Chook fighting - East Timor's blood thirsty national sport Dili, East Timor - 02 Jan 2014
It is East Timor, one of the world's youngest nations, blood thirsty national sport and a scene replicated throughout the tiny nation every afternoon around 5pm.
Father and son take their prize birds to duel with their neighbours and folk from surrounding districts. Thousands of dollars change hands in a country were $5USD is the daily wage.
In every match there is only one winner; the loser becomes someone's dinner.
A match may take anything from a few seconds to several minutes... the 3 inch razor sharp blades tied to the cock’s legs ensure fights are decisive and death assured… there is only ever one winner and the loser is dispatched unceremoniously to the dinner table.
But even the hardest man would have to admit it’s a sad sport.
You only have to look at the faces of the young boys and the worry settling on their small faces as their “pets” enter the ring… chances are they’ll be taking them home… for dinner. ..
Or, if they are lucky their bird might win a few fights but death for these proud fighting birds is inevitable…
But as Ernest Hemingway said: "People say it's cruel, but what the hell does a fighting cock like to do?"