Walmart Mexico Investigated Over Promotional Cockfight

Walmart’s Mexican operations are being investigating by authorities in the city of Boca del Rio, where customers complained a Walmart store hosted a cockfight to promote a soft drink company. The retailer says it’s the customer gripes are overblown and that, while there were indeed roosters pecking at each other, no actual cockfighting took place.

“It wasn’t a cockfight,” a rep for Walmart Mexico told Bloomberg about the alleged incident, explaining that the birds weren’t equipped with blades and that no roosters were harmed. “There wasn’t anything that would be in violation of any game regulations.”

Gambling on cockfights is illegal in Boca del Rio and could result in a fine of up to around $7,200 for the store. The Walmart rep also says there was no gambling at the event.

The promotional event took place on Sept. 15, in advance of Mexican Independence Day on the sixteenth, and was to promote a soda company from the area. Local animal rights groups alerted authorities after seeing photos of fighting birds posted online.

Even if the event doesn’t qualify as the typical, bloody cockfight, a Boca del Rio city official tells Bloomberg that it’s still illegal to bring live animals into a retail store.

“This commercial establishment has a specific license to sell certain products, but not to organize an event different from its activities,” explains the official. “And this was an event totally different from the activities that they were licensed to carry out.”

The company now has until Sept. 24 to show the city evidence disproving the cockfighting allegations.