The New York Times’ Simon Romero on a local tradition that just won’t go out of style — cockfighting!

“I oppose abortion, but I’m not going to tell Pamela Anderson or even my daughter not to get one – it’s their choice,” said Louisa Lopez, who operates one of New Mexico’s largest cockfighting pits, the Gentlemen’s Arena Game Club, on the outskirts of Socorro, a small town south of Albuquerque. “So who are these outsiders telling me what to do? Who are they to come here with their ideas of what’s right and what’s wrong?

“I’m officially undecided on the issue, but I don’t believe it merits the attention it’s received,” Governor Richardson said in an interview. “Every time it’s introduced it distracts from pressing issues like access to health care or drunk-driving fatalities, serious problems affecting our population.”

“But it goes beyond distraction sometimes,” he said. “Some of the implied threats coming from these Hollywood personalities are condescending and insulting.”

To be sure, many New Mexicans do not agree that cockfighting should be preserved, or even portrayed as a part of the state’s heritage. Martin Chavez, the mayor of Albuquerque, has called it barbaric.

“The idea of putting razor blades on the feet of these birds and allowing them to tear each other up is obscene,” the mayor said.

“I’ve seen rooster fights used to determine who’s running for school board or who’s coming out on top in a disputed cattle sale,” said Benjie Regensburg, a legislator from the northeastern town of Cleveland who is an outspoken opponent of a ban.

Mr. Regensburg said a poor state like his had issues far more important than whether to forbid cockfighting.

The sport’s critics, he declared, “say it’s brutal, but these are people who value the life of a rooster more than a human being.”

(where were Bill Maher ,PETA and the New York Times when the above barbaric competition was taking place?)