2:30 PM EDT, June 7, 2012
It's a cruel and illegal blood sport. But apparently for some people, it's also family entertainment.
With the help of the Humane Society of the United States, Inside Edition went undercover at an illegal cockfight in Mobile, Ala. We paid a $50 cover charge to get in, but there's a discounted admission for children. And we found plenty of kids at the event. Some were sitting with their parents, others climbed on the bleachers and we even watched several kids placing bets on fights. And if the kids get hungry between fights, there's even a concession stand serving hot dogs and hamburgers..
Our undercover producer spoke to one of the young boys:
"Did you win any money in there?" our producer asked.
"Not yet," The child responded. "I lost five dollars."
The event operates in secrecy inside a converted barn complete with a glassed-in arena, bleachers and side cages where the birds finish the fight and kill each other.
It's a violent spectacle. But what makes it even more disturbing is that each bird is outfitted with razor-sharp blades that slice into their opponents.
"They feel pain and they get sliced to pieces," explained John Goodwin, spokesperson for the Humane Society of the U.S. "No animal should suffer like that just so someone can have something to bet on," Goodwin said.
And this is not just a guy's sport. We even observed a young woman toss her bird into the pit to fight.
Alabama has become a notorious haven for cockfighters because the state has the weakest cockfighting laws in the country. Penalties for the organizers are less than a misdemeanor and carry a maximum $50 fine. There are no penalties for those in attendance.
The I-Squad's Lisa Guerrero went back to try to speak to the people in charge of the cockfight we attended.
"Dozens of animals are going to be killed here today," Guerrero said to one of the organizers. "There are children here in the building. It is illegal and there's gambling. How can you justify this sport happening here?"
He said nothing illegal had taken place and then asked Guerrero and our crew to leave the property.
"Just keep moving," he said.
In Alabama, the fine for organizing a cockfight is at most $50, but it is totally legal to be a spectator. The Humane Society is now pushing Congress to make it a federal crime to even attend a cockfight.
To learn more about cockfighting and what you can do to help prevent it, visit the HSUS Web site: www.hsus.org.