Northern Ireland

Cock-fighting investigation: Birds seized in County Fermanagh

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Media captionCock-fighting is a practice that has been illegal for almost 200 years

A number of birds have been seized in County Fermanagh as part of an investigation into illegal cockfighting.

The police operation into alleged animal cruelty took place at three locations.

There were no arrests and police said enquiries are continuing.

At one of the properties, roosters had been tied by the leg to blue plastic barrels.

A vet said the birds were healthy and uninjured, although the combs on their heads had been removed.

Removing the combs, or dubbing, is believed to be common practice in birds bred for fighting.


Earlier this year the BBC reported on a two-year USPCA investigation into illegal cock-fights, which take place regularly at venues on both sides of the Irish border.

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

On another occasion, both birds seemed to survive. In an earlier encounter one of the birds was lifted, apparently lifeless, from the ring.

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

Police said they are working in partnership with other agencies to investigate suspected fighting offences leading to possible animal cruelty.

Anyone with concerns or information in relation to animal cruelty for farmed animals has been asked to contact the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD).

Offences for non-farmed animals for example, domestic pets such as cats, dogs, horses and donkeys should be reported to the animal welfare officer in local councils.

Any suspected organised fighting offences should be reported to the police.

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