What’s So Bad About Cockfighting Again?
This week, a Utah state senator named Allen Christensen made news by voting against a bill that would turn cockfighting from a misdemeanor into a felony (it’s already a felony in most of the US). The reasons he gave included A) The birds “naturally want to do this thing in their lives” and B) Utah allows women to have abortions, so why doesn’t it allow people to strap knives to roosters’ claws and get them to cut each other to pieces for entertainment? Obviously, Christensen is being a troll here, and he’s probably the kind of guy who mentions abortion when you ask him to pass the potatoes (“UNBORN FETUSES MURDERED BY THEIR LIBRUL MOTHERS CAN’T PASS ANYTHING TO ANYONE BECAUSE THEY’RE DEAD!”) but the story got me thinking: What if there’s a sliver of a point here? Why do we want to send people who run cockfighting rings to prison?
Let’s first go to the Humane Society, who have a pretty good definition of what cockfighting is and why you should want it banned if you give a shit about animals at all:
Obviously, yes, cockfighting is a barbaric blood sport and if roosters are capable of conscious thought, they are almost definitely not like, Hell yeah, I want to get cut up by some other rooster with knives on his claws while drunk humans shout at me! But if American lawmakers want to start passing bills that reflect a concern for poultry, maybe they should start with the 9 billion chickens that are killed and turned into food every year in the US. While a few of those birds no doubt live happy lives roaming around farmyards and pecking at the dirt, many more of those chickens have lives like this: