While horse fighting is promoted under the guise of tradition, in reality, extensive gambling on the outcomes of the horse fights, with bets running as high as £2,000, is the main reason it has become so prevalent. Currently, thousands of horses are involved in hundreds of fights throughout the southern Philippines, with some fiestas organising up to 20 fights per day over a three-day period.
Republic Act 8485, also known as the Animal Welfare Act, outlawed all horse fighting in 1998. However, with penalties ranging from a minimum of 1,000 pesos (approx. £10) to a maximum of 5,000 pesos (approx. £50) horse-fighting organisers pay little heed to the law, and the events take place in broad daylight in public areas.
Lack of enforcement
Despite being illegal, not one person has been prosecuted for engaging in horse fighting since the passage of RA 8485 in 1998. Modest attempts to curtail horse fighting have been instituted by the national government’s...
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