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Cockfighting pit in Otavalo, Ecuador

The iron door leading to Otavalo's cock-fighting pit is not immediately visible from 31 de Octubre street. As if a little shy, the door hides behind the fruit and vegetable stalls that stretch along the road. Every Saturday evening, men carrying roosters under their arms mysteriously vanish behind piles of bananas and potatoes.

The cockfights in Ecuador are no more transparent...

At the beginning of 2011, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa announced a referendum to ban animal slaughter in public spectacles including cockfights and bullfights. Critics of cockfighting say a ban would end the cruel treatment of animals and the glorification of violence. The cock breeders say only about 10 percent of the roosters die in the 12-minute long fights and that animals get far better treatment than chickens kept in horrible conditions before being slaughtered for human consumption. However animal rights activists claim that fights usually end in cock's death or physical trauma.

In a May, 2011 referendum Ecuadorians voted to ban bullfights and cockfights that result in animal deaths. The fights are allowed so long as animals are not killed. Cockfight aficionados compare the new rules to watching a game of football without a ball and say that cockfights will go underground as they do in the United States.


Przemysław Kozłowski