The Bloody Spectacle of a Cockfight in Peru



Image: Pablo Moura

The losing gamecock lies defeated and bloody

Spectators casually mill around the sandy arena as the combatants are weighed and armed. Bets are placed, and the chances of the individual fighters are discussed and analyzed. The audience is mostly male, but women and children can also be seen here and there, eating and chatting as preparations for the contest continue.

Once the battle begins, all eyes will be on the two fighters and their brutally ferocious battle, which will likely end in a bloody death for the loser, and sometimes even for the victor as well.


Image: Pablo Moura

Sharpened spurs attached to the rooster’s legs can be two inches in length

Yet, this is no illicit back-alley betting ring; cockfighting is a popular sport in Peru, and unlike in many other countries, it is entirely legal. The bouts are held in permanent arenas called “coliseo” and are well-attended by people from all levels of society, who come to enjoy the spectacle of gamecocks (as fighting birds are known) tearing each other apart – while hopefully making a bit of cash on the side.

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