Cockfighting vacation package

Dog fighting bad!When it comes to bad publicity, Puerto Rico often suffers many self induced black eyes. Sometimes it just seems that we just can't control ourselves in our attempt to soil our reputation. However, recently Whoopi Goldberg attempted to sully our reputation in comparing the actions of suspended NFL quarterback Michael Vick with cockfighting in Puerto Rico. How dare she! Doesn't she know that Puerto Ricans are the only ones who can embarrass us in front of the world?

Thanks to Literanista for bringing this to our attention, because like most stupid celebrity shit, I hadn't really bothered to look at the details of this latest smear of Puerto Rico.

Take a look for yourself:

So, let's look deeper into this latest incident of Puerto Rico bashing to see what we can find. First, of course it is absolutely beside the point that it is incredibly cruel to the gamecocks who are breed and killed in the cockpit. And it is entirely pointless to mention that the Humane Society of the Unites States lists these social ills resulting from cockfighting:

Cockfighting not only spawns unconscionable animal abuse, but it is also a magnet for other social ills including narcotics sales, illegal firearms possession, illegal gambling, public corruption and human violence. In fact, a quick glance at the police blotters on the pages of local newspapers in Puerto Rico shows several violent incidents—including at least one homicide—connected to cockfighting events in 2007 alone.

Sadly, many who attend cockfights make the events a family affair—bringing young children along and exposing them to inordinate animal cruelty. This exposure can dull the sensitivity of children to animal suffering and normalize violence. And studies have shown that children who grow up in a climate of violence are more likely to perpetuate such behavior against others—both animals and people.

Because, second, in the end what Michael Vick is accused of and admits he is guilty of, is illegal in the state where he resides. It even carries a felony charge. In fact it is even illegal to attend a dog fight, let alone breed dogs, organize fights, and sponsor gambling on dog fights. While in Puerto Rico, cockfighting remains a legal activity since 1933 and it is likely to remain so if Puerto Rico politician's have their say. The Puerto Rico legislature recently approved a bill establishing it as a "cultural right" of islanders.
"There are many people who enjoy this sport and we are not going to allow any group of people to come here and prevent that right," said Carlos Molina, a pro-statehood lawmaker who introduced the bill. "The sport does no damage to anyone."
Cock fighting good?So there you have it. Just as 18th and 19th century landlords believed that slavery was their cultural right, the "sport" of cockfighting does no damage to anyone...although it does quite a bit of damage to the chickens...but no humans are harmed in the practice of the sport. Well unless someone gets their arm ripped open by a postizas — an ice pick-shaped artificial spur made of hard plastic or metal that are placed on the feet of the gamecocks to puncture and mutilate the opposing bird.

A lost opportunity?

This has got me thinking... Since their is such a lust for these bloodsports (dog and cock fighting), maybe Puerto Rico is losing out on a big niche market. Maybe we could even create a special custom map identifying the location of all 108 Club Gallistica around the island. I can imagine now someone creating a vacation package for bloodsport enthusiasts that includes:

  • Round trip airfare to San Juan
  • Six nights in the best hotels in Isla Verde
  • Transportation to and from 5 different Club Gallisticos around San Juan
  • A $50 bet match coupon good towards your first legal betting experience
  • An 8x10 color photograph with your favorite champion (rooster).
Imagine the a recent article from ABC News:

Andrew Robertson, a 19-year-old Canadian vacationer who attended the Saturday cockfights at Club Gallistico with college friends, said he found the pastime intriguing.

"It's kind of like watching two boxers in the ring," said the Montreal resident. "Of course, the boxers don't die at the end of the fight, but you can still see some similarities."