PETIONVILLE, Haiti (AP) — Cockfighting lives on in Haiti, where weekly fights draw crowds of men, hungry for the drama and the promise of a big payout.
The centuries-old sport, pitting two roosters against each other in a fight often to the death, is vilified in the U.S., where it is illegal. But it's a popular pastime for Haitians, especially in the slums and rural areas of the hemisphere's poorest nation.
Aficionados defend it as part of the island's culture.
At the Route Freres cockfighting arena in Petionville, makeshift rooster cages have signs in French: "If you need people's respect, you first need to respect yourself."
At the Morne Hercule arena men shout out bets and flash cash as roosters prepare to fight.
Cockfighting fits into a gambling culture that includes fighting bulls and "borlettes," gaudily painted outlets that play on New York State Lottery numbers. For people living on less than $2 dollars a day, as most Haitians do, the chance to win money betting on cockfights or the lottery is one of the main attractions.