastic barrel or a small wire cage placed directly on the ground," PETA says on its website.
With Puerto Rico's economy suffering from a debt crisis and the effects of devastating hurricanes in 2017, breeders say they are prepared to go underground if need be.
"If there's nothing before (December) 21st, well then we'll continue fighting cocks ... we will become criminals," said part-time breeder Elvin Lugo.
While it is not clear how the issue will be resolved, the legislation signed by Vazquez also urges negotiations between Puerto Rico and Congress for a five-year moratorium on the ban. It also prohibits the trade of fighting cocks between the island and the rest of the United States to ensure there would be no breach of interstate commerce laws if cockfighting continued.
(Production: Ricardo Ortiz, Liza Feria, Temis Tormo)
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