Wednesday, June 18, 2008

One More Thing Off My List

Saturday night Ibis and I ran into friends downtown and after joining them for pizza, we tagged along for a Mexican tradition: chicken fights. (Technically they're called c**k fights but I'm trying to keep this family friendly.)

These friends go fairly often, at least once or twice per week, but we've never gone with them. I'm a very squeamish person and don't do well with blood, especially when it involves a living, jumping, squawking creature. Morally I don't agree with these fights and I feel bad for the chickens, but it's ingrained in this culture and not going away because I don't like it.

We drove to a neighboring town and entered through a nondescript metal door. Bright lights greeted us and after paying a 50 peso cover fee, we approached the ring. A low wooden wall enclosed the large dirt ring that took up most of the outdoor area. We were offered blue folding chairs in the second row, which I later found out is preferable because the chickens sometimes escape the wall and jump into the audience. Second row it is.

Several women worked the crowd, selling beer, food, and a quick card game in between fights. When the first group entered the ring I was grateful I hadn't worn my glasses (I've gotten into the habit of going out half blind.) I could see well enough to know what was going on, but not well enough to see much detail. I'll give you the fuzzy details as seen through my blurry eyes.

The owners get the chickens riled up with other chickens, kind of like sparring partners. When the feathers around their necks fan out - much like a lion or peacock - you know they're ready. Then the referee winds something that looked like tape around one of the chickens' feet.

"What are they doing?" I asked my friend.

"Tying on the knife."

Yeah, a knife. Silly me thought they just pecked each other to death.

I won't go into detail but we saw two chickens die in four fights. The burial was anything but dignified; they were thrown to the side of the covered viewing area, next to one of the support posts and right in the middle of the spectators.

I always assumed chicken fights were illegal, but several armed policemen were there, seemingly on patrol. Whether they were betting or working, I'm not sure.


WendyCinNYC said...

Do they fry up the dead ones and serve them? Poor things.

Although I admit that I love fried chicken. But I just prefer to pretend that my drumstick grew on a tree.

Melanie Avila said...

I wondered about that. It seems a waste to NOT eat them.

I forgot to mention that I can't eat meat if it looks too much like the animal it came from. There's fresh shrimp in my fridge but I won't eat it because they still have their heads.


colbymarshall said...

UGH! I don't even know what to say except, well, UGH!

colbymarshall said...

By the way, I once ordered lobster at a restaurant b/c I thought it was lobster TAIL...they brought the whole lobster, antennae and all. I didn't eat it...I covered it with a napkin. UGH!

Melanie Avila said...

Colby, here they often serve the entire fish when you order a fillet. The first time that happened I nearly sent it back but I'd caused such a fuss trying to figure out what I wanted in the first place, I felt bad. I did make them cut off the head though.

Now I always ask before ordering.

Janna Qualman said... I'm really glad I wasn't there.

Wait. Drumsticks don't grow on trees?

spyscribbler said...

Now there is something I don't like about Mexico. *shudder* I'm like you, I can't eat meat that looks like meat. Actually, even when we get meat, I can't touch it. DH has to do that.

I was a vegetarian for a long time.

auria cortes said...

cock fighting made it in my WIP, Mija.

we used to host the fights in our house in the States.

Anonymous said...

Whats next bull fighting, more class more blood. They do use the bulls at local resturants. Quite good, but I question C**ks.

Melanie Avila said...

I really don't want to see a bullfight. It's easier to disassociate from the chickens. I'd be too horrified with the bulls.