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July 22, 2011 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Bad, Chicken Little. Bad!

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Despite the law, they strut with slashers. They bluster. They strike with spurs or gouge with gaffs. They scream and crow. More than a few feathers were ruffled by a San Antonio judge’s decision last week concerning a whole flock of fighting roosters.

July 10th, authorities raided a group’s “alleged” cockfight and arrested 13 people. Animal Care Services was awarded custody of the roosters and has been evaluating them. Despite the ACS’s hopes that some of the birds could be adopted, it was determined that nearly five dozen could not be rehabilitated because of the fierce combat training by their former owners. Hardened and unrepentant, those mad, bad roosters will be euthanized. Not the life they expected, but reluctant victims born into a cruel culture they were unable to break free from. Just like the streets of the mean big city: fight or die.

One man, Victor Cordova, appealed to the judge for custody of 3 roosters. He hadn’t been at the “alleged” cockfight – just his birds were.  I guess, being unable to reach the gas pedal – and unwilling to risk damaging their feathers or pulling a muscle flying – the looking-for-a-fight fowl apparently hitched a ride with Cordova’s brother. That’s reasonable. How many football players do you see footing it to the game carrying all their shoulder pads, helmets and stuff? Anyway, according to Cordova, the birds were supposed to be swapped, not fought, so they should be returned. That’s just like NFL or NBA players going to a new team. So what’s the harm in that? In any case, the request was turned down by the judge who also ordered the owner to help pay the cost of housing and care of those 3 birds by the ACS – about $330. Tax payers in San Antonio are paying the bill for the rest of the feisty flock.

Authorities are holding 59 of the mini-fighters as evidence in the criminal cases, so those will not be euthanized at this time.  J.A. Flores, animal cruelty specialist with ACS sounds concerned and said, “Unfortunately there is no assurance that these birds will not end up fighting again.” With that considered, it appears that the “Gang of 59″ will eventually face death row and the needle. You know Gov. Perry hasn’t heard from anyone trying to pardon these tough guys.

Well, with the hot summer and the new Texas laws about gamefowl, things are bound to heat in the rooster arena. Simple entertainment, entertainment for the simple, or simply a vicious blood sport? Critics are polarized depending on their views and upbringing. I guess, some could call it their “culture” or “heritage”. Some even think it’s better for humans to quench blood lust and competitiveness in small rings rather than on battle fields. (My chicken is badder than your chicken?  Seriously?)

But has anyone polled the pullets? The up-and-coming young clucking athletes? Given a choice would they prefer to scratch in dirt barnyards like  Crazy K Farm? Although in some farmyards, there could be the real possibility of facing a pot once their job is cut.

Would these foul fowl even consider complete domestication as a pampered pet as preferred by the humane societies? Give up the rough and tumble camaraderie of training camp for a free range freedom, with guaranteed food and shelter ? To be walked on a leash? (What? The cluck?) Maybe if chicken pethood  was elevated, glamorized, and endorsed by someone like Paris Hilton, it would catch on. A whole new clutch of entrepreneurs could feather their nests by offering chic accessories for chicken pets. Crazy K Farms could counsel owners about chicken bullying.

Could pampered life compete with the challenge of the ring? Would the pride of poultry choose instead to go out in a blaze of glory with people shouting their name – and high dollar bets wagered on their punk and spirit?

Sigh. The young warriors are never told about the hurt and the pain of battle. Or how fickle fans are. How quickly heroes can be tossed aside.

What the fighting roosters need is a celebrity spokesman like Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Vick was in Washington, DC July 19th talking to Congress about legislation ( H.R.2492) which would criminalize organizers, spectators, and impose penalties for those who allow minors to attend the blood sports such as dogfighting or cockfighting. He says that more children are being allowed to go to gruesome dog fights and that attending animal fights has a negative impact on children. Sponsors (who are not chickening out) say legislation against animal fighting needs to be strengthened even though it is illegal to “knowingly be a spectator at an animal fight” in 49 states. Currently 28 states level felony level penalties for anyone attending  an animal fight. Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive officer of the Humane Society of the United States, agrees with Vick (although Pacelle tends to be a little leery of Vick due to his past involvement with dog fighting). In any case, they both seem to agree: what’s good for the dog is good for the rooster.

Good news, you chicken littles!

(Related post: “Texas, angerin’people ‘gain, not gamefowl, though”)

UPDATE:  Oh, no! Purple diapers for hens! Check out Lucy and her story. (She’s the one who lays those green eggs)

Tough fighting for flighty fluff,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

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