Cockfighting in Cuba: Popular pastime & a big business

Cockfighting is a blood sport because of the harm cocks do to each other in cockpits, exacerbated by metal spurs that can be attached to birds' own spurs. After the 1959 revolution, Cuba cracked down on cockfighting as part of a ban on gambling. But, over the years that stance has softened. Official arenas have opened and hidden arenas are tolerated as long as there are no brawls.

UPDATED ON APR 22, 2017 12:43 PM IST 15 Photos
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Roosters fight at a cockfighting arena in Moron, central region of Ciego de Avila province, Cuba. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

Roosters fight at a cockfighting arena in Moron, central region of Ciego de Avila province, Cuba. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

UPDATED ON APR 22, 2017 12:43 PM IST
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A cockfighting enthusiast uses his tongue to clean the blood of his rooster during a fight at a cockfighting arena in Moron. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

A cockfighting enthusiast uses his tongue to clean the blood of his rooster during a fight at a cockfighting arena in Moron. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

UPDATED ON APR 22, 2017 12:43 PM IST
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Cockfighting is a blood sport because of the harm cocks do to each other in cockpits, exacerbated by metal spurs that can be attached to birds’ own spurs. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

Cockfighting is a blood sport because of the harm cocks do to each other in cockpits, exacerbated by metal spurs that can be attached to birds’ own spurs. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

UPDATED ON APR 22, 2017 12:43 PM IST
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A stuffed rooster is seen at a farmyard at the outskirts of Sandino. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

A stuffed rooster is seen at a farmyard at the outskirts of Sandino. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

UPDATED ON APR 22, 2017 12:43 PM IST
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Rosters fight during a cockfight at an area. After the 1959 revolution, Cuba cracked down on cockfighting as part of a ban on gambling. Over the years official arenas have opened and hidden arenas are tolerated as long as there are no brawls. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

Rosters fight during a cockfight at an area. After the 1959 revolution, Cuba cracked down on cockfighting as part of a ban on gambling. Over the years official arenas have opened and hidden arenas are tolerated as long as there are no brawls. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

UPDATED ON APR 22, 2017 12:43 PM IST
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A handmade case used to transport a rooster. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

A handmade case used to transport a rooster. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

UPDATED ON APR 22, 2017 12:43 PM IST
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Rooster are seen during a fight at a cockfighting arena. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

Rooster are seen during a fight at a cockfighting arena. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

UPDATED ON APR 22, 2017 12:43 PM IST
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Cockfighting enthusiasts watch a fight at a cockfighting arena in Moron. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

Cockfighting enthusiasts watch a fight at a cockfighting arena in Moron. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

UPDATED ON APR 22, 2017 12:43 PM IST
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Cockfighting enthusiasts react during a fight. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

Cockfighting enthusiasts react during a fight. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

UPDATED ON APR 22, 2017 12:43 PM IST
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Enthusiasts argue that cockfighting is a centuries-old tradition. Critics say it is cruel, and they blame its popularity on lack of entertainment options, poor education on animal welfare, and its money-making potential. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

Enthusiasts argue that cockfighting is a centuries-old tradition. Critics say it is cruel, and they blame its popularity on lack of entertainment options, poor education on animal welfare, and its money-making potential. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

UPDATED ON APR 22, 2017 12:43 PM IST
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A cockfighting enthusiast holds money during a fight at the arena. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

A cockfighting enthusiast holds money during a fight at the arena. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

UPDATED ON APR 22, 2017 12:43 PM IST
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Cockfighting enthusiasts fix spurs made from tortoiseshell prior to a fight at a cockfighting arena. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

Cockfighting enthusiasts fix spurs made from tortoiseshell prior to a fight at a cockfighting arena. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

UPDATED ON APR 22, 2017 12:43 PM IST
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A cockfighting enthusiast shows spurs made from tortoiseshell. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

A cockfighting enthusiast shows spurs made from tortoiseshell. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

UPDATED ON APR 22, 2017 12:43 PM IST
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People carrying cockerels in slings or under their arms travel to these venues by horse-drawn carriage, bicycle or in candy-colored vintage American cars.Arenas made of wood and palm fronds operate like fairgrounds. Ranchera music blasts from loudspeakers, roasted pork and rum are sold and tables are set up with dice and card games. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

People carrying cockerels in slings or under their arms travel to these venues by horse-drawn carriage, bicycle or in candy-colored vintage American cars.Arenas made of wood and palm fronds operate like fairgrounds. Ranchera music blasts from loudspeakers, roasted pork and rum are sold and tables are set up with dice and card games. (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

UPDATED ON APR 22, 2017 12:43 PM IST
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Cockfighting enthusiasts show a rooster through the window of a vintage car . (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

Cockfighting enthusiasts show a rooster through the window of a vintage car . (Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters)

UPDATED ON APR 22, 2017 12:43 PM IST
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