Fighting Fowl in Sulawesi

Andarias Lu’ku loves to fight chickens. I ask him why one day. Why, in Toraja in South Sulawesi, do people like watching chickens battle to the death while they bet tens or even hundreds of thousands of rupiah on the winner? 

Andarias, his head topped with gray hair, smiles. He says it’s a little complicated to explain. “No one can get rich gambling on chickens,” he says. “And an owner’s bet on their chicken doesn’t say anything about their treatment of the chicken.”

I ask him if forbidding the Torajan people from raising chickens and holding cockfights would meet resistance from the community. “Maybe if there wasn’t a transparent process,” he replies. “But these kinds of events will keep happening.”

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