“I’m sorry for those uninformed that when a person starts breeding game fowls they think automatically about cockfighting and gambling. They sorely miss life’s excitement in so doing, much less adding sands to their hourglasses.” – Rick Concepcion, My Last Shuffle: I Fought Parkinson’s Disease to a Draw
As a child, people older than me painted game fowl in a bad light. They depicted the game fowl as gambling paraphernalia, and cockfighting was considered a sport reserved only for the big boys. Hence, I grew up with the belief that cockfighting was a vice, cruel and barbaric. All I knew was that the sport was nothing but bloodbath, death and pure evil.
Curious as a young boy, I used to watch tupadas during town fiesta. I could still remember the first time I entered a cockpit arena. Inside were all noise, smoke, alcohol, money, and chickens fighting for their lives. Call it culture shock if you will. The experience even strengthened my assumptions that cockfighting was for the uneducated, poor and merciless.
During college, my view on cockfighting had undergone a total shift in paradigm. Being a philosophy major exposed me to different principles and ideologies. Thus, I learned how to see, discern and act from a myriad of perspectives. My understanding of cockfighting got deeper, much wider, more mature.
Little did I know that in the near future, I would be immersed to the industry that once challenged my core values in life—the game fowl industry. Equipped with a new perspective on cockfighting, I landed a job in the game fowl industry.
To give you a glimpse of the current status of the Philippine game fowl industry, I’d like to share with you how big the industry is as of 2018. The government believes that “the game fowl industry is a ₱60 billion-industry where there are 30 million birds fought each year, about 120 game fowl-related associations, and about 30,000 game fowl farms including the smaller ones nationwide.”
I believe that the game fowl industry will keep growing despite rumors that certain groups want to outlaw cockfighting or sabong in the country. But we shouldn’t remain complacent because of what happened to the sport in the land of the free and home of the brave. We don’t want to suffer the same fate.