A cock-fighting network is holding illegal gatherings at clandestine venues across Northern Ireland, it has been claimed.
An investigation by the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) uncovered a series of cock fights, held on both sides of the border and attended by men, women and children.
Footage filmed in Co Monaghan, near the Armagh border, last weekend appeared to show about 60 people, some of them children, watching a cockfight in a makeshift ring.
Other bloody duels discovered by the USPCA were held in Swatragh, Co Londonderry, and near the south Armagh border, according to a BBC report.
The bloody sport has been banned for almost 200 years, but fears about its prevalence persist.
Stephen Philpott from the USPCA described the discovery as disturbing.
“We were absolutely shocked and stunned to find out the number of people involved and the amount of organisation,” he said.
“And it was the number of spectators of the events which stunned us. People from all walks of life coming out to watch chickens tearing each other to bits.”