United Poultry Concerns January 15, 2002
UPC Letter Re: "Cockfighting is an enigma"

The following letter on Cockfighting by Karen Davis, President of United Poultry Concerns, was published in The Daily Mail in Charleston, West Virginia, on 15 January 2002. Website: http://www.dailymail.com/news/Opinion/2002011512/

11 January 2002

Karen Davis, President
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
12325 Seaside Road PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405
Ph: 757-678-7875

Ms. Johanna Maurice, Letters Editor
Charleston Daily Mail
1001 Virginia Street East
Charleston, WV 25301-2895

Dear Ms. Maurice:

Regarding "Cockfighting is an enigma" by Dave Peyton, January 7, 2002

Peyton draws attention to society's double standard and hypocrisy in calling cockfighting cruel while inflicting cruelty on chickens on a much larger scale by eating them. He is right about the double standard but wrong to suggest that cockfighting may be inherently "less bad" because another cruel practice that inflicts equal or more suffering on birds has yet to offend society as cockfighting has come to do. Is Peyton suggesting that two inhumane practices somehow add up to being right?

Society is progressing morally, but the progress isn't uniform. It goes by fits and starts, but it goes. Peyton flirts with another fallacy in suggesting that because certain types of families attend cockfights, maybe cockfighting is no worse than a football match. However, morally there is a distinction between sports comprising volunteers who have chosen to risk themselves and "sports" based on the use of captive animals or anyone else who did not choose to participate. Nor does football compare with the carnage of a cockfight.

As for roosters being "born to fight," as cockfighters assert, this is flat out false. In their natural Southeast Asian habitats, roosters seldom engage in direct physical combat, as has been noted in numerous scientific field studies such as the famous McBride study in the 1960s. But it isn't necessary to go so far afield to show that when roosters are able to exercise most of their natural behaviors, the showdown and face off are about as far as "fighting" ever goes with them. Anyone who doubts me should visit our chicken sanctuary on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Here they will see many fine-feathered fellows, not one of whom is beating the other one up. Our roosters are too busy attending the hens, sunbathing, dustbathing, scratching for food, and maintaining their society in assertive but peaceful ways. After all, we're not trying to turn them into neurotic extensions of human violence.

Thank you for considering my letter for publication.


Karen Davis

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. For more information visit our website: www.UPC-online.org.

United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
FAX: 757-678-5070

(UPC Letter Re: "Cockfighting is an enigma")

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