Island Cockfighting Industry Opposes Proposed Federal Ban

The Cock Fight

John McPhaul (San Juan Daily Star, January 22, 2018, p. 3) reported on reactions to U.S. House Resolution 4202, which will prohibit cockfighting in all United States jurisdictions, including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. Who knew that the cockfighting industry in Puerto Rico contributes over $87 million annually in direct revenues to the treasury? [I attended one of these events, out of curiosity, when I was in my late teens—I threw up and had to leave after 5-10 minutes. I consider the practice cruel and revolting. Despite the assumed “cultural value,” personally, I associate the sport with the most patriarchal, aggressive, and retrograde (male) members of my own extended family.] McPhaul reports:

Dozens of fans of cockfighting, including owners of cockfighting arenas, known as “galleras,” met last week with Rep. Urayoán Hernández Alvarado and other government officials to create a common front against the provisions contained in U.S. House Resolution 4202, whose purpose is to prohibit cockfighting in all United States jurisdictions.

“This past Wednesday we met with dozens of fans of the sport … to draw up strategies aimed at defeating in Congress a measure by a Republican representative from the state of Illinois, Peter Roskam, which seeks to prohibit this type of entertainment in all territories and jurisdictions of the United States,” Hernández Alvarado said. “At the meeting we reached multiple agreements, particularly, we are going to unite, all of us, in a multisectorial movement to lobby against the measure. This is the first time this type of unity has been achieved out and we are sure that it will have a positive result.”

The meeting was held at Department of Recreation and Sports headquarters in San Juan.

Among the agreements is the creation of an educational media campaign through social networks.

Assistance will also be sought from Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón, and visits will be made to the U.S. capital to deliver the message of the importance of excluding the island from the provision. “I thank the resident commissioner, who after our call agreed to come to Puerto Rico to meet with us in order to achieve a solution to this historic dilemma,” the legislator said. “I also thank my friend, Senator Alex ‘Chino’ Roque, for his eff ort in achieving this meeting. Everyone here is convinced that we can avoid this catastrophe, if we unite and do the work. I will not allow this industry to disappear; that will not happen.”

The cockfighting industry in Puerto Rico contributes over $87 million annually in direct revenues to the treasury, including admission paid at ticket offices, payments on legal bets and the consumption of food and beverages. Cockfights are also regarded as an important pillar of the local economy because thousands of people depend on the industry for their jobs. In addition, hundreds of small businesses are nourished by the economic movement generated by the sport, proponents say.

“From the devastation left by Hurricane Maria, the rooster industry, or the ‘Sport of Knights,’ as it is known, has had a robust breakthrough,” Hernández Alvarado said. “Puerto Rico cannot afford to lose this source of income, jobs and culture, much less in this crucial time for the recovery of our people. That is why we will be asking the members of Congress to approve an amendment to this resolution that totally excludes Puerto Rico. We’ll be very active in Congress to make sure that the sport of cockfighting on the island is not touched. “The Roskam measure is currently being discussed in the House Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Agriculture.

[Painting above: Winslow Homer’s “The Cockfight,” 1885. http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/exhibitions/homer/artwork/99603 ]

[See full article at http://www.sanjuanweeklypr.com/pdf/ediciones-pasadas/Jan-22-18.pdf; Accessed via The NiLP Report on Latino Policy & Politics: http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1101040629095&ca=c7ab1e5f-93a7-4c54-b318-8322f4ffb063]

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