Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Cockfighting Definition:

Roosters fitted with metal spurs placed in a small ring to fight until one of them is no longer able to stand.

Related Terms: Dog Fighting

Also spelled cock-fighting or cockfight.

A species of animal fighting in which one rooster is thrust upon another to fight while observers usually bet on a winner.

In reference to the State of Arizona, USA, these words appeared in the Animal Law Review:

"Cockfighting is a sport where cocks are often drugged to be more aggressive and then fitted with razor-sharp blades to fight to the death in a pit.

"The new law makes it a felony for any person to engage in cockfighting. The statute defines a cock as a male chicken, including game fowl.

"The act of cockfighting is defined by the new law as knowingly owning, possessing, keeping or training cocks with the purpose of holding a cockfighting exhibition; for amusement or gain allowing cocks to fight and/or cause injury to each other, or simply allow (either) of these acts to occur on their premises.

cockfighting"A person is guilty of a misdemeanor cockfighting offense if they knowingly attend a cockfighting event or are present at the location where the event planning is under way....

"At the time of the ban, there were approximately forty-five cockfighting pits throughout the state."

Another description:

"Cockfighting ... in which two roosters fitted with metal spurs are placed in a small ring and allowed to fight until one of them is no longer able to stand, is a practice with varying support around the world.

"Cockfighting was still legal in the American states of Louisiana and New Mexico until 2008."1

Canada's approach to the use of animals for the purposes of betting and staged fights is comprehensive and found, circa 2013, at §445.1 and §447 of the Criminal Code:

"Every one commits an offence who wilfully causes or, being the owner, wilfully permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or a bird (or) in any manner encourages, aids or assists at the fighting or baiting of animals or birds....

"Every one commits an offence who builds, makes, maintains or keeps a cockpit on premises that he or she owns or occupies, or allows a cockpit to be built, made, maintained or kept on such premises."


  • 1998 State Ballot Initiatives, 5 Animal Law Review 91 (1999)
  • Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46
  • Wagman, Bruce and Liebman, Matthew, A Worldwide View of Animal Law (Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press, 2011), page 107

Editor's note: image is of the Club Gallistico de Puerto Rico.

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