(PRWEB) April 12, 2005
On behalf of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), former World Wrestling champion Hulk Hogan sent boxer Roy Jones Jr. a letter urging him to "lay off defenseless animals" and "give up cockfighting." Jones recently bought a major cockfighting arena in Louisiana, where staged fights are conducted in front of several hundred attendees who engage in illegal gambling.
Hogan, who shares his home with a number of animals including a rooster named Lily, says he understands "the thrill of being in a ring." But he draws the line at cockfighting, an activity in which two roosters are pumped full of steroids, thrown into a pit with razors strapped to their legs, and forced to fight with deadly injuries, often until death.
Hogan says in his letter to Jones, "Cockfighting is bloody and violent and Â unlike in our sports Â the fighters often die. That's why I'm no fan of cockfights."
But Jones Jr - who attracted the attention of The Humane Society after purchasing a cock-fighting pit - has ignored animal-loving Hogan's plea.
Jones told website pagesix.com, "Hulk Hogan should walk in a man's shoes before he judges him. As a kid, I learned how to condition my chickens and will never change what I do or believe. Examine your own house before you examine mine."
In response to Jones' comment, a national animal advocacy group has sent a letter to Jones asking that he reconsider. Pet-Abuse.Com, an organization that tracks and reports on criminal animal cruelty cases and issues, sent the following letter:
Dear Mr. Jones,
I am contacting you in response to your comments to Hulk Hogan, after he requested that you discontinue fighting roosters for "sport". We are deeply disappointed to hear of your commitment to continuing this brutal endeavor, and implore you to reconsider.
You replied that Mr. Hogan should "walk in a man's shoes before judging", however we fail to see how walking in your shoes would change the fact that cockfighting is a cruel and bloody sport where the participants are forced into a small ring to be ripped to shreds and disemboweled alive.
As an accomplished sports figure, you are a role model to children all across the country. Your continued endorsement and participation in cockfighting sets the example to the youth in this country that animal cruelty is something that should be encouraged and applauded.
Cockfighting is illegal in 48 states for a reason. The mere fact that an act has been perpetrated for several generations does not make it a tradition. The fact that you grew up around this brutality is not something to be proud of, and is certainly not an excuse to continue it.
You ask Mr. Hogan to walk in your shoes before judging, and we request that you take your own advice. You have surely never been placed in a ring to face an opponent who has razor blades attached to his fists, nor have you been forced to fight to the death. You have never looked down at your own body during a fight, only to find your entrails spilled out onto the floor.
We stand firmly behind Mr. Hogan and commend him for drawing the line between entertainment and senseless cruelty.
There is no glory or sport in cockfighting. It is a cowardly and barbaric activity, and is far beneath someone of your prowess.
Cockfighting is a bloodsport in which two roosters are placed in a pit to fight, often to the death. Their natural spurs are sawed off and replaced by razor sharp steel blades from one to three inches long, or by curved implements measuring up to six inches in length. The birds are also given various legal and illegal drugs such as strychnine, caffeine, amphetamines, and epinephrine to make them more aggressive and harder to kill. This activity is held before an arena of cheering spectators who often wager large sums of money on the outcome of the contest.
During a typical cockfighting tournament, one-third to one-half of the birds are killed. Winners as well as losers suffer severe injuries including broken wings, punctured lungs, and gouged eyes. Roosters, like all other animals, have a nervous system and experience pain. The American Veterinary Medical Association considers cockfighting to be cruel and has recommended that the practice be banned and violations be considered a felony offense.
While it is true that this type of bird has a fighting instinct, its natural purpose is to establish Âpecking orderÂ and seldom results in serious injury. In cockfights, however, the birds are bred for aggressiveness, fitted with lethal instruments, and given drugs to maximize their aggression and stamina. Unlike birds in the wild, these animals can not escape. They are placed in an enclosed pit and forced to fight until one quits, is severely injured, or dies.
Illegal activity associated with the practice makes cockfighting more than just an issue of animal cruelty. Law enforcement officials have established a connection between cockfighting and the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs. Because high stakes wagering is the norm at these events, firearms and other weapons are common.