Yesterday I wrote about how to get rid of unwanted roosters from your flock.
One of my readers responded by sending me this important piece of email:
While I admire your forthright way of helping people find ways of disposing of their unwanted cockerels, perhaps before you advise them to give them away, you may inform them of a fate worse than the stew pot. Like you, if I could eat my own birds, I’d be eating healthy food and my birds’ deaths wouldn’t be totally unwarranted.
Unfortunately, when you do find someone who will “take them off your hands,” or will actually pay you a few dollars for them, they are going to be used as bait birds in training fighting cocks. I realize that this despicable practice is illegal now in all 50 states, but it continues unabated.
At one time, I too, was so naive as to not realize that the kind-hearted guy who bought six of my cockerels at a show got them to train his fighting roosters. Too late, I learned that this is extremely common, so please advise your readers that if someone asks for any extra roosters and tells you that they’re not going to eat them, but they’ll have a good life on a farm, it’s probably not the exact truth.
The life of a bait bird is analogous to the life of a bait dog. They are tortured physically, emotionally, and psychologically, as they have no way of running away, fighting back, (as they are incapacitated,) or dying fast.
I’m sorry if it seems that I’ve overstepped the bounds of an avid reader of your posts, but as I value your words, so must many other bird lovers. I felt strongly enough about this unpleasant subject to contact you, and to suggest perhaps you let your readers know that a good death at their owner’s hands is much better than a living hell and a bad death at the hands of cock fighters.
My reader raises an excellent point and while I live in New Hampshire where cock fighting (although not unheard of) is relatively rare, I’m afraid I’m guilty as charged of being naive. It just never occurred to me that this might happen.
Even though I do advocate the humane culling of a bird that is a nuisance (or who is severely injured) in a residential flock, don’t for one minute think that I don’t respect the lives of all of my birds. All living things, ALL living things deserve respect and none should ever have to die in pain, fear, and suffering.
So take heed, if you are getting rid of your roosters by Craigslist, ask a question or two first in order to see how the birds will be used. You always have the right to say “NO.”
In the ultimate scheme of things, it seems a little hypocritical to say that there’s very little difference between killing the birds for food and killing the birds for sport.
But trust me on this one – your heart will surely know the difference.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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