Gamefowl expo attracts breeders and suppliers from around the world

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LEADIN:
The Philippines has been hosting a game fowl expo - attracting breeders, enthusiasts and suppliers from around the world.
STORYLINE:
It's a cockerel breeders paradise.
A one-stop shop for game-fowl enthusiasts where you can find almost every breed of game fowl and everything they could possibly need - from feed to vitamin supplements, special brooding machines and the best pens for hens.
Here in the Philippines cock breeding is extremely popular and this expo draws in breeders from America and other countries.
Raquel Ramos, the General Manager of World Expos & Concepts, Inc. says: "In the past, for example, if you wanted to buy materials for your farm from a certain breeder, you will have to go all the way to their farm."
The expo offers game fowl aficionados a chance to check not just on different bloodlines of breeds of fighting cocks, but also the prices.
It's a serious business and the prices and people here are willing to pay the asking price for a good bird.
Rooster prices range from 5,000 pesos (120 US dollars) to as high as 100,000 pesos (2,400 US dollars).
Cock fighting enthusiast Brando Ibanez has just bought himself a bird for 600 US dollars.
He says: "I have heard that the best game fowl exhibitors will be here."
Another enthusiast Dr. Jorge Goitia explains he's been into cock breeding for over a decade.
He says: "This is passion. It's in my blood. In the past 15 years, I've been coming back here, at least once a year just to enjoy this wonderful sport."
But breeding and cockfighting is expensive and not everyone is able to invest in birds with the best reputations.
Loi Zarate says: "Because I just can not afford expensive ones, so I'm taking it slowly. This is just a hobby."
According to US breeder Bryan Corkern, it's the bird rearing that gives him satisfaction.
He says: "I just love the breeding aspect, trying to breed the ultimate rooster for fighting and maintaining lines, all the breeding, it's really a great sport, and it's also hard to maintain your families and produce the quality cocks that you're looking for, so it's really a challenge."
The Game Fowl Expo is said to be the only one of its type in the world.
Breeder James Campbell says: "World Gamefowl Expo started four years ago and I've been here, one of the promoters, for four years in a row."
These sharp spurs are used in cockfighting.
It may not be to everyone's taste, but it is big business here.
Breeder Dr. Ayong Lorenzo says: "This is part of our culture. This is actually a heritage of the Pilipino people. And the cockfighting as a sport, this is so challenging because from the chick until they grow, you need to take care of them well because if they are not healthy, they're going to be on the loosing side when fight day comes."
This is one of the fastest growing industries in the Philippines, a multi-billion peso business employing around a million people.
According to event organisers Manny Berbano some 50 billion Pesos (1.16 Billion US Dollars) are spent every year.
He says: "An industry that was considered as, just a pass time, but this time, now, it's already part of the growing economy of the Philippines."
The breeders and exhibitors here argue that breeding roosters is more challenging than other pets.
The birds here ensure they have a something to crow about.


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