This video barely scratches the surface of cockfighting. It provides few details about the birds, the tools or the rules, and does little to balance the controversial pro-fighting viewpoint.
The filmmakers interview/follow 3 people: the president of the gamecock association (Manuel), an ex-cockfighter from Arizona (Clara) and another American (Larry) who currently fights his birds in Mexico. There are some brief comments from an FDA official (anti) and a writer for the Arizona free press (pro). The rest of the video consists of footage (some bloody) following the three people above to different cockfights.
The filmmakers clearly have a pro-fighting agenda, and the nature of the sport obviously necessitates a rural setting, however, all of the people shadowed come across as selfish, uneducated and poor. Manuel believes cockfighting should be legal simply because he comes from a culture that enjoys it and he considers it his "God-given right." I liked Manuel but I couldn't help but think of the old Southern plantation owners who supported slavery because it was "the southern way of life." Clara waxes nostalgic for her fallen feathered warriors, but she freely admits that her goal was to win the derby money ($1500) whatever the cost. So, yes, poor Little Poco might have died, but dang if she didn't get a new sofa out of it. Larry says "(expletive) the US" because cockfighting is illegal in all but 3 states. When one of his birds falls in competition, we hear him exclaim, "(expletive) dead meat."
David Holthouse, the writer, offers the most interesting perspective in the film when he suggests that the brief life of a gamecock is actually of better quality than that of chickens sent to the slaughterhouse. I considered this for a moment, but I was again reminded of the historical defense that slaves were actually better off because at least they had a place to live and food to eat. There's no denying that slaughterhouse conditions are deplorable, but that fact by itself does not prove cockfighting to be any better/worse. Couldn't they both be EQUALLY deplorable in different ways?
The video offers little in the way of an anti-cockfighting viewpoint, it never mentions the rich history of the sport, and it fails to provide any details. It never even presents a sympathetic personality. I had previously watched the movie Cockfighter starring Warren Oates and I purchased this video to educate myself about the sport; I had no predilection as to whether cockfighting was right or wrong, I was simply interested. After viewing this video, I seriously questioned why this "sport" was still legal in New Mexico, Oklahoma & Louisiana until 2007?