Swatragh man at centre of cock fighting scandal

Cock fighting allegations
Cock fighting allegations
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A SWATRAGH man is at the centre of an illegal cock fighting scandal spanning both sides of the Irish border.

The man, who the MAIL has chosen not to name, was confronted by the BBC after a two year investigation by animal cruelty charity USPCA.

He was filmed taking part in the blood thirsty sport, which has been banned for the last 200 years, as early as last weekend on a site in County Monaghan.

The USPCA also has photographic evidence of the barbaric battles taking place in South Derry, on land registered to the man’s family.

Pictures taken almost a year ago by the USPCA showed men bringing caged birds to the Co Derry site before they were taken to a purpose built ring used for the cruel sport.

The event, which is known as a derby in the cock fighting world, also had a take-away van on site selling food as the chickens fought.

Some of the birds were later pictured being carried back to their cages dead.

The BBC gained access to the site this week where a large number of caged roosters and purpose built chicken houses were found.

The roosters had their combs and spurs removed - something the USPCA say is done to prepare them for a fight.

When confronted by the BBC about his activities at his Swatragh home, the man denied taking part in the barbaric sport.

He claimed to use the birds for show, participating in top festivals such as Balmoral.

The BBC investigation uncovered a number of organised fights on both sides of the Irish border.

On one site last weekend, about 60 people, some of them children, were gathered around a makeshift ring in County Monaghan, just five miles from the border with Middletown in County Armagh.

These big events in the cock fighting world are known as derbies.

Animal welfare charity USPCA says it is “shocked and stunned” by the number of people attending the organised fights,

The USPCA’s Stephen Philpott said the organisation had been investigating the fights for two years.

“When we entered this investigation, we thought that’s what we’d be looking at, unfortunately it wasn’t- this is a very highly organised business,” he said.

“It was the number of spectators at the events that stunned us - people from all walks of life coming out to watch chickens tear each other to bits.”