In 2008, Louisiana became the last state to ban cockfighting, yet again securing the states spot as the laughing stock of the country. Cockfighting is a spectator sport in which two specially bred roosters fight it out with razor blades or spikes fastened to their feet until one bird either dies or refuses to fight. The action takes place in an arena, while a cheering crowd places bets on the outcome.
With an estimated worth of 150 million dollars, this little blood sport didn’t go down without a fight. Proponents of the sport argued that fighting comes naturally for these birds, that the birds actually enjoy it. There were the usual appeals to tradition, about cockfighting’s positive impact on the economy, on our Cajun way of life. Phrases like ‘it’s our heritage‘ popped up in just about every pro cockfighting argument. How many times has that phrase been uttered to protect and defend a dying tradition?
I’d like to dispel the myth of cockfighting’s popularity in Cajun culture. Although I grew up at the epicenter of cockfighting country, I’ve never seen a single event, or known a single person who frequented cockfights. Hell, I didn’t even know where these events took place. Recent polls show I’m not alone. Some 82% of Louisiana residents supported the cockfighting ban, so it’s a bit of a stretch to say Cajuns, on the whole, like it. For the sake of this post, let’s call cockfighting Stuff That a Small Minority of Cajuns Like.
As a full fledged carnivore, I have absolutely no problem with eating the meat of slaughtered animals, nor do I have any issues with game hunting. You won’t catch me at a PETA meeting anytime soon, but when you put two animals in the ring and watch them fight to their death for your personal enjoyment and profit, well, that’s where I draw the line. That’s not part of my Cajun culture. Some may lose their livelyhood over the ban, but so be it. Some traditions need to die. Now, let me get down from my soapbox…I got some chicken to cook.