In some regional variations, the birds are equipped with artificial steel spurs known as gaffs, which tend to cause the fights to end much quicker. In other variations, the bird's feet are wrapped to lengthen the bouts. Fighting done without gaffs or taping often is called "naked heel".
In old England, cockfighting, together with the more barbarous sport of throwing at cocks, was the chief amusement on Shrove Tuesday. However, public opinion has declared against these sports in an unmistakable manner. "Cock-fighting and bear-baiting," as Dr Johnson said, "may raise the spirit of a company, just as drinking does, but they will never improve the conversation of those who take part in them." In many places, animal fights have been specifically outlawed, based on opposition to gambling, opposition to cruelty to animals, or both.
In 1759, the English artist William Hogarth published a satire on cockfighting in his print, The Cockpit. See also the video game Pokemon, which has (falsely) been labeled as a cockfighting simulation.
The ban on cockfighting has resulted in several breeds being developed from pit game stock for the show bench or other purposes, with Modern Game (extreme long legs being a characterstic) and Old English bantam (amongst the smallest of the chicken breeds) being notable and very popular show bench examples. A more important example is the Cornish (developed from the Aseel pit game breed) which forms the basis for the fryer/broiler industry.