The Orlando Sentinel carries the story of former boxing champ Roy Jones Jr's cockfighting enterprise. Jones raises the birds in Florida, then fights them in Cajun country. For some insane reason, Louisiana allows cockfighting matches. Noble, huh?
Four years ago on a farm outside Pensacola, former five-time world boxing champion Roy Jones Jr. stood among the 700 chickens he raised for fighting purposes, trying to explain their manic code of survival.
"When they get loose, if I don't get out there within an hour, somebody is going to be dead," Jones said over the sound of the roosters crowing incessantly.
"That's just how they are. They know that at any given second, anything can happen. At any moment, a storm or wind can blow a pen over, and here comes this guy to fight to the death. And they have to be ready for it. They stay ready to kill or be killed."
Jones Jr. now faces a problem: the Feds don't seem to enjoy cockfighting as much as Jones and his crowd do:
Those ominous storm clouds Jones spoke of now hover over the "sport" of cockfighting. A federal law makes the interstate transport of the birds and any paraphernalia associated with cockfighting a felony punishable by up to three years in jail and $250,000 in fines.
Drug up the roosters with steroids and stimulants to ratchet up aggressiveness. How inhumane. Sounds like the UFC or the Tour de France:
...The Humane Society of the United States provides this sobering picture: Three-inch-long steel blades are attached to legs to inflict deep puncture wounds. The animals are often drugged with stimulants and steroids to make them more aggressive. If a bird suffers a deep puncture wound to the lungs, handlers often suck the blood out of a bird's beak so that the bird can continue fighting. Eyes are gouged out; legs are broken.
I think back to four years ago in Pensacola, where I looked at chickens tethered alongside white plastic tepees. It was necessary to prevent the birds from attacking each other. They weren't natural-born killers; just animals trained to satisfy the bloodlust of humans.
At least Jones had a choice when he stepped into the ring.
As Deadspin says: Roy Jones Jr. likes his cocks to fight.
Where is Michael Vick when you need him?