It is hypocritical to call the harmless sport ‘barbaric’
Editor’s note: Nhiep Phuong is a freelance photographer in Ho Chi Minh City. He has a keen interest in street photography.
A double standard at work: brutal human fights are encouraged while cruelty-free animal fights are condemned.
Isn’t it hypocritical, however, that Vietnam’s cockfights are under such scrutiny by many of the same people who enjoy boxing or WWE Smackdown?
Humans over animals?
Biologically, anything that moves without an external energy source is an animal.
So how did humans gain the upper hand in all this babble? Their own assumed position.
Those who object to cockfights must be blind to reality.
To many, these ‘poor animals’ should be kept out of the fighting ring and instead patiently await their moment of transformation from carefree creatures to fine dining.
A double standard has taken hold in people’s mindsets: we turn a blind eye to the mass slaughter of animals raised on industrial farms only to recoil at the sight of far-from-fatality fights.
The idea that an animal becomes civilized simply by wearing shorts and gloves while fighting another creature under the assumed title of “boxer” is a far cry from enlightenment.
Lose the shorts, gloves, glamor, and media coverage, and you’re left with something comparable to a fighting rooster. Forgetting this, Westerners often critique the prevalence of cockfighting in Asian culture, instead preferring their invented norm of delivering a right-hook to someone of their own kind.
Here is a cruel fact: research from reports released in 2010 and 2011 shows a cause-effect link between boxing and brain damage, cognitive deficits, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Hans Forstl, M.D., and his research team in Germany have concluded that an average of 10 boxing-related fatalities have occurred on an annual basis since 1900.
Barbarianism vs. healthy competition: a fine line
Yes, fighting can be cruel. Open wounds, ripped ears, broken ribs, and smashed heads are just several of the realities of fighting.
However, many of these dangers are related to the way a fight takes place.
Cockfights that take place illegally between gamblers can be extremely deadly, as the cock keepers arm their warriors with sharp metal blades attached to their feet.
Cockfights held to celebrate national events in Vietnam, however, are of a different nature.
These are not bound by the jungle laws used by outlaw cock fighters. Instead, these fights are under strict supervision and foster a local community spirit.
To put it simply, cockfights can be as bloody as a hardcore boxing fight, but can be as friendly as a martial arts display.
Unfortunately, a Google search of ‘cockfight’ yields the most misleading definition: a blood sport.
Cockfights might be taboo in certain countries, like the U.S., but claiming a fight is ‘barbaric’ simply because the participants aren’t human and it takes place within the borders of Vietnam is downright hypocritical.