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PHILIPPINES: ABOUT ONE HUNDRED COCKS FIGHT FOR TOP PRIZE AT 2005 COCKFIGHTING WORLD SLASHER INVITATIONAL DERBY
About one hundred cocks fight for the top prize at
the 2005 Cockfighting World Slasher Invitational derby in Manila.
The World Slasher Cup, regarded by many as the cockfighting world championships, draws competitors to the Philippines twice a year from around the globe.
Many aficionados come to Manila from the United States, where cockfights are illegal in all but three states.
Cockfighting is popular elsewhere in Southeast Asia, in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.
As many as 10,000 fans pay $10 each to attend the Slasher Cup, which takes place in the air conditioned 32,000-seat Araneta Coliseum, where boxer Muhammed Ali beat Joe Frazier in 1975.
During the Slasher Cup, cockfight competitors each pay a $1,000 entrance fee, and an estimated $600,000 changes hands nightly.
The total purse is about $75,000, with about $50,000 going to the winner.
Cockfighters in the Philippines are more likely to get mobbed by admirers than persecuted.
There are more cockpits than churches in this predominantly Roman Catholic country.
In Manila's Araneta stadium the names of great "cockers" like Chuck Berry and Johnny Jumper are spoken with a reverence usually reserved for saints.
Completing the religious atmosphere, bookies who stand with their arms wide open to take bets are called "Cristo".
Cockfighting or "sabong" is a rare point of common ground between the impoverished majority and the rich elite.
In the provinces, it seems that every family is nurturing a cock in their backyard and dreaming of glory.
Asked to sum up the appeal of the sport, which dates back to before Spanish colonisers arrived, cocking aficionados speak of the thrill.
"Different people have different views on things.
That's the only way you can look at that. They kill many many chickens to eat and a lot worse death than what these are getting. These roosters are well-taken cared of and they're bred to do this anyway," says Joe Sanford who came all the way to Manila from California to join the derby.
A typical fight goes something like this.
Amid a rising buzz from the crowd as last-second bets of up to $50,000 each are placed in a flurry of hand signals, the cocks are psyched up for battle and set loose.
Blood is quickly drawn and one sinks to the ground.
But if he still shows some fight, the other is allowed to keep attacking, pecking at its eyes and slashing with the razor-sharp blade.
Fans say cocks hate each other anyway and that their sport just gives nature a helping hand.
A school teacher Jaime Matignas treats wounded rooster part time during cockfighting events like this to earn extra money.
"This is just a way to earn a living. To survive.
There are a lot of handlers who earn from these fights and instead of stealing, I would rather do this, because this is a decent way to earn a living," said Matignas.
The Philippines government is backing cockfighting all the way.
The state-run gaming authority has plans to launch "Telesabong", an online system that will allow fans to bet from home and could rake in a fortune from millions of overseas workers pining for their national sport.
|Source||REUTERS -EDIT L291, LIFE 1, JANUARY 25, 2005|
|Restrictions||Restrictions on certain uses may apply, and may vary from those listed.|
|Time code||09.11.21 - 09.13.40|
|Date original||JANUARY 22, 2005|
|Sound||NATURAL WITH ENGLISH AND FILIPINO SPEECH|
|(L!1) MANILA, PHILIPPINES (JANUARY 22, 2005) (REUTERS)|
|1.||WIDESHOT OF COCKFIGHTING ARENA|
|2.||VARIOUS OF BOOKIES CALLING FOR BETS|
|3.||BILLBOARD THAT READS "2005 WORLD SLASHER CUP 8-COCK DERBY"|
|4.||TWO TRAINERS RELEASING THEIR COCKS FOR A FIGHT|
|5.||CUTAWAY TO AUDIENCE|
|7.||AMERICAN COCKFIGHT FAN|
|8.||WINNING COCK PECKS ON LOSING COCK|
|9.||BETTORS GIVING MONEY|
|10.||BETTOR COUNTING HIS MONEY|
|11.||(SOUNDBITE) (English) AMERICAN COCKFIGHTING AFICIONADO JOE SANFORD SAYING: "Different people have different views on things. That's the only way you can look at that. They kill many many chickens to eat and a lot worse death than what these are getting. These roosters are well-taken cared of and they're bred to do this anyway."|
|12.||JOE SANFORD RELEASING HIS ROOSTER TO|
|13.||VARIOUS OF COCK HANDLER CLEANING WOUND OF ROOSTER|
|14.||(SOUNDBITE) (Filipino) COCK HANDLER JAIME MATIGNAS SAYING: "This is just a way to earn a living. To survive. There are a lot of handlers who earn from these fights and instead of stealing, I would rather do this, because this is a decent way to earn a living."|
|15.||WIDESHOT OF COCK HANDLERS TREATING WOUNDED ROOSTERS|
|16.||COCKFIGHTING FANS WAVING THEIR HANDS|
|17.||VARIOUS COCKS FIGHTING IN ARENA||2.19|
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
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