According to the AP, the video
showed the two laughing before releasing the roosters. They took part as honorary "soltadores," the word used to describe the person who puts the animal to fight.The video was removed from YouTube, but TMZ has a portion of it here.
Martinez said the video was at least two years old and he offered a lame reason for his participation:
I understand that people are upset, but this is part of our Dominican culture and is legal in the Dominican Republic. I was invited by my idol, Juan Marichal, to attend the event as a spectator, not as a participant.The "it's part of our culture" line is complete bullshit. It's a common excuse for all sorts of "legal" but inhumane behaviour -- slavery, child labour, gential mutilation -- and it's what many people (including Whoopi Goldberg) said about Michael Vick and dogfighting.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society, said Martinez
exhibited appallingly bad judgment in participating in a staged animal fight. It doesn't excuse the behavior to find a legal haven for this reprehensible and inhumane conduct. It's animal cruelty, no matter where it occurs.A desire to watch animals being tortured for sport is not encoded into the DNA of people from the Dominican Republic (or anywhere else). I'd like to think that Pedro Martinez is smarter than that and that he will issue a second, more appropriate, statement.