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Cockfighting, where roosters battle to the death, at five-year high in UK

MARK REYNOLDS: Cockfighting is at a five-year high in the UK and growing, particularly in the British-born Pakistani communities, according to a new report from the RSPCA. New figures reveal that the number of incidents of the cruel blood sport has shot up by a quarter. But campaigners warn that the figures – which show a clear resurgence of the banned ‘sport’ -are increasingly highlighting its popularity in the British-born Pakistani community. The new RSPCA statistics show a leap from 45 recorded incidents or calls in 2012 to 60 last year, with raids uncovering fights taking place in people’s kitchens and garages – as well as in specialist pits… Chief inspector Mike Butcher, who works in the RSPCA’s special operations unit, said the charity was taking the increase seriously… Mr Butcher continued: “It’s a bloody sport, with horrendous injuries. A cockerel won’t win many fights before it succumbs, it’s short and blood thirsty.” The fights see owners pit cockerels against one another in battles to the death, with some contests lasting just seconds… Despite the brutality of the fights, offenders can only expect a short sentence under the Animal Welfare Act and often they return to the sub-culture when they get out of prison…

Chris Luffingham, director of policy, communications and campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports has called for a national register of animal abusers and for urgent reform on the sale of fighting birds. He said: “Illegal for almost 200 years, cockfighting is an extremely cruel practice involving forcing two roosters to fight to the death, whilst spectators place bets. “Sharp metal spurs are often attached to the birds legs before fights to increase the chance of injury and up the stakes. The surviving birds are often left to suffer from the horrific injuries sustained, rather than receiving any professional veterinary treatment… And he stressed: “If we are to stand any chance of cracking down on this and other cruel sports involving animals, we need change”.’ SOURCE…

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