In partnership with the Animal Wellness Foundation, the Animals and Society Institute is seeking proposals for a research study on the topic of animal fighting in a distinct geographic area.

AWF ( and ASI ( are nonprofit organizations: AWF primarily funds companion-animal-related projects; ASI is a think tank that provides resources and programs for scholars and human service providers interested in animal issues.

Empirical findings on animal fighting are timely as the recently enacted 2018 Farm Bill includes a provision applying federal prohibitions against animal fighting to the five US territories. Cockfighting and dogfighting are illegal in all the states, with Louisiana becoming the 50th state to ban cockfighting in 2008.

The purpose of the study is to provide empirical data to inform the implementation of the current legislation and any future related policy. 

The proposed study should be restricted to the practices of animal fighting in Puerto Rico, the most populous US territory and the one with an extensive network of cockfighting pits and arenas. The suggested target subject pool should consist of current or former residents of PR, and, depending on the study design, the possible addition of a relevant comparison group.

The primary research goals are assessing subjects’ attitudes to the practices of animal fighting, including their view of the recently passed prohibition against animal fighting in the territories. The research should also probe the attitudes of cockfighters and their reaction to compliance with the federal law, which is set to take effect in December 2019. Other supporting items could assay lifestyle issues related to animals (e.g., companion animals, diet), beliefs and values regarding animals more generally, and relevant demographic data, including their history of involvement in animal fighting.

As animal fighting involves economics in various forms – betting, equipment, tourism — provision for gathering data on the economics of the practices should be included in the study proposal.  The research should examine, to the extent practicable, the attitudes of tourism leaders on the island – given their economic stake in robust visitation from the U.S. mainland and other nations – toward cockfighting and whether the continuation of it as an illegal enterprise will mar the image of the Commonwealth. Ideally, results would include quantitative data (e.g., average scores on survey items) as well as qualitative data (e.g., narratives). This suggests a mixed method that includes survey, interview, and archival research. 

The product of the study is a manuscript suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

In addition to the study proposal, please provide a budget that is in the range of $15-20,000 and a timeline with milestones (suggested completion in one year from the date awarded).

Applicants should cite any of their own research on related topics.

Proposals will be evaluated by Ken Shaprio and two other Human-Animal Studies scholars and will be based on the following factors:

  1. Responsiveness to the requirements set forth in this RFR
  2. Relevant past research
  3. Justification and rationale for budget items.

The deadline for full proposals is March 31, 2019 and should be sent to