The life of a bird bred for cockfighting is typically short and nasty, but a recent cockfighting cockup in Cambodia is generating protests from animal rights groups.
Cambodia’s animal lovers are up in arms after a court ordered police to slaughter 92 birds that were seized during raids on two illegal cockfighting rings earlier this month. Agence France Press reported that dozens of individuals were arrested during the raids, but most have since been released with only light suspended sentences.
Meanwhile, instead of transferring the traumatized chickens to some kind of refuge where they could live out the rest of their days in relative peace and harmony, a court ordered police to slaughter all 92 birds “to prevent the offence from happening again and to speed up the investigation proceedings.” And, presumably, to avoid having roving gangs of bad-ass roosters terrorizing the local milquetoast chicken population.
The court’s decision has rankled animal rights activists, who feel the innocent birds were subjected to harsher punishment than the rings’ human organizers. An unrepentant police deputy shrugged off the reaction, noting that the birds had received good homes in the stomachs of his officers.
Apart from the public outcry, the busts were also notable due to one of the arrested humans being Thai Phany, the nephew-in-law of Cambodia’s Premier Hun Sen. Phany, a Cambodian-Australian dual citizen, has been charged with running an illegal gambling operation, although it remains to be seen whether his familial connections will allow him to escape any real punishment.
Cambodian citizens have few legal gambling options, as they’re not allowed in the country’s foreigner-only casinos, and are similarly barred from placing online wagers with the countless online gambling sites run out of these casinos.
It’s hard not to feel sympathy for the fighting birds, who presumably didn’t voice any ambitions to make bloodsport their chosen profession. One also can’t imagine, say, a bust that freed women from a human trafficking operation resulting in the women being punished in this manner.
Then again, such is the life of a gladiator. Remember that Russell Crowe and pretty much all his gladiatorial buddies met untimely ends at the end of that Ridley Scott movie. Hopefully it’s equally true that what chickens do in life echoes through eternity, and that these fighting fowl are now ruling the roost in rooster Valhalla.