Import restrictions stop Puerto Rico cockfights
Puerto Rico has temporarily blocked imports of live birds from the Dominican Republic — and in the process forced the cancellation of an estimated 100 cockfights.
Although cockfighting is illegal in 49 U.S. states and will become illegal in the last holdout state of Louisiana in August, it is a major spectator sport in Puerto Rico, with an estimated 200,000 authorized fights held each year. Carlos Quinones, the cockfighting director for Puerto Rico's sports and recreation department told the Associated Press that cockfighting generates $12 million in ticket sales a year. In cockfighting, roosters wearing plastic spurs fight in pits. Puerto Rico has more than 100 licensed pits.
The island industry has come to a halt, however, since Puerto Rico stopped all bird imports from the Dominican Republic, effective Jan. 3, after an outbreak of avian flu hit the Dominican Republic. Puerto Rico's ban on bird imports could be lifted some time this week if there are no further reports of avian flu outbreaks in the Dominican Republic, the report said, allowing the cockfights to resume.