Sunday, May 28, 2006

On Chickens

Being a chicken is a tricky business. In addition to traditional enemies like foxes, today chickens have to be wary of McDonalds and their McNuggets and the evil Colonel Saunders. In the State of Louisiana though, there are even greater perils to worry these creatures, which have been making the news of late.

It turns out that Cockfighting is still legal in Louisiana. Many people find this fact surprising, given that, for example, this activity was outlawed in England back in 1835 (it was not outlawed in Scotland until 1895). Every few years, there is an attempt at prohibiting cockfighting, but these attempts seldom get anywhere. There has been another attempt this year, which appears to be doing better than usual, due to fears about so-called 'bird flu'. This is why the matter has been making the news.

Many people find the notion of cockfighting problematic, on the grounds that it is cruel to the animals involved. Indeed, Louisiana Revised Statutes, 14:102.1 which describes 'Cruelty to animals; Simple and aggravated' prohibits most forms of animal cruelty. However, Section D of this statute contains the following remarkable provision:

"For purposes of this section, fowl shall not be defined as animals."

So, under Louisiana law, chickens, roosters and their feathered friends are denied status as animals, as a matter of definition! The law is silent on whether chickens should be considered vegetable, or mineral instead. By way of this legislative 'fiat' cockfighting remains a perfectly legal activity, at least for now.

It is important to also realize that this is not some arcane and abstract legal matter. At least one of the workers in my building actively engages in cockfighting on a regular basis. He is concerned about this latest attempt at legislative prohibition. This man is clearly no monster. I only found out about his hobby one day when, as we had done many times before, we were smoking together outside the building. He considers cockfighting to be part of his heritage. Who am I to disagree?

The CP


Blogger Professor Zero said...

Actually this post is pretty good...

11:13 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

I've been living in Louisiana for almost two years now. One (I mean the only) friend that I've made outside of work knows a lot about cockfighting and offered to take me to one. So, I went to see what it was all about. I'd seen animal rights videos on it, but I wanted to see it first hand.

To my surprise I discovered that it's a family event - att least the game club that I went to was that way. There were kids with their families (little girls running around with feathers, some had blood on them), people one dates (one girl got bad at her date for not paying enough attention to her), old people, young people, black people, Hispanics, etc. It was a multicultural event. One of his friends actually had roosters fighting. So, I got to go in the back where they keep the roosters and get them ready for the fights. I got to see pretty much everything. It was quite an experience. It was weird.

I saw a news story on the proposed legislation, one of the pro-cockfighters said, "If you don't like cockfighting, don't go." I only with more people around here had the same attitude about gay marriages.

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is fun, but we want a new post!

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wot, still no new post, mate?

6:34 PM  

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