Culture

The US Congress Has Passed A New Law That Will Finally Put An End To Cockfighting In Puerto Rico

Before Spain colonized what we now call Puerto Rico, cockfighting was virtually nonexistent on the island. Spanish culture has long celebrated the entertainment value of watching animals fight to their death, from animals as small as chickens to as large as bulls. When Spain colonized Puerto Rico in the 17th century, imperialists brought their love of cockfighting to the island. Whatever your opinions on cockfighting, today, it’s become part of Puerto Rican culture. In fact, Puerto Ricans refused to take orders from their subsequent ruler, the United States, during a 34-year prohibition of cockfighting. 

Still, Congress is once again flexing its arm to eradicate the blood sport on the island. Animal activists had lobbied to enact a complete ban, including the last remaining U.S. territories, which includes Puerto Rico. 

Puerto Ricans are calling the ban on cockfighting an attack on their culture.

Credit: @duckm4st3r / Twitter

Vice called cockfighting “Puerto Rico’s most resilient industry” in 2016, but the $100 million industry has been in decline. Since 1985, the number of licensed arenas has nearly halved from 132 arenas to just 64 regulated arenas remaining. Still, around one million Puerto Ricans attend fights every year, which contributes to the livelihood of the veterinarians and cockfighters who profit off the blood sport.

Then governor Ricardo Rosselló didn’t travel to Washington in time to fight the bill.

Credit: hernansphotos / Instagram

Many Puerto Ricans feel like their status as a “U.S. territory” remains a euphemism for the reality: that Puerto Rico remains the world’s oldest colony. While a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico has no voice in Congress, the legislative body that passed the bill into effect, as part of a sweeping measure to limit animal cruelty across the United States. 

Even Puerto Ricans who reject the sport as a celebration of animal cruelty, still find it paternalistic for culture to be policed. It could have been a celebration of decolonizing the island from Spain’s rule, but Puerto Rican’s voices were silenced in the decision-making process. That said, a Humane Society poll of 1,000 registered Puerto Rican voters found that the majority of respondents supported the ban.

In a natural environment, roosters only fight when forced.

Credit: @BLaw / Twitter

According to Paul Siegel, a fowl genetics expert, cockfights are a rarity in the natural world because the weaker bird usually flees. “If there’s a way to escape, they’ll just get the heck out,” Siegel told PETA. Cockfighters deliberately create an arena that they cannot escape from. 

Animal activists think profit is no excuse for the cruelty inflicted on the birds.

Credit: @MagnoliaNews / Twitter

Then, they hot glue razor spurs to the roosters’ sensitive feet, and allow the roosters to fight to the death. Often, cockfighters will amputate the bony spurs roosters are born with, in order to glue the more fatal weapons on. Before entering the ring, cockfighters will pluck the feathers off their thighs so that they won’t be weakened by the pain of it happening in the ring. Before those crucial moments, they spend the majority of their lives socially isolated behind chicken wire.

“It’s like taking care of a baby,” cockfighter Wilfredo Burgo told Vice. “You take care of it from the egg. But you get used to it when they die.”

While cockfighters are feeling attacked by the U.S. government, they plan to fight back.

Credit: @Newarkguy1973 / Twitter

In the weeks after Congress passed the cockfighting ban, cockfighters were admittedly depressed, and stayed home from the fights. Six weeks later, two thousand cockfighters rallied outside the capitol building, thrusting their prized roosters into the air. San Juan’s mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz, vowed that her city police forces will enforce the law, and that, “if federal agents want to, they’ll have to do it alone!”

“I’m a sixth-generation cockfighter,” José Torres, a trainer of fighting roosters, told NPR. “This is how I support my family. But I also inherited this. I was going to pass this onto my children.” Torres already informed his family that if the police show up at his door to confiscate the 250 roosters living in cages in his backyard, they will have to kill him first. He claims that there are thousands of cockfighters who plan for bloodshed the moment the ban is enforced.

Many are predicting that cockfighting will become an underground sport once again.

Credit: @j_lion_the_best / Twitter

Cockfighters are estimating that there are probably around 1 million roosters raised to fight on the island. Federal agents will likely euthanize the majority of the birds, sparing them an otherwise violent death.

READ: Puerto Rico Was Purposefully Denied Disaster Relief They Were Guaranteed By The Federal Government

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Protesters In Mexico Take To Streets To Demand Justice For Dog Brutally Killed By Man With An Axe

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Protesters In Mexico Take To Streets To Demand Justice For Dog Brutally Killed By Man With An Axe

Residents of one Mexican city have taken to the streets to demand justice for a local stray dog who was brutally killed in an axe attack last month. Video of the incident was uploaded to social media and quickly went viral, leading to large protests in the Sinaloan city of Los Mochis.

Hundreds marched in Los Mochis to seek justice for a dog killed by man with an axe.

Hundreds took to the streets in Los Mochis, Sinaloa to demand justice for Rodolfo, a mixed breed dog killed with an axe on March 21. They showed banners that read “Justice for Rodolfo & for all who have no voice,” “We won’t stop until we have justice,” and “Justice for Rodolfo,” among others.

Despite the COVID-19 regulations, the participants in this new march, children, women and men, calmly marched through the center of the city of Los Mochis to make it clear that they are against animal cruelty and demanded justice for Rodolfo, who was a local stray dog. The demonstration gained traction after a video of the attack on Rodolfo, also known by Heart, Pirate and Shorty, was uploaded onto social media.

The predominantly young crowd marched to the state prosecutor’s office where environmental activist Arturo Islas Allende delivered a criminal complaint. Many brought their pets to the march and carried placards demanding the killer be sentenced to prison. One placard read: “Justice for Rodolfo and for all those that don’t have a voice.”

The suspected attacker, José “M,” a student at a Sinaloa university, has already delivered a preparatory statement to officials. Islas Allende questioned the morality of the killer. “We don’t want a psychopath like him as our neighbor,” he said.

The suspect’s girlfriend claimed that he killed the dog to protect her.

The girlfriend of the alleged attacker took to social media in his defense, saying the dog had attacked her days earlier and injured her face and hands.

On her Facebook account she claimed that medical treatments for her injuries had cost 8,000 pesos (US $400) and uploaded photographs of the injuries caused by the dog’s bites.

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Rising Star Chesca Talks Career Beginnings, Being a Latina in the Music Industry, Performing at Jimmy Kimmel and More

Latidomusic

Rising Star Chesca Talks Career Beginnings, Being a Latina in the Music Industry, Performing at Jimmy Kimmel and More

Welcome to Spotlight, where we do a deep dive into the careers of artists, producers, songwriters, and more people making an impact in the Latin music industry.

Puerto Rican singer Chesca is the definition of a hustler. She started as the vocalist for her dad’s cover band in Puerto Rico and became her own manager booking shows in places like China and Greece. The world is hers for the taking and she is going for it.

Chesca is ready for global stardom and she’s taking it one step at a time.

During our interview here at Latido Music by mitú, Chesca opened up about how a tragic accident at 11 years old changed her life, how music literally saved her, and the sacrifices she’s had to make to be where she is today.

Watch the full interview below:

Chesca is aware that being a Latina in the music industry isn’t easy but feels compelled to share her story and everything she’s had to do to get here. She would pretend to be her own manager and publicist at the beginning of her career. Chesca would book herself shows around the world where she would get to perform her own original songs. One of her songs actually got picked up by the radio in China, which is a market not many Latin stars even imagine entering, especially not when they’re just starting their careers.

“With everything that I’ve been through, I have a voice, and I have a story to tell that can motivate so many young women, that’s what keeps me going,” Chesca says.

While she had some success performing in English, she felt that she needed to go back to her roots and start doing music in Spanish. The stars aligned, and Chesca was signed by Saban Music Group, and currently has some high-profile collaborations under her belt. She’s behind the viral hit like “Te Quiero Baby (I Love You Baby),” which blew up on TikTok and led her to perform at the Latin Billboards last year with Pitbull.

Chesca most recently performed at the 2021 Latin AMAs red carpet and received a nomination for Best New Latin Artist at the 2021 iHeart Radio Music Awards.

After our conversation with Chesca, it’s clear that she’s making the right moves at the right time to make a name for herself in the industry, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for her career.

READ: Ivy Queen, Goyo, and Chesca to Headline Urban Divas United Concert in April

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