Animal lovers are rejoicing at the latest news of a crackdown on illegal cockfighting in Sydney’s south western suburbs. The large and elaborate cockfighting syndicate has seen 35 men arrested and 71 cockerels saved in what Detective Superintendent Martin Fileman, the police department’s organised crime squad commander, has described as “good police work”. The bust was made in conjunction with detectives as RSPCA inspectors on Sunday 13th December, 2020 when they raided a rural property in Catherine Field.
The property, located in Camden Valley Way, was not only the site of a designated cockfighting area, but also several large warehouse-like sheds used to home the fighting cockerels. Other equipment relating to cockfights such as metal spikes and spurs were also found on site.
The raid was the result of a lengthy investigation by officers into illegal activities and animal cruelty in the area. In addition to the 71 cockerels saved in the crackdown, police were also able to seize over $100,000 Australian dollars in cash, as well as a number of suspicious electronic devices they say will undergo further investigation.
Several of the men appear to be previously known to the police, with one man’s immigration status also in question by the authorities. On top of animal cruelty charges, one 35 year old man has been charged with contravene prohibition/restriction in AVO (domestic), whilst another 28 year old Cabramatta man is also facing charges for possessing an illegal drug and using false or misleading documents.
The sport of cockfighting is thought to have originated in Southeast Asia, although there are other sources that indicate it dates back to the ancient Greeks who used it to stimulate warriors into battle. Recent iterations of the blood sport however are much more banal, often using the bird’s fight to the death as a means for illegal gambling.