I was having a really interesting conversation on Twitter today about betta fish fighting for gambling/recreation purposes. It’s no secret that Nippyfish does not tolerate animal fighting for sport and I am happy to say most of world doesn’t tolerate it either. When we talk about fighting bettas it is usually in reference to deep-seeded traditions ingrained in far-away countries or to naive high school/college age boys here in the US.

I was interested to hear today that betta fighting in Indonesia, one of the countries where wild bettas originated, is a high-stakes underground business where wagers can get pretty intense. I was pleased to hear; however, that the law in Indonesia does not take animal fighting or gambling lightly. Both offenses are punishable with jail time. When I heard that I couldn’t help but feel satisfied. Perhaps because I have never once heard of anyone being punished for fish fighting here in the US. Even dog fighting, which is as heinous as it is violent, rarely ever ends with any meaningful punishment. Maybe a few months in prison at best and a fine. We have so far to go in protecting our animals in this country. We could stand to take a page from the book of our eastern neighbors.

This leads me to ask, has anyone ever heard of someone getting busted for fish fighting? Have any of our readers ever been busted? I suspect nobody has ever done hard time but what about school suspension, expulsion or loss of some privilege? If the law doesn’t take it seriously, does our school systems? Our teachers? Our parents?

Thanks to Fajar Jasmin who shared his knowledge of betta fighting in Indonesia with me over Twitter. Please take a moment to check out his incredibly poignant blog about his life –Unquote – it is sure to pull at your heartstrings and is my new favorite blog.

Since we have readers from all over the world, we would love to hear about betta fighting in your country and what is or isn’t done to prevent it. Be sure to let us know what country you are from.

thai fighting fish ring, originally uploaded by revs&audy.

caption: The photo above is of a betta fish fighting ring in Thailand

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Reader Interactions


  1. Fajar Jasmin says:

    Thanks for your kind words about me and my blog. I’m rather undeserving for that 🙂
    I should add a little to what I said over Twitter, though. Gambling and animal fighting are punishable here, but theoretically. Sadly, a lot of the players are well-financed and organized that they can easily buy their way out of jails.
    So yes, it is an illegal practice. But we still have a long way to protect our animals here. Why, it could even be argued that we still have a lot to do about Human Rights issues, -let alone animal. I’m deeply saddened by this fact.
    P.S. “pulling your heartstrings”? Which post did you read? This?

  2. Christie says:

    Hi Fajar, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Your point is well made and we often forget that pay-offs and corruption do occur.
    Just read the blog post you linked to. It’s just incredible. Makes my heart ache. The one I read yesterday was the one about the Kindle.

  3. yaoi-in-exile says:

    I’m sorry for posting this here, where it isn’t applicable, but I’m new to following Nippyfish and was wondering where to send questions? Is there a link or an email address? Thanks so much!

  4. dont trip says:

    hey sorry to crash the party here but ey. The only reason why people in the u.s say that if you let them fight they’ll fight to the death. is because there exagerating too much. Once they let it fight they dont know how to treat its wounds properly. They dont even know how to take care of it anyways. Many people think bettas do ok when tankbuddies but NO. They get reall stress like that and other fish will attack their fins. Why dont peopleget in trouble for that right???…I mean they let other fish attack them like of course there gonna die eventually cuz they dont recognize that there tank buddies aren’t the same kind so they get scared at the alien object. And first of all before ANY OF YOU PEOPLE judge that bettas fight to the death. Read this website first and get educated about it. Then come reply back to me……http://www.plakatthai.com/

  5. HalfFish3 says:

    Honestly, I am completely against animal cruelty. I think its overall gruesome to put two innocent creatures in a fight to the death. It’s inhuman…I mean, we would no longer put two people in an arena to fight to the death. We realized gladiator fighting wasn’t right a long time ago- are fish any different? As for legal issues, I don’t think there are any specific laws prohibiting such behavior.

  6. Michelle says:

    poor fish. they can’t die.they are alive like people:-(

  7. Betta101 says:

    Betta fighting is completely legal in the USA Arizona not sure about other states but animal cruelty involving animal fighting states that a “animal” is either amphibians mammals reptiles and birds nothing about fish, and fighting bettas is a sport as is mma or boxing it’s not a fight to the death jus till a surrender or draw in some cases not stating that I support it just trying to help clear things up if anything is misunderstood

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