Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Respect the cocks

So D. Suave and Diesel are off on another one of their philosophical tangents, but fuck that -- I'm not getting embroiled in another one of those.

I'm more interested in something Colin said as a side argument in one of his comments: that dog fighting is worse than cock fighting. I'm marginally ashamed to admit this, but I have actually had multiple long and public arguments about this, including one drunken exchange with a former coworker at the Home Plate bar and batting cage that prompted everybody else in the bar to opine (meaning all three of the fat chicks).

The general consensus seems to be that dog fighting is worse than dog fighting. I disagree. And I don't really care one way or the other which is more culturally acceptable -- as an expert on brown music, I understand that cockfighting is ingrained in Latino culture, especially -- because if we're talking about sheer levels of cruelty, cockfighting wins, and it's not close.

It's not as if either sport is not cruel, of course. Both are enterprises in which animals are bred and trained for the express purpose of fighting. The animals all wind up dying, whether in the ring or after the fight, and I'm assuming even those rare champions who "retire" don't exactly live the high life for the rest of their brief battle-scarred existence. And animals suffer brutality and pain in both.

However, I have a hard time believing dog fighting is more vicious than cockfighting, especially considering the big fucking knives they strap to the feet of fighting cocks! This is a picture of an actual cockspur from a cockfighting website:


Granted, they don't do that in some countries that practice cockfighting. But somehow I doubt that anybody ever strapped swords to Fido's forearm and sent him off into the ring. Just imagine what that knife could do to your cock.

And even when they don't use spurs, cockfighting is far from the barnyard pecking so many people seem to envision. Observe cockfight highlights here. (Eyes off the ring girls, B. Focus.) I'm pretty sure that last clip is a winner biting the head of a dead opponent.

Whenever I present this argument, I get the same response. "Oh, Pepe, stop being such a contrarian. We all know dogs are smarter than roosters. Their pain hurts more."

Uh, really? Dogs are smarter than roosters? That's funny, because I owned dogs my entire life, and they sure as hell didn't seem too sharp to me. We had a one-eyed Lhasa Apso (lost it to a coyote -- long story) for years, and I used to love to walk up to it on its blind side, call its name, and then circle so I stayed on its blind side until it gave up in confusion. And you know what? It never turned the other direction. The Great Danes we used to breed never figured out that if you run across the kitchen tile, you're going to skid face-first into the pantry door. Dogs are fucking stupid, people. They just are.

What gets me is the underlying assumption behind the "dogs have more value as creatures" argument. It's the same reason dipshit hippies freak out when you tell them you've gone deer hunting but nobody cares if you kill coyotes. It's the same reason people scream when they see rats but try to pet rabbits, which are just rats with fur.

The only reason people think dogfighting is worse than cockfighting is because dogs are cute. Dogs are fuzzy, and dogs sleep at your feet, and dogs come when you call them. Roosters are loud and mean and good for pretty much nothing but eating. And besides, none of us have ever owned a rooster, but everybody remembers Fluffy who got hit by a Lincoln. (I'd actually be interested to know how many of you have ever seen a live rooster. Colin said he has. Anybody else?)

And yeah, maybe dogs have bigger brains than roosters, but let's face it, folks: they're still just animals. They eat dog food and run after tennis balls and lick their own nuts. Just because you project all these human qualities onto your dog so you feel as if you're important to somebody -- hey, good for you, it's better than having a child for the same reason, like so many other people -- doesn't mean your prize Shitzu is analyzing the relative meaningfulness of its own life. Not even if you name it Sartre.

So dogs' pain doesn't hurt worse than roosters' pain. Neither is capable of understanding the pain within a larger context. They have instinctual and habitual urges to fight, to win, to keep living. They obviously understand danger. But they're not human, and so I don't think it's really profitable to try to measure the amount of pain they feel. Whether it's a cock getting gouged with a three-inch razor blade or a pit bull's leg clamped in another's jaws, it hurts. A lot.

(An aside: I just remembered this, but I swear this actually happened. A few weeks ago when Diesel and I were having the God argument, he was making some half-assed point about dolphins as a metaphor for humanity. "Dolphins don't have language," I said. "Dolphins don't have the ability to reason." And guess what he said?

"How do you know?"

I promise he said that.)

So, since all other things are pretty much equal -- the amount of pain, the ferocity of the fights, the miserable lives of the combatants -- I'm going to go ahead and say that the sport in which they cut off the wattles of the fighters and strap big knives to their feet is slightly crueler.

And yes, I do realize that this is among the most pointless arguments possible.

11 comments:

Diesel said...

I have never had a problem admitting that I only feel bad for cute animals. I will not eat veal, rabbit, duck or lamb for this reason.

I don't see what the problem is, here. Fuck chickens, man.

Diesel said...

Also: The trend of bringing up things I say during drunk conversations when you're in Phoenix will, hopefully, be a short-lived one.

St said...

Maybe you should stop getting shitty and saying silly things. Lush.

b said...

Yes, D. Suave, my comment was 100% good-natured, even if it didn't come across that way. We have met, and I am more often than not on your side of the argument (God, "that C-word Mother Theresa" spring to mind) than not. I enjoy anybody that can take the stuffing out of Diesel every once in a while, so I apologize.

St: Dog fighting is pretty fucking vicious, man! I don't think the problem is necessarily them tearing each other's throats out - they'd do that in wild anyway - but in the breeding of prize dog fighters itself. It's pretty sadistic to breed an animal to be so violent that you treat it so poorly, it has no other desire than to taste blood. You really can't raise chickens to be like that (or can you?), so the addition of razors was probably down to someone adding an extra degree of difficulty and excitement to the equation. Starving, beating and providing harsh conditions to a dog is a little bit more hard-core.

Diesel said...

Actually, I think I'll just keep drinking, but be sure to have a tape recorder on me when you're around. Non-eat-meating pussy.

Anonymous said...

In that case B., my apologies. If I were still in Tucson, I'd offer to buy you a drink while we sit around and laugh at J. By the way, everyone should check out that link to the cockfighting. Also, be sure not to miss the guns and girls segment as my brother's band, Trapt, is playing in the background. "Head strong, I'll take you on......"

C said...

They must have taken the video down from Youtube, but I've seen a video and heard accounts of dogfighters sharpening the animal's incisors. This is actually worse than the spur blades and is some pretty fucked-up shit.

I have had two roosters (that sentence wouldn't sound right with the synonym). As the after-effect of an agricultural science project in elementary school, my family and I became the proud owners of a Bantam rooster and three red laying hens. We built the chicken coop in the back yard next to the beat-up (and inoperable) Chevy El Camino, and let the fun ensue. That crazy animal would step up to anyone and anything; one of our favorite activities was to see how long we could outrun the fucker before he caught us and tore up our legs. His fearlessness was his undoing, as one of our dogs (an Amstaff bitch, actually) killed him during an apparent coop raid while we were away at school.
Ol' Banty's replacement was a white rooster that we had for all of about 10 minutes. We had to give him away after it became clear that the hens would not accept his dominance. The hens nearly killed him, and we got a first-hand understanding of the word 'henpecked'. Ironically, I am fairly certain that he would soon become a 'peleador'.

I can't argue with the assertion that some dogs are stupid. My parent's current dog (a pit-lab mix) once ate a good mouthful of sheetrock before washing it down with a few laps of anti-freeze. But chickens are about a thousand times denser; I didn't eat eggs for a while after watching our hens repeatedly shit and drink from their own water trough. Even the most obtuse of dogs have the ability to learn, something that no amount of conditioning will do for a chicken.

But you are right, J, about the cuteness factor. It is hard to subject an animal to a potentially harmful situation when you are (irrationally) emotionally attached to it. It doesn't make any sense, but, meh.

Also, I gather that lobster fighting is popular amongst the Massholes in New England. Now, that is the perfect form of fighting, as it is quite evident that lobsters do not perceive any sort of pain at all!

What ever happened to Robot Wars?

c said...

Cool link to the cockfighting, by the way. Maybe I'm wrong, but I find the whole situation with the roosters rather whimsical.
The setup that they have is clearly more hardcore than the fights I saw in the abandoned warehouse in Norte Mexico. No blades, baskets were used in lieu of the Lexan separator, and the belly feathers were left in tact, for protection. Ah, the good ole' days.

b said...

"Cool link to the cockfighting, by the way. Maybe I'm wrong, but I find the whole situation with the roosters rather whimsical."

Couldn't agree more. That was almost funny, not particularly disgusting.

Next time Ry and KJ are outta town, I'm gonna set up a pit in the backyard and tie razors onto Kanye and Smokey's paws and let them battle to the finish. Early favorite: Smokey 3-1.

St said...

B: I know what you mean about the training of dogs. You really don't even have to be cruel to them (although obviously dogfight trainers are) -- we once bought a purebred Great Dane to breed with our bitch. He was trained as an attack dog and was absolutely the most vicious animal I have ever seen. We had to keep him in a caged-in kennel 24/7 because otherwise he'd attack the first thing he saw other than his owner: children, animals, the swingset in the backyard.

sidquill said...

You are a dumb fucker roosters are not fought with only those big ass 3 inch knifes you are showing,
most of the time they are fought with something that looks more like a 8 penny nail and the winners usually live and the losers do not always die and the ones that live you can not usually tell they have ever been fought.
Roosters are not fought until they are 2 years old and they are getting to old after 4 years old. Most will not be fought but once or twice a year. After 3 or 4 fights they are retired with a pen full of hens better food than most dogs get and a life of bliss for the next 8 to 12 years. A game cock will fight with out being trained to it's in there blood from the beginning. You can put a gamecock in a cage and turn another one lose to run free and he will kill his self trying to get to the caged cock how many dogs will do this.
Most dogs even pitbulls will not fight unless they are from a fighting dog ancestry or trained to fight.
My roosters are treated better and fead better than most dogs are and they are going to live at least 2 years where as most chickens die 8 to 24 WEEKS after birth.
If people would Face life the way it was given to us and keep your nose out of what other people do and everybody would be a lot better off.
The biggest problem in the USA today is to much Government.

Sidquill
True Cocker