- Title: RUSSIA: MOSCOW RESTAURANTS ORGANISES COCK FIGHTS TO ENTERTAIN CUSTOMERS
- Date: 22nd July 2002
- Summary: SMV DINERS WATCHING SMV WAITRESS TAKING FOOD ORDER FROM DINERS VARIOUS OF CHEF PREPARING FOOD/ KEBABS (2 SHOTS)
- Embargoed: 6th August 2002 13:00
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Environment
- Reuters ID: LVA11M64SCYSKR6010WK0TWT5UT
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Tasty food, pleasant company and good conversation are the usual ingredients of dining out in most cities.
But things can be a little different in Moscow, where a restaurant has found an unusual way of attracting customers: hosting cockfighting nights as part of the entertainment for its diners.
Moscow's "White sun of the desert" restaurant is famed for its good Uzbek cuisine in traditional surroundings. And in the summer months, diners can enjoy a meal and relax in the leafy courtyard of the restaurant.
But avoid the place on a Monday evening if you're a little faint hearted or you plan to treat a friend who just happens to be an animal rights campaigner: the restaurant's management have hit on the idea of staging cockfights once a week on a Monday, as the evening's main entertainment.
On Monday (July 22), diners at the restaurant looked on as two cocks pecked and scratched at each other in an especially constructed ring. A member of the restaurant staff, dressed in traditional Uzbek costume, gave a running fight commentary.
The restaurant says the the birds are not harmed by the fight.
"We don't kill or seriously injure the cocks. After each fight the birds receive medical treatment and then after some time they are ready for another fight. It's like professional boxing only here cocks are used," said restaurant manager Alexander Babkin.
Despite those claims the birds appeared exhausted by the fight and had lost large clumps of feathers from parts of their bodies.
On this particular night, customers were camera shy and didn't want to comment on the cockfighting entertainment. Most of them didn't look as if they were particularly interested in or enjoying the spectacle put on for them.
"There is no betting going on here, no gambling. But those customers who pick the winning bird get a prize," said Babkin.
The restaurant management don't expect a boom in business on cockfighting nights, but say it's an Uzbek establishment and cockfighting is an Uzbek tradition.
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