Cock Fighting is one of the most popular sports in the Philippines and is broadcast on national television, with some fights filling sports stadiums to capacity. But far from the cameras and regulations of the prime time events, underground fights occur daily in Manila’s working class neighbourhoods.
The fights are short and brutal, with the cocks fighting until either exhaustion or death. Though amateur veterinarians – referred to locally as gaffers – are on hand to treat injuries, the long curved knives attached to the bird’s feet often result in the death of the losing bird.
The fighting cocks live relatively pleasant lives when compared to the battery chickens which feed the world’s appetite for poultry, with owners caring for their birds with an affection bordering on love. Yet the animals live as gladiators, with their only purpose being to fight and possibly die for the enrichment and bragging rights of its owner.
This story was shot in Manila’s working class neighbourhoods of San Andres Bukid and Raymundo.