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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
Festival pulls cockfighting movie
Norfolk cockerel
Cockfighting is illegal in the UK and most US states
Organisers of the Edinburgh Film Festival have cancelled the screening of a cockfighting movie after learning it would break the law.

Cockfighter, made in 1974, features real fights between cockerels which breach animal cruelty laws.

The US film about a mute cocktrainer was never granted a UK certificate as it was impossible to make a clean cut.

A law was introduced in 1937 in response to complaints about horses being made to fall in Western films.


Ginnie Atkinson, managing director of the film festival, said they "can't fight" the law and they could not risk prosecution by showing the film.

But she added: "It was part of a retrospective and we'd found a rare print which is why we wanted to show it. It's quite sad."

Natalie Smart, spokeswoman for the Scottish SPCA, said: "This film is so bad for animal welfare because its cockfights are not reconstructed."

The British Board of Film Classification's Sue Clark said: "The film was never edited for classification in the UK because it's called Cockfighter. And if you take out all the cockfighting scenes there's not much left."

The film, which was directed by Monte Hellman, won praise for its central performance by Warren Oates - but critics described the graphic scenes of cockfighting as "nauseating".

Man jailed for 'brutal' cockfight
12 Apr 05 |  Southern Counties

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