Trip Start Mar 01, 2006
551Trip End Dec 01, 2007
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We got food and beer, and by that time the people started arriving. Some were carrying their roosters, storing them in cages installed in the courtyard.
The public arrived too, and the ring filled up. The first fight was in preparation. They cut the talons (the thumb claw) with metal saws, then put a piece of rubber and over it a metal spike, everything held together with tape.
The roosters were very agressive, and started fighting immediately. Basically they try to grab their opponent's head or neck with their beak, and then jump up flapping their wings and trying to stab the head and neck of the other rooster with their spikes.
It did not look too bloody, as they were not cutting each other off. But they were making 1cm deep holes in each other's neck, which is certainly not agreeable.
That first fight ended when a rooster collapsed, the other one continuing to stab him. He had got a blow in the jugular, he was not loosing too much blood but he certainly had a lack of it in his brains.
Money changed hands. Bills of 100 american dollars. yes sir.
The way they bet is dual:
The owners have to set up a fight, and they will bet on it. A referee will keep the money for them. 500 usd is normal.
The public bets by making offers outloud, as the fight goes: "100 on the red rooster! Who's taking it?" Someone takes the bet, and depending on their trust level they talk more or ask for guarantees.
The second fight lasted for a long time, one of the roosters was dominating but the other one would fight to death without fleeing. In the end he did not collapse, so it was a draw. It was terrible, they had been stabbing each other's neck during almost an good hour.
Watching the public more than the fight, you can find the same human behavior as anywhere: both the interest in the outcome (like when people watch football), and the interest in their bet (like anybody who is gambling).
On top of that there is the cruelty, and at times, some look like they feel sorry for the animals, but most of the public is generally focused on the outcome and gambling.
I kept confirming that cockfights were completely forbidden in France, but later checking on internet I found it was false: the law that prohibits bullfights and cockfights (under the reason of animal cruelty) have exceptions (of course, as it is a French law): in places where there is an uninterrupted tradition it can still be allowed. Hence the bullfights in the very south and the cockfights in the very north of France. Plus in some islands (La Reunion,I think).
A the end, the rooster owners gathered, comparing their animals and trying to set up fights for the next day. It was quite tense, each one carfully trying to assess the other's roosters. Due to the fiestas, a number of owners had arrived from other places, there were about 8 guys talking.
Good experience, as it shows parts of the human behavior. That's all.