Galleros gather in protest against punishment for cockfighting in Costa Rica
Galleros gather in protest outside the legislative assembly building in downtown San Jose against punishment for cockfighting in Costa Rica

QCOSTARICA – “Galleros” – cock fighters –  against punishment for cockfighting Costa Rica gathered in protest  outside the Legislative Assembly building in downtown San Jose on Monday.

Dozens, with placards, insisted that legislators exclude punishment for the practice of cockfighting from the bill on Animal Welfare (Ley de Bienestar Animal).

The proposed bill, passed in first vote on March 3, sets a prison term of 6 months to 3 years for anyone promoting or taking part in cockfighting and fines of between ¢400.000 and ¢800.000 colones for anyone breeding animals for fighting.

In Costa Rica, cockfights have been illegal in Costa Rica since 1922, although the activity remains popular in certain regions of the country, such as in Perez Zeledon and Sixaola, for example. The government deems the activity as animal cruelty, public disorder and a risk for public health, but, the law against the practice is rarely applied.

Alexander Pinto, spokesperson for the cockfighting movement, said this is a “tradition of 453 years”.

Last week, the issue of cockfighting was the subject of discord on the legislative floor, after PAC legislator Otton Solis announced is opposition to the Animal Welfare Act because he considers that it would lead to the disappearance of cockfighting in the country.

“The bill prohibits breeding and hybridization of these animals; that means exterminating the roosters used in cockfights, genetically made by God or evolution or Darwin or nature to fight,” said Solis.

The statement by the legislator angered legislative members of all caucuses.

A cockfight is a blood sport between two roosters (cocks), or more accurately gamecocks, held in a ring called a cockpit. The history of raising fowl for fighting goes back 6,000 years.

With notes from

Stay up to date with the latest stories by signing up to our newsletter, or following us on Facebook.