Finch Fighting Ring

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Post  FinchG on Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:21 pm

Authorities crack
down on finch-
fighting rings

Updated 3/9/2010 7:47 PM

By Sharon L. Peters Special for, USA TODAY

Tiny birds seem to be the next, albeit improbable,
wave in fight-to-the-death blood sport.

Twice in recent months, authorities have raided
operations where finches were kept to attack each
other for onlookers who bet on which birds would
survive the matches.

PET TALK: Bird fighters harder to detect in
'underground culture'

"I understand it sounds odd," says Tim Rickey, the
ASPCA's director of field investigations. "But cruelty
is cruelty, and the suffering that's part of this
practice is horrible."

Moreover, authorities worry about public safety.
"The individuals who enjoy this kind of brutality,
who attend these fights should be regarded as very
dangerous," he says. "They're the same type of
people who enjoy dog fighting and rooster fighting.
There may be drugs or arms, and criminal
backgrounds."

Increased public awareness and reporting have
made dog and rooster fighting riskier, Rickey says.
Finches are much cheaper to raise and keep, they're
quieter, and they're easier to transport and secret
away, he says.

Most of the birds seized in the busts in Shelton,
Conn., and Ashland, Mass., were saffron finches, 6-
inch songbirds indigenous to parts of South
America, which sell for $120 and more a pair in the
USA.

They're aggressive when mating, Rickey says, and
that's why bird fighters favor them.

In the wild, they don't fight to kill: The losing finch
can escape.

But in tight-quarters matches, two males are placed
in a segmented cage with a female to bring them to a
frenzied state. The separation barrier is removed,
and fighting continues until one bird is dead or
mortally wounded.

Many of the seized finches' beaks had been filed to
razor sharpness.

In the Connecticut raid last summer, 19 men were
arrested and 150 birds seized. In Massachusetts last
month, more than 20 finches were seized, and
Advertisement
By Jodie Mozdzer, Valley Independent Sentinel

This injured finch was found after authorities raided a suspected finch-fighting ring.

investigations into the 20 people living in the house
continue.

Many of the people apprehended in both busts were
Brazilians. Brazil has long had a culture of finch
fighting, but the practice was outlawed two decades
ago.

Rickey suspects bird fighting extends beyond
geography or cultures. "I have no reason to believe
that these are the only two such operations in the
country," he says.

"Trends like this, once they get kicked off, don't take
much time to catch on."
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