Campaigns/Elections

Ooooh—There's a New Mexico

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Bill Richardson's dream of a state without legal cockfighting has just become a reality:

Eighteen years after legislation was introduced to ban cockfighting in the state of New Mexico, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson signed a measure this week that outlaws cockfighting in the state. Now Louisiana is the only state in the United States that allows the blood sport that pits one rooster against the other….

"I'm so upset that it's damn near ruining my life," said New Mexico Game Fowl Association President Ronald Barron. "I've got 38 years doing this. I don't know if I should hatch off some baby chicks right now. This isn't a business. It's my pleasure. It's my right, or rather it was my right."

This comes on the heels of Richardson's smoking ban, his proposal for a drug offender registry, and his all-around effort to dissuade libertarians impressed with his economic policies from backing his presidential campaign.

Bonus links: A cockfighting site. An anti-cockfighting site. A film of a cockfight. The script for the cockfighting episode of Seinfeld. A comparison of Cockfighter the novel and Cockfighter the film. A starter kit.

Update: By special request, Clifford Geertz's brilliant "Deep Play: Notes on a Balinese Cockfight." An excerpt:

Now, a few special occasions aside, cockfights are illegal in Bali under the Republic (as, for not altogether unrelated reasons, they were under the Dutch), largely as a result of the pretensions to puritanism radical nationalism tends to bring with it. The elite, which is not itself so very puritan, worries about the poor, ignorant peasant gambling all his money away, about what foreigners will think, about the waste of time better devoted to building up the country. It sees cockfighting as "primitive," "backward," "unprogressive," and generally unbecoming an ambitious nation. And, as with those other embarrassments—opium smoking, begging, or uncovered breasts—it seeks, rather unsystematically, to put a stop to it.

Of course, like drinking during Prohibition or, today, smoking marihuana, cockfights, being a part of "The Balinese Way of Life," nonetheless go on happening, and with extraordinary frequency. And, like Prohibition or marihuana, from time to time the police (who, in 1958 at least, were almost all not Balinese but Javanese) feel called upon to make a raid, confiscate the cocks and spurs, fine a few people, and even now and then expose some of them in the tropical sun for a day as object lessons which never, somehow, get learned, even though occasionally, quite occasionally, the object dies.

And:

Getting caught, or almost caught, in a vice raid is perhaps not a very generalizable recipe for achieving that mysterious necessity of anthropological field work, rapport, but for me it worked very well.

NEXT: I'm Just Clambering Up A Fence/ You Can Say I Got No Sense

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  1. Oh please! Does the libertarian definition of freedom include the right to torture animals? No wonder you guys keep losing elections (and deserve to).

  2. You know, George Washington went to cockfights.

  3. He also owned slaves.

  4. Bill Pope,

    He also liked to hunt foxes.

  5. Yeah, I see nothing “libertarian” about allowing cockfighting/animal cruelty. If the hard-line approach of “animals are property” is taken, I guess then there would be no such thing as animal cruelty. But I don’t buy this assumption.

  6. Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State, and Utopia” includes a pretty awesome discussion of the animal’s place in a libertarian conception of values. I’m pretty sure he would be very against cockfighting. I’m also pretty sure he wouldn’t ban it.

    Sort of like 99 percent of the people here. I assume, Mr. Pope, that you are a vegetarian?

  7. Not that I give a damn about chickens, but I can see a valid argument over animal welfare.

    FWIW, I just saw Cockfighter with Warren Oates a couple days ago. It was actually much better than the pure exploitation flick I was expecting.

  8. Yes Andy, in fact I go one better- I’m vegan.

  9. It’s my right, or rather it was my right

    Since when is torturing animals a right?

  10. Sometimes I hear screeching outside my house, and find my cat locked in (im)mortal combat with another cat. And there’s not even an audience. How can this be? I didn’t put him up to it.

    But I see the point: If it weren’t for us evil humans, wild animals would live in Animal Utopia. Despite what you see on, you know, the Discovery Channel.

  11. If it weren’t for us evil humans, wild animals would live in Animal Utopia. Despite what you see on, you know, the Discovery Channel

    What the fuck does that have to do with pitting animals against each other for human pleasure?

  12. Egon, the difference between people and animals is that we have the capability to exercise ethical choice.

  13. i don’t see how forcing animals to fight for entertainment is any worse than enslaving them to feed your family. Also outside of the cockfights the animals live much better lives than all the animals who supply you with the meat that you eat everyday.

    If animals have the right not to fight for my entertainment then do they also have the right not to be eaten for my sustinence? why is my hamburger more moral than a good blood fight?

  14. > If it weren’t for us evil humans, wild animals would live in Animal Utopia…

    Straw man

  15. Jesse, I’m mad at you for making me read the word “cock” so many times in a row.

  16. Since animals are property is when torturing animals is a right. I don’t disagree that torturing animals for sport is wrong and don’t have a problems with laws that ban it, however, I also don’t think you can get there from any robust theory of philosophy. Also, veganism is unnatural, like incest.

  17. Egon,

    People get in trouble for sicking their dogs on other dogs all the time. AND YET, dogs fight in nature.

    I’ll tell you, it’s almost as if the element of human responsibility for the actions adds and element of human responsibility for the actions into the equation.

  18. Shecky: The book is even better.

    Bill: I don’t know what “you guys” is supposed to refer to, but I speak for no candidate and am affiliated with no party.

    All: There is a valid animal cruelty argument against cockfighting. There’s a valid animal cruelty argument against a bunch of methods commonly used in chicken-farming, too. It’s interesting to consider which practices damaging to animals are banned and which ones are subsidized.

  19. Also, veganism is unnatural, like incest.

    wow. I guess I’ll nix that salad for lunch now.

  20. Bill Pope,

    Have you met Loundry?

  21. Bill,

    You’re a stronger man than I am. I admire that – but I do beg of you not to hold this against libertarianism in general, the failing is not in the belief that moral beings should be free to do what they want, the failing comes in not counting animals as a moral being. And I think there’s a lot more room for making that argument in libertarianism than in most schools of thought. When one believes in nothing more strongly than in the right to be left alone, they are already halfway where you want them to be. And voluntary adoption of those beliefs will always be more effective than legislation. (As I believe we’ve seen with the REAL scourge of the Southwest, dog fighting, which has become even more grotesque underground.)

  22. …the difference between people and animals is that we have the capability to exercise ethical choice

    We have many more tasty animal recipes, too.

  23. “Oh please! Does the libertarian definition of freedom include the right to torture animals? No wonder you guys keep losing elections (and deserve to).”

    call me when the vegan party gets anywhere. 🙂

    seriously, where do you guys come from? i know we’re all afficionadoes of dickfighting (a close internet cousin of cockfightings) but still…

  24. Mr. Goldberger,

    “i don’t see how forcing animals to fight for entertainment is any worse than enslaving them to feed your family.” Word choice aside, pastured animals roaming in their areas and being treated humanely right up to the moment of their slaughter aren’t forced to endure pain and horror throughout their lives.

    “Also outside of the cockfights the animals live much better lives than all the animals who supply you with the meat that you eat everyday.” Not me – I eat cage free, free range, naturally raised animal products only. But for the majority of livestock in this country, you are correct, they live worse than fighting cocks on a daily basis.

    “If animals have the right not to fight for my entertainment then do they also have the right not to be eaten for my sustinence?” A being’s rights come from its nature. Animals do not understand mortality, so they have no right to life, the way we do. They do, however, understand suffering, fear, and misery, so they have a right to humane treatment.

  25. My argument for why humans get to eat animals:

    1. We’re number one predator.
    2. They’re tasty.

  26. No wonder you guys keep losing elections (and deserve to).

    Yeah, and for a magazine called Reason, blah, blah, blah ….

    Anyway, this does strike me as animal torture, and I’m glad it’s punishable. Sure animals will fight, but that doesn’t justify arming them and harassing them until they go at it. Hey, maybe I’m not as libertarian as you all, but I don’t consider animals just property. And I would be all for cruelty type regulation of farming and slaughter.

  27. Where’s the commenter named “Single Issue Voter”? I figured he’d be drawn to this like Lonewacko to a Minuteman picnic.

  28. Watching animals fight for pleasure is one of those things that indicates that, for the lack of a better term, there is just something wrong with you.

  29. joe,

    So, if I induce fear in an animal that’s a problem?

    I’ve some years of my life on a farm. Chickens at least ain’t very happy right before you lop their head off. They are often quite stressed about the situation.

    You basically can’t raise and kill animals without some sort of fear in the end involved.

  30. A good libertarian argument for laws against cockfighting, or at least enforcing them:

    People will do it anyway. Even if it is harmful, there are better things to spend public resources on. The damage done by the prohibition will be greater than the damage done by leaving it legal.

  31. I eat cage free, free range, naturally raised animal products only.

    I’ll bet you don’t own a tv either.

  32. I’ve seen similar responses in rabbits.

  33. highnumber,

    Given the number of online choices one has these days why would one own a television? Or rather, why would one have cable?

  34. hey joe, thanks for seriously answering my questions in an intelligent manner.

    you’re right Animals need to be treated humanely, but there’s just such a gray area since there are no clearly defined animal rights.

    I just think if I bothered to visit KFC chicken farms and the like I’d much more disturbed by what I saw than if I ever bothered to visit a Cockfighter traning pen.

  35. Grotius, Battlestar Galactica.

  36. Grotius,

    Baseball.
    ‘Nuff said.

  37. I don’t think there should be a law against cock fighting. I believe we should simply assasinate organizers of cock fights. Leave the state out of it.

  38. Grotius,

    “So, if I induce fear in an animal that’s a problem?”

    It would depend on how, and how much. No kidding chickens don’t like to be picked up and have their heads lopped off. The last five seconds of the birds’ life are the worst, and the 30 seconds before that are no fun, either.

    OTOH, if a cage-raised hen in a factory farm were taken out, carried to a chopping block and beheaded, those would be the best 30 seconds of its life.

  39. FinFangFoom,

    Download it via iTunes.

    _______________________

    Anyway I am not a fan of cockfighting. If I ever went to a cockfight I’d likely find it repugnant.

    Now some day I’m am going on a boar hunting trip in Languedoc.

  40. If cockfighting is cruel and exploitative, shouldn’t the dissemination of cockfighting videos be banned as well? Wouldn’t the demand for cockfighting videos encourage illicit cockfights? What about live cockfight feed from Louisiana or Mexico? Aren’t the cockfight watchers via the intertubes just as guilty as the cockfight promoters?

    Clearly, this is an ordinance that offers the state a glittering promise of future legislation.

  41. joe,

    It would depend on how, and how much.

    Well, that is much more defendable position IMHO.

    Anyway, there isn’t anything better (chicken wise) than frying up some fresh killed chicken.

  42. But the picture in iTunes is tiny.

    I think they should slaughter chickens like they do people in The Island/Soylent Green/that Twilight Episode/that one Monty Python Sketch about the guy who wants to be Freemason.

  43. that Twilight Episode = that Twilight Zone Episode.

    I don’t believe in your “preview.”

  44. James,

    I believe in some states that it is illegal to attend a cockfight, so that sort of language might also include watching it via a video feed.

  45. FinFangFoom,

    Buy a bigger computer screen. 😉

  46. “Cockfighting has always been my idea of a great sport- two armed entr?es battling to see who’ll be dinner.”

    -P.J. O’Rourke

    Here’s my take on cockfighting:

    I don’t give a shit.

  47. As to the whole “free range chicken” thing, well, most folks can’t afford to eat free range chickens, and I don’t know if producers of such chickens could ever keep up with the demand we have for chicken.

  48. > A good libertarian argument…People will do it anyway…

    Valid point.

  49. joe,

    You interest me curiously here. Since you’re basically taking Singer’s position up to a point, why do you contend animals have a right (based, as Singer would argue, on their interest in avoiding suffering) not to be mistreated but do not have a right to life? That they don’t appreciate their own mortality seems like a pretty weak basis to deny them the ir continued experience of the present. Please explain.

  50. When I was a kid, I used to make black ants and red ants fight in a can. Throw a grasshopper or moth into the melee for more interesting conflict. Some neighbors used to dabble in cockfighting, and I thought it was fun to watch. I can see how many Americans would find dogfighting objectionable. And bullfighting, too, though I’ve found it quite entertaining.

    It’s possible there’s a line to be drawn regarding what should and should not be permissible. Of course, the line is completely arbitrary and subject to local tastes. I’d wager lots of cockfighting fans would be repulsed at some of the meat preparation in, say, Korea, an otherwise fully civilized Western thinking country. Point is, taking an absolutist libertarian approach on this issue is probably a losing approach.

  51. shecky,

    Good insight.

  52. So, if I induce fear in an animal that’s a problem?

    If you do it deliberately, if you do it strictly for the sake of invoking fear, and you find the act gratifying then yes, it’s a problem. Staging a fight to the death between two animals for the purposes of entertainment is not made right just because the loser becomes dinner.

  53. Yes Andy, in fact I go one better- I’m vegan.

    It suddenly smells of smug self-satisfaction in here.

  54. Grotius,

    “As to the whole “free range chicken” thing, well, most folks can’t afford to eat free range chickens, and I don’t know if producers of such chickens could ever keep up with the demand we have for chicken.” It’s all about scale. As the practices become more common, they chickens become less of a speciality item, and the cost comes down.

    D.A. Ridgely,

    “That they don’t appreciate their own mortality seems like a pretty weak basis to deny them the ir continued experience of the present.” I disagree. They have no right to property or due process, either – again, because those things are meaningless to them. Even “their continued experience” – they have no conception of continuation. Animals – except perhaps higher-order primates and maybe cetaceans – live in an eternal now, so whether or not they are going to have another now tomorrow and another next months is meaningless to them.

    I’m a liberal. I think rights are only real if they have real meaning in your life. They can’t just exist on paper. Projecting rights like the right to life or the right to vote onto animals would be meaningless, but projecting the right to, for a chicken, stretch your wings and walk around once in a while has a great deal of meaning.

  55. Is cruelty to animals already illegal in New Mexico?
    That would be a reason to oppose the law.
    (It’s good to come from the position that laws are wrong, until they can be shown to necessary, donchatink?)

  56. If you do it deliberately, if you do it strictly for the sake of invoking fear, and you find the act gratifying then yes, it’s a problem.

    Wasn’t there a Far Side cartoon of chickens watching a horror movie where the monster on the screen was Col. Sanders?

  57. We could have dickhead fighting:

    In this corner, Andy and his wish that Rob gets sent to Gitmo

    and in this corner, Dave W and his fetish with Phil

  58. I’m not sure what work “I’m a liberal” does in your argument, joe, but it doesn’t change the fact that at any present point X that animal has an interest in its existence not being terminated as it will thereafter not experience that eternal present. Now, you can argue, I suppose, that it happens so quickly it isn’t much of a loss, but it has to be some sort of loss of a qualitative experience in which, absent suffering or pain, the chicken has an interest in preserving.

  59. Perhaps a short review of libertarianism is in order. The essential questions are: Does the activity harm an infant (human unable to contract) or you, without your consent? If no, then you don’t get to ban it.

    Does the activity harm another person who hasn’t agreed to the activity, or an infant? If yes, then you don’t get to do it.

    Everything else, no matter how loathesome, gets to stay. I don’t care for cockfighting. I really don’t like related “sports” like dogfighting and the like. I couldn’t associate with someone who I knew enjoyed dogfighting. But that doesn’t give me the right to ban dogfighting, so long as it doesn’t violate the first two questions above. It’s a tough philosophy to follow through; I’m not consistent in it by any means, and it’s probably why there are as few of us as there are.

    Many libertarians are like the ‘nanny-staters’ they loathe in wishing to ban things they don’t like. It’s just that the libs’ list is shorter.

    Completely unrelated gloomy news. The Wharton, Texas grand jury just no-billed the officer who shot the unarmed 17-year old Daniel Castillo in bed during a drug raid. Radley blogged heavily about this a few weeks ago. Can’t say I’m surprised.

  60. It’s all about scale. As the practices become more common, they chickens become less of a speciality item, and the cost comes down.

    Joe, that’s not really true. It takes much more land and resources to raise free range chicken, and free range farmers don’t really get large scaling benefits, as they can’t take an industrial approach towards the housing or feeding of free range chicken. Those crowded, smelly chicken houses, on the other hand, are pretty efficient, because stationary chickens in closed quarters are very easy to deal with, and you don’t really need that much land to operate a chicken house.

    The price of free range meat will never be even remotely close to the price of standard chicken. And who cares? Chickens are extremely stupid. Extending the concept of “suffering” to poultry is far fetched. We have absolutely no reason to suspect that they process suffering and pain in a fashion analogous to humans. Yes, chickens avoid bodily harm, plants grow towards sunlight, and worms writhe when pierced by hooks. So what? At a certain level of animal sophistication, it’s fair to assume that these reactions reveal some higher level of cognition and “suffering.” Chickens aren’t at that level.

  61. D.A,

    An interest is not a right.

    The work “I’m a liberal” does in my statement is in the next sentence – the belief that rights must be real, not just formal, to be meaningful. It’s the same reason I don’t believe (and libertarians do) that a Hunagrian immigrant in a company town 100 miles from any other settlement, who doesn’t speak English or have access to the company’s train, and who owes more than earns to the company store, and who has a family to feed, has a meaningful right to leave his employment.

  62. And I see Shecky already mentioned dogfighting, whoops. I’m not denying any arguments that dogfighting or cockfighting or hunting or animal husbandry may be immoral or unethical. They may be, and Ridgely and joe are doing their usual well-thought out examination of those arguments. (that isn’t sarcasm by the way; I enjoy reading the vast majority of their posts)

    All I’m saying is that the above putatively immoral activities shouldn’t be banned by the state. Your moral outrage does not equal the right to have people with guns tell me I can’t do that activity, and ultimately jail me or shoot me if I persist.

  63. I don’t think opposing a ban on cock-fighting is any more “purely libertarian” than supporting one. I’m aware of no reason animals should not be treated as a special class of property, subject to a different set of rules than nonliving property. If one decides, based on reasonable evidence, that animals have moral significance and that pain and suffering relate to that moral significance, then there is at least a potential interest in minimizing the pain and suffering.

    That doesn’t mean the general public has an obligation to regulate animal activity independent of humans (e.g. cats fighting on their own) (though I’d be repulsed by any animal owner who didn’t try to keep their own animal out of such situations). It does, however, mean that the public has an obligation to prevent excessive cruelty to animals.

    “Excessive” is obviously vague, but I think it provides a sufficient basis for discussion of laws protecting animals. I also think there should be a sort of sliding scale based on our understanding of different animals. An earthworm would, in my view, merit different protections than a dog or a dolphin.

  64. Joe,

    Do you really think such a person has no RIGHT to leave his employment? If so, that’s incredibly harsh. Probably you mean ABILITY to leave his employment, without assistance from others. I’d agree with that — I’m just not sure the government is the best set of “others” to assist in that situation.

  65. Those crowded, smelly chicken houses, on the other hand, are pretty efficient, because stationary chickens in closed quarters are very easy to deal with, and you don’t really need that much land to operate a chicken house.

    Or, for that matter, a Chicken Ranch.

    Joe:

    An interest is not a right.

    My point exactly, if you give up the false equivalence then you have no basis for asserting rights of any sort in chickens. Further, though off topic, “meaningful right” is just linguistic obfuscation. Say the immigrant’s right is worthless to him, perhaps, but don’t go all Humpty Dumpty (was he a liberal, too?) and just define words however they need to be defined to support your view.

  66. Chris S.,

    It is also easier from the standpoint of maintenance of the animal.

  67. I think Gray Ghost has it pretty much right, and I say this as someone who does not condone cockfighting in the least, and who has had birds for pets at one time in his life, and raised poultry for human consumption at another. The cockfighting issue seems to me to be one of those situations where someone who is truly committed to letting his neighbor alone may have to resist the impulse to yell “there oughta be a law!, just as someone who thinks “drugs are bad” may still resist the impulse to demand or support a War on Drugs.

    I suspect that, if they could snap their fingers and make it so, some people would scrap real shooting wars between nations, and replace them with cockfights. If that were possible, how many who are now opposed to cockfighting would remain opposed?

  68. Oh, and by the way (even more off topic except in response to joe’s position and the conceptually confused view of any number of other reasonably smart philosophers), one need not have a present awareness of either a present interest or a future interest for those interests to be real. I may not be aware of my own existence while in non-REM sleep, but I sure as hell have both a present and a future interest in my continued existence despite that fact.

  69. Chris S.,

    Some of the cost is from more efficient practices, but much of it really is about scale. And that’s not even counting the costs that the factory farms get externalize onto us via things like pollution and anitbiotic resistance.

    “We have absolutely no reason to suspect that they process suffering and pain in a fashion analogous to humans.” Yes, there is; their neurological systems are much more similar to ours than the other examples you mention. There are lot of portions of our brains that are not present in Aves, but the pain centers most certainly are.

  70. Shelby,

    I think his right to leave his employment is meaningless, though it formally exists.

    DA,

    Your 12:39 post is meaningless namecalling, and I’m not going to respond to it.

    As for your later past, when you are in REM sleep, you at least have the capacity for awareness of the continuation of your life, even if you are not so aware at that moment. You will someday be. A chicken, on the other hand, will never, ever be aware of the concepts or mortality or continuation.

  71. Does this mean that Louisianna is the last place in the country where we can finally have a showdown between the two USCs? Clearly the next Sugarbowl should be the Cocks vs the Trojans.

  72. lunchstealer:

    But what about Oregon State? There ought to be beavers in the game.

  73. JAM,

    I suspect that, if they could snap their fingers and make it so, some people would scrap real shooting wars between nations, and replace them with cockfights.

    I’m all for that, but only if we can equip the chickens with a complete (albeit smaller) suite of modern warfighting equipment. I say this primarily because the thought of chickens in little scale tanks is giving me a fit of the giggles. And night-vision devices? Oh, the comedy. Of course, I’m not sure how you train a chicken in tank gunnery, but that’s a minor problem. DARPA can work that out for us.

  74. I think that South Carolina would be more enthusiastic to start out with, but given its defense, the Trojans would last longer.

  75. It’s the same reason I don’t believe (and libertarians do) that a Hunagrian immigrant in a company town 100 miles from any other settlement, who doesn’t speak English or have access to the company’s train, and who owes more than earns to the company store, and who has a family to feed, has a meaningful right to leave his employment.

    Ah… the ol’ “Starving Hungarian Immigrant in a Town run by the company in the middle of nowhere voluntarily contracting with the company store by buying on credit” argument.

    Or SHIT argument, for short.

  76. I’m tired of old men starting wars for spring chickens to die in.

  77. Curse you, chucklehead, and your preternatural talent for acronymns!

    LoL.

  78. Or SHIT argument, for short.

    Heh. I see what you did there.

  79. If you find cockfighting inhumane, then you should find eating poultry inhumane. Animals raised for food are tortured far far worse that birds used for cockfighting. In a modern industrial society there is no need to eat meat, all your food needs can be met by non-animal based products. Raising chickens for food is simply a matter of torturing animals for pleasure, no different than cockfighting. If you buy “free-range” chicken, you are torturing them slightly less, but given that chicken is a completly unnessicary thing (unlike say, insulin), and the fact that you are concerned with animal welfare, eating them for pleasure makes you even worse!

    Of course none of the people “shocked” by cockfighting will give up eating chicken, because they like eating chicken. It is easy for them to want to ban cockfighting, as they will probably never watch a cockfighting match in their life. It would be like if they banned the sport of curling… who here would be really effected?

  80. So if a tree falls over in a forest and the stump is on one side of a river, and the top landing on the other side of the river squashes a fighting bird, and a starving Hungarian immigrant uses this new bridge to escape a company town…

    …can we get 200 posts out of it?

  81. “slightly less?”

    You cannot be serious and/or informed about the subject.

  82. Joe:

    A being’s rights come from its nature. Animals do not understand mortality, so they have no right to life, the way we do. They do, however, understand suffering, fear, and misery, so they have a right to humane treatment.

    Even “their continued experience” – [animals] have no conception of continuation….

    I think rights are only real if they have real meaning in your life.

    So there we have “conception” and “understanding” used in what can at best be termed metaphorical senses (chickens don’t understand anything, nor do they have conceptions of anything), as well as “meaning” as a somehow essential definition of rights, and I’m the one accused of being meaningless?

    Yeah, right.

    Oh, and as for the name calling accusation, okay, I hereby apologize to Humpty Dumpty.

  83. Animals raised for food are tortured

    No, they’re not. Being forced to live in shitty conditions is not what the word torture means. Cockfighting isn’t torture either. Now the Chinese practice of deliberately inflicting pain on livestock because they think it makes them taste better…now that’s torture.

  84. No, it’s neither a metaphor. Chickens have limited understanding, but it’s not absent. They aren’t engaging in purely reflexive activity like a worm when they are injured. They feel the pain, they understand it as unpleasant. Their brains are adequate to that task. They can even learn, a little.

  85. “thoreau | March 15, 2007, 1:05pm | #
    So if a tree falls over in a forest and the stump is on one side of a river, and the top landing on the other side of the river squashes a fighting bird, and a starving Hungarian immigrant uses this new bridge to escape a company town…

    …can we get 200 posts out of it?”

    depends – do fetuses with liberal arts degrees have less of a measure of human-ness than their engineering counterparts? What if they have MBAs? And if A=A, but if you have your cake and choose to make sweet love to it, how does that leave nature? Commanded or obeyed?

  86. Warty,

    What if the conditions are shitty enough to cause physical pain, illness, injury, and deformities?

    Are you saying the conditions in which someone is housed can NEVER amount to torture?

  87. What if the Hungarian had a pistol?

    We’d be up to 800.

  88. Would we be better off if the billions of eggs Americans eat every year were raised to be fighting cocks rather than omelettes? Though obviously the majority of them would only be good enough to be fryers.

  89. “joe | March 15, 2007, 1:14pm | #
    What if the Hungarian had a pistol?

    We’d be up to 800.”

    swathed in corn syrup?

    [/looks for cheetos]

  90. What this conversation reinforces is that these distinctions are based on subjective evaluations. Kind of like religion. 😉

  91. Grotius writes: “I’ve some years of my life on a farm. Chickens at least ain’t very happy right before you lop their head off. They are often quite stressed about the situation.”

    But you ‘lop’ the head off quickly, you don’t scratch through the neck with a rusty nail, so as to maximize your pleasure. Or do you?

  92. VM,

    Y’all have got to come up with a different joke. That one has been driven into the ground below the mantle is now floating in the fluid portion of the Earth’s core.

  93. Well, if the Hungarian had a pistol, he take out the president of the company and assume the presidency himself.

    Nick

  94. I like my jokes slathered up in liquid hot magma.

    [evil laughter. fades away]

  95. “Cockfighting isn’t torture either.”

    You might feel differently if you were forced into gladitorial combat with your weapons limited to those incapable of causing instant death.

  96. Jon H,

    Sometimes the bird protests violently, you lose your grip on them and you have to chase them around a bit. By that point the bird is pretty freaked out I am sure. Once you get them back in your grip you try to kill them as fast as possible.

  97. I’m curious, how many have you ever killed (in person) an animal?

  98. Given the way the meat processing industry works, I don’t see how a liberterian can on the one hand agree with banning cockfighting and on the other think people should have the right to consume meat. (At least in the way it’s done in the industrial age)

    Would anybody like to correct me?

  99. 1. What if you waterboard a chicken? Is that torture?

    2. Almost 100 comments, and no love for the film of the cockfight? That hurts.

  100. Jon H,

    The welfare of the chicken isn’t the main concern though. Mostly you try not to get injured and try to avoid the hassle chasing a bird around.

  101. Jesse Walker,

    Wasn’t there a pretty famous film in the 1960s or 1970s that featured a cockfight?

  102. I’ve choked a chicken.

  103. “Would we be better off if the billions of eggs Americans eat every year were raised to be fighting cocks rather than omelettes? Though obviously the majority of them would only be good enough to be fryers.”

    I’m awed, FingFanFoom. Well done, Sir.

  104. “What this conversation reinforces is that these distinctions are based on subjective evaluations.”

    That’s, like, just your opinion, man.

    But, yeah, I ran into that problem, too. I can no more prove to D.A.R. that animals have rights than he can prove to me that humans have rights. I’m just defining those rights.

  105. You really should have included among your links Clifford Geertz’s essay _Deep Play: Notes on a Balinese Cockfight_, which is among the most famous and influential pieces ethnography ever written.

    http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3671/is_200510/ai_n15745138

  106. They feel the pain, they understand it as unpleasant.

    No, they feel the pain and it feels painful. To understand it as anything as abstract as “unpleasant” would be to be able to conceive of it abstractly, which they most certainly are not capable of doing. The fact that a chicken can be trained to perform tricks or “learn” to respond to stimuli in a Skinner box isn’t anywhere close to sufficient evidence of its ability to ideate at all. Sure, the nervous system is closer in some respects to a human’s than a worm’s, but at that stage of development it might just as well be a worm (albeit, a worm capable of feeling — feeling, not understanding — pain.

    Note to anyone missing the Humpty Dumpty reference: to wit, a bit of Alice in Wonderland —

    I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,'” Alice said.
    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t – till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!'”
    But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock down argument,'” Alice objected.
    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all”

  107. EAH,

    Geertz gets a lot of play at H&R.

  108. DA,

    This is getting pretty semantic, but to put it your terminology, I draw the line at “pain,” not “ideation of pain.” I’m not sure if “unpleasant” requires “ideation” as you’re using the terms, but I’m sure that’s relevant.

    Also, worms are not capable of feeling pain, just reacting to stimuli.

  109. Jesse Walker,

    Said movie was The Cincinnati Kid (1965).

  110. Joe,

    There are lot of portions of our brains that are not present in Aves, but the pain centers most certainly are.

    “Pain” is likely not a similar sensation among all animals, regardless of neurological hardware (by the way, worms also have what could be described as “pain centers”). For one, you can’t really separate pain, memory, and rational thought. For more intelligent animals, pain is mostly a function of memory, and the manner in which we feel pain depends on our ability to retain memories and process information. When you or I feel pain, that sensation is designed to burn that negative experience into our memories and also to allow us to gauge the relative hazards of various phenomena. For an animal like a worm, pain is likely just another stimulus leading to more-or-less a reflexive reaction, not unlike a knee jerk reflex . I don’t honestly know where a chicken falls on this spectrum, but they most certainly aren’t endowed with our rational capacity or memory, hence my suspicion that they don’t feel pain in a manner analogous to humans.

  111. EAH: Your wish is my command.

    Grotius: I’ve seen that movie, but I don’t remember the cockfight. Don’t remember much about it at all, actually.

  112. Joe:

    This is getting pretty semantic [now that’s funny!], but to put it your terminology, I draw the line at “pain”

    Obviously, the solution to our dispute here is a genetically engineered breed of chickens, all suffering (pun intended) from CIPA.

  113. Given the way the meat processing industry works, I don’t see how a liberterian can on the one hand agree with banning cockfighting and on the other think people should have the right to consume meat. (At least in the way it’s done in the industrial age)

    Would anybody like to correct me?

    What exactly are we supposed to correct? You are begging the question?and missing the point. The purpose of raising an animal for food is not to bring about extra suffering and be entertained and gratified by the act of killing the animal; it is to expect the animal is treated humanely, its suffering is minimized, and then to enjoy consuming its carcass.

  114. 1. What if you waterboard a chicken? Is that torture?

    I dunno. Would it be torture to dry-board a duck?

  115. No, no, D.A., “wicked semantic” would be funny.

    I’ve had just about enough of your anti-semiotism.

  116. Chris S,

    Chickens can learn to avoid circumstances which caused them pain in the past. They can associate certain stimulii with…well, with something they want to avoid.

  117. I’m still curious about this; how many have you ever killed (in person) an animal?

  118. do mice and rats count?

  119. Does a fish count?

    Speaking of anti-semiotism, you know what sucks, that movie, Signs.

  120. I ran over a cat one time.

  121. Does a fish count?

    Possibly, but it seems incapable of any higher math.

  122. I’ve held cats while the vet put them to sleep.

    Never killed my own meat, though. Unless catching fish counts.

  123. Joe,

    The last chicken I spoke with told me that he likes pain. So there!

  124. Yeah a fish counts, especially if you gutted the fish yourself.

  125. Mr. Rat, I have a writ here says you’re to stop eating Chin Lee’s cornmeal forthwith. Now it’s a rat writ, writ for a rat, and this is lawful service of the same. See, doesn’t pay any attention to me.

  126. I’ve never gutted, etc. a deer before, but I’ve watched my father do it enough.

  127. What exactly are we supposed to correct? You are begging the question?and missing the point. The purpose of raising an animal for food is not to bring about extra suffering

    So the purpose is the imporant part? Does it not matter that the actual effect of raising animals for slaughter is suffering, and on a scale far more massive than cockfighting?

    and be entertained and gratified by the act of killing the animal; it is to expect the animal is treated humanely, its suffering is minimized, and then to enjoy consuming its carcass.

    But it is not treated humanely in either the case of cockfighting or raising of meat (at least not from the videos of chicken processing plants I’ve seen), that is the point. I know of no effort being made by any meat producer to make it’s procedures more umane if such changes would tend to make thier production less efficient. Do you?

    So again, I ask how can one be against one and not the other?

    I’ll give an stab at an answer to this myself. The real purpose of animal cruelty laws is not to proetct animals, but rather to protect society from those people who would derive pleasure from the inhumane treatment of animals.

  128. Who else would gut a fish? Only a few seconds work with a sharp knife.

  129. Chris S,

    Maybe you should appoint him your ambassador to El Salvador.

  130. The last chicken I spoke with told me that he likes pain.

    If you see him again, give him my number.

  131. FinFangFoom,

    Some people take them back to the dock and have it done there.

  132. It seems that opportunity was too good to pass up, for both of you. For the record, the last sheep I talked to… never mind.

  133. Chris S:

    That sheep is a damned liar!

  134. Do they do something fancy there? I just scale them cut off the head and tail and remove the entrails.

  135. FinFangFoom,

    *shrug*

    Can’t say.

  136. Never killed my own meat, though. Unless catching fish counts.

    No, fish aren’t animals. They’re, um, slimey fruits.

    We’re only really interested in protecting animals we empathize with, apparently.

    Daniel Dennett has actually written about this subject quite a bit, and I refer you to _Kinds of Minds_ for a more in depth discussion of animal suffering that anyone is likely to find here, where the general line of thought seems to be “chickens suffer because I think they suffer and fish don’t for the same reason.”

    As for me, I grew up with roosters, I know roosters, and I hate roosters as only someone who was continuously assaulted by them as a toddler can. If two roosters want to fight each other to the death, I hope they both lose.

  137. Grotius | March 15, 2007, 1:22pm | #
    I’m curious, how many have you ever killed (in person) an animal?
    ==============================================

    Watched as my sick cat was put down (with my extremely reluctant consent — I might as well have flipped the switch). Participated in slaughter of turkeys on a poultry ranch (and also killed some of those birds by accident during routine farm operations). Helplessly witnessed a racoon be clubbed to death in defense of those same turkeys. (Perhaps the birth of a dark sense of irony?)

    Just so everyone realizes, turkeys kept in pens and houses establish a literal pecking order, which inevitably results in some birds being pecked to death by their own kind. Watching those at the bottom of the pecking order grow more and more injured, and weaker every day, has all of the downside of watching a cockfight, and none of the blood-lust upside. Responsible, humane growers try to separate out these “culls” before their peers do them in, but not every bird can be saved. And ironically enough, the “culls,” segregated from the other birds in smaller pens, soon establish their OWN pecking order and continue abusing one or more of their penmates. Sort of the way many of the self-described libertarians go at each other in forums like this, if you want to get a sense of it.

  138. So the purpose is the important part?

    It is one of the important parts. Whether I murder a man for pleasure or take his life in self-defense there is still a dead man. But my consequences are different based on my intent.

    Does it not matter that the actual effect of raising animals for slaughter is suffering, and on a scale far more massive than cockfighting?

    It does to me. But I don’t know enough about how all chicken processing plants work to have an educated opinion on the magnitude of the suffering, nor do I see suffering as a discrete variable, i.e. the chicken is either suffering or isn’t, there is a continuum. My opposition is not to the fact that a chicken suffers and dies, it is the fact that people are gratified by the animal’s suffering. We evolved with an omnivorous need for food, which requires us to kill animals. That perpetuates the species. I don’t see a benefit to killing an animal as a form of entertainment. I don’t make a libertarian argument for humane treatment of animals, I make a humanitarian argument.

    The real purpose of animal cruelty laws is not to protect animals, but rather to protect society from those people who would derive pleasure from the inhumane treatment of animals.

    I don’t know if that is the purpose, but it is hopefully one of the benefits.

  139. I don’t see a benefit to killing an animal as a form of entertainment.

    Community solidarity? The working out of ritual violence?

  140. Ah, the Circle of Empathy problem.

    A non-trivial problem once the circle of empathy reaches animals, as is evident by the number of passionate replies to this particular HNR entry.

  141. “We’re only really interested in protecting animals we empathize with, apparently.”

    What a convenient thing to say, to ignore everything anyone has written about their motivations, and pretend there hasn’t been any more thought put into the matter than that.

  142. “Ah, the Circle of Empathy problem.”

    I thought that Meet the Parents sucked.

  143. Being a Libertarian doesn’t mean endorsing cruelty to animals. Individual rights to use drugs is a Libertarian value because it is the individual’s right to introduce whatever he wants to into his body, or to alter his consciousness as he sees fit. Consenual sex for money (prostitution)is also a Libertarian concept, as is the right to die and a woman’s right to control her own body. On the other hand, the “right” to inflict suffering on an animal so someone can get their kicks is NOT a Libertarian value. Regrettably, we kill animals for food in a most inhumane manner. Hopefully that will change. Torturing animals for the sheer pleasure of it is reprensible. It SHOULD be a crime. It’s a crime against society as well as to animals. Why would a Libertarian defend such willfully inhumane activity?

  144. I don’t see a benefit to _________ as a form of entertainment.

    Entertainment is its own reward, producing pleasure (as it does) in the entertained. You could fill in the blank there with just about anything people do for entertainment. Try:

    “watching cricket”
    “playing video games”
    “building model railroads”

    The real question isn’t “does this form of entertainment have value other than being entertaining” (most don’t); the real question is “does this form of entertainment have bad effects such thatpeople who indulge in it should be thrown in jail”.

  145. Torturing animals for the sheer pleasure of it is reprensible. It SHOULD be a crime. It’s a crime against society as well as to animals. Why would a Libertarian defend such willfully inhumane activity?

    Because what you or I consider reprehensible (and our lists will almost certainly include different items) isn’t in itself sufficient to make something a crime.

  146. “I don’t see a benefit to _________ as a form of entertainment.”

    These people don’t care about chickens. They want your prurient entertainment to end. You are an evil person if you like cockfights, etc. Like blue laws, the idea is to stop what is perceived as immoral behavior, not save chickens.

  147. Per Soda’s link:

    Jaron Lanier thinks that liberals seek to expand the circle of empathy, while conservatives seek to contract it? What does he say about people who are neither liberal nor conservative? And does he think that, say, Nancy Pelosi is more “liberal” than John Stuart Mill? Sounds like self-justification to me.

  148. “Ah, the Circle of Empathy problem.”

    I thought that Meet the Parents sucked.

    Heh! Wrong circle, mediageek.

    Now I have an image in my head of Robert De Niro lecturing a chicken about his circle of trust.

    Although I must say I liked Meet The Parents. Meet The Fockers though, that sucked hard.

  149. Grotius: I have.

    Will there be a club (nopunintented)?

  150. Ah, crap. IntenDed.

  151. Thank you for this thread. Before today I had been a fan of Richardson for his stand on legalizing drug use and other libertarian ideas. Now I realize I had confused him with the former gov, Gary Johnson.

    So now I no longer care about Richardson. That leaves Ron Paul as the only candidate I can stand.

  152. Jaron Lanier thinks that liberals seek to expand the circle of empathy, while conservatives seek to contract it? What does he say about people who are neither liberal nor conservative? And does he think that, say, Nancy Pelosi is more “liberal” than John Stuart Mill? Sounds like self-justification to me.

    I don’t know what circle of empathy “radius” Lanier would assign to libertarians, Shelby.

    It seems to vary wildly between individuals.

    Regardless of his “roughly speaking” comment at the end of his definition, I find the “circle of empathy” concept a useful tool for these types of discussions.

    If animals (or a subset of them) are in your circle of empathy then it would be difficult to agree with any type of cruelty inflicted on said animals.

    Forgetting the liberal vs. conservative for moment, I see the circle of empathy size spectrum running from Buddhist Monks that can’t kill insects (large radius) to sociopaths (small radius) on the other. Most people lie somewhere in the middle.

  153. Lamar,

    “These people don’t care about chickens. They want your prurient entertainment to end. You are an evil person if you like cockfights, etc. Like blue laws, the idea is to stop what is perceived as immoral behavior, not save chickens.”

    Who are “these people?” Does that category include myself?

  154. Circle of empathy?

    The circle of empathy might be useful for explaining why celebrities in California think its okay to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption. It is useless as a way to actually answer the question of whether or not it is okay to treat an animal in certain ways for certain purposes.

  155. Entertainment is its own reward…You could fill in the blank there with just about anything people do for entertainment. Try:

    watching cricket
    playing video games
    building model railroads

    None of those things involves a sentient being suffering against its will.

  156. So, dogs, horses, etc. who race, are they suffering?

  157. Racing is not in and of itself harmful to the animal.

    Unlike fighting with metal spurs, living in a 1 square foot cage with two other chickens, or being strapped into place for months on end and being force-fed through a tube.

    Now, the WAY racing dogs are treated is pretty appalling, but the racing itself doesn’t seem to do them any harm.

    Yes, you can bring up the horses who break their legs, and that’s a complication.

  158. I’m against animal cruelty and don’t have the patience to read the thread, but to throw a sop to the sadists here, “Won’t somebody please think of the eggs?”

  159. Horses hurt themselves often enough while racing (which isn’t surprising really).

    Basically, if you’re going to use animals for food, sport, etc. it ain’t going to be all joy for the animal.

  160. So, dogs, horses, etc. who race, are they suffering?

    Nope. And I dont see horses breaking their legs being a complication in this discussion. That would fall under the unintended accidents category. If on the other hand race organizers put obstacles that would intentionally break horses legs or otherwise mame the animal, then it would clearly fall under cruelty.

  161. “slightly less?”

    You cannot be serious and/or informed about the subject.

    Joe, you realize that chickens, if living in a natural state, are territorial birds and they fight. If chickens are truly free-range chickens (most so-called “free range” chickens are just living in crowded indoor communal patch of dirt instead of a tiny caged area, so yes they are being tortured only slightly less), and revert to their natural instinctive state, will fight!!! That is why they have cockfighting in the first place, instead of hamster fighting or sheep fighting or pig fighting!!

    There are zero published statistics on the subject, so it is just a hunch – But I would say that more chickens are killed fighting other chickens in those increasingly popular “Humane” Organic Free Range Chicken Farms in North America, than in the fringe activity of cockfighting.

  162. People who think that torturing animals is “fun” are human filth. I wouldn’t even know how to begin to talk to one of these mouth-breathing neanderthals. On second thought, I probably wouldn’t. I’d probably just punch them in the mouth, and laugh. After all, it’s entertainment, right?

  163. People who think that torturing animals is “fun” are human filth. I wouldn’t even know how to begin to talk to one of these mouth-breathing neanderthals. On second thought, I probably wouldn’t. I’d probably just punch them in the mouth, and laugh. After all, it’s entertainment, right?

    You don’t eat chicken right? Because if you eat poultry, you are torturing these animals for your personal pleasure! If you eat chicken, you are just as sadistic and selfish, and just as deserving of a punch in the mouth!

    Or, perhaps you feel it is only evil if you actually watch the cruelty to the animals? As long as the animal torture happenens where you can’t see it, and the chicken is brought to you in a plastic package or a bucket, it is all OK!

  164. Rex, you’re right the free-range is more then often not all it’s implied to be.

    However, if you are implying that the chicken’s natural state is too fight you are wrong. In the wild similar bird may fight over territory or mating partners, but this is more of an exception then the rule.

    Also fighting would be mainly male bird teritory and on a ‘free-range’ I think there would only be a handful of roosters and even that only on a ‘free-range egg’ farm. I think there would be hardly any roosters at all on a ‘free-range meat farm.

    Also you’re welcome to read the whole discussion, joe made good points on why eating chicken is compltely different then torturing them. But you seem to be just repeating your self without anything new to add. If you find cockfighting inhumane, then you should find eating poultry inhumane. Animals raised for food are tortured far far worse that birds used for cockfighting. In a modern industrial society there is no need to eat meat, all your food nee…..

  165. Animals fight in nature because they have a purpose for fighting: To preserve their genetic strength, personal strength, to attain the affections of females and to weed their line of competitors. Once humans take control of their destiny, the fighting becomes useless besides anything else than a spectator sport.

    The animals can still be eaten, to attain their usefulness as food in a quick manner they will undergo torture to become the end product: A bucket of delicious KFC.

    That’s why stupid entertainment can be wrong and

  166. our food production is right.

    What if there were cock-fighting with rubber or nerf spurs and beak adornments? I wouldn’t oppose that fighting.

  167. There’s nothing wrong with cockfighting so long as the participants are properly compensated. With good healthcare benefits, of course.

  168. ” the difference between people and animals is that we have the capability to exercise ethical choice.”
    -posted at 11:32 am by bill pope

    Ethics are a matter of societal and religious influences.

    If a human is a sociopath, without this capability, should we excuse them from responsibility for the crimes they commit?

  169. I just recalled a fighting cock anecdote.
    When I was 13 my friend’s dad was watching a fighting cock for an uncle or some friend/relative. We lived in a booorrrring middle to lower middle class suburb, not a rural area or highly ethnic part of a city. Keeping a fighting cock in a cage in the backyard was unheard of. Anyway, one day it got out. About 4 or 5 of us kids helped the dad chase it around the yard. Hilarity ensued.

    What’s that you say? Anecdotes are supposed to be interesting? Oh, never mind then.

  170. If animals (or a subset of them) are in your circle of empathy then it would be difficult to agree with any type of cruelty inflicted on said animals.

    IOW, never name your food.

    Egon, the difference between people and animals is that we have the capability to exercise ethical choice.

    Which is the real problem with anti-cockfighting legislation, and all legislation that seeks to regulate morality or ethics.

    Authoritarian governments seek to keep individuals from exercising ethical choice by prohibiting those choices the government believes are “incorrect.” As they do so the individuals are shielded from the challenge of making their own choices, and therefore from the practice they need to distinguish ethical behavior. They end up doing things the government way because the government says so.

    Once you raise a generation of people (no longer individuals) who cannot make ethical decisions, and necessarily put some of them in control of government, you no longer have a government that reacts in an ethical manner.

    Then you have a society that is no longer capable of teaching its young to be ethical, and therefore human.

    And once the people no longer “have the capability to exercise ethical choice” they become animals.

    And that society falls apart.

  171. Larry A
    Or maybe its because the devil-worshipers took prayer out of the schools.

    Nah.
    I like your idea much better. Very well said.

  172. Which is the real problem with anti-cockfighting legislation, and all legislation that seeks to regulate morality or ethics.

    You are confusing animal cruelty legislation with morality/ethics legislation. They are completly different. No one is saying make cock fighting illegal because its ammoral or because its abhorent to me. We are suggesting that animals do not fall cleanly into the PRIVATE PROPERTY category, but we are not suggesting that they deserve HUMAN RIGHTS.

    Consider a child; a child falls between property and an independent human beign with full rights. Legaly you can do to a child things that you could never do to another adult(physically discipline them or confine them). There is obiviosly more to law and legislation than this perceived duality of RIGHTS and PRIVATE PROPERTY. So why do so many people feel that the only way to treat animals in libertarian law is as inaminmate propety.

  173. When I was young, I plucked many a pigeon and many a grouse, but only one rooster (cock, if you prefer). I was tasked with the slaughter the animal, too. So I caught it and killed it with an ax. It ran around, headless. I was creeped out. Which brings me to:

    People who think that torturing animals is “fun” are human filth. I wouldn’t even know how to begin to talk to one of these mouth-breathing neanderthals. On second thought, I probably wouldn’t. I’d probably just punch them in the mouth, and laugh. After all, it’s entertainment, right?

    I know many people who have laughed at a rooster running around with its head cut off. Are they human filth, too? I’ve talked with them. Each one would support my right to life, today. Many would support my right to liberty, something most city dwellers, who are usually the loudest to pontificate on “human filth,” are loathe to do. They want to control me. Prevent me from killing and eating things.

    For what it’s worth, I find boxing to be a vile sport, as well as football. Both glorify violence. I judge both more vile than cockfighting, though both amount to staged conflicts arising from contracts.

    Daily I talk to people who love these sports. Sports that, as I see it, glorify cruelty, violence, conflict in staged battles with real blood and real pain.

    I am certain I would not like to watch a cockfight. I might even avoid being friends with those who stage cockfights. But I’m still loathe to prohibit their activity.

    Most people can “compartmentalize” their cruelty. And the ultimate compartmentalization is that of distinguishing small-brained beasts from big-brained humans. Next would be to distinguish between voluntary conflict and involuntary conflict. Cockfighting is not something I’d support, but beyond that?

    Fred will probably call me “human filth.” I’ll have to live with that.

    By the way, I did not like the movie “Cockfighter,” but I loved the book. Charles Willeford was a fine writer. He understood the darker side of the human mind. And he saw how there could even be integrity in a man who sent roosters out to fight other roosters. It’s the integrity of his main character that is, in fact, the theme of the novel.

    Fred couldn’t talk to such a man, even if he wanted to, in this case, because the man expressed his integrity in part by not talking through the period covered by the story.

    Willeford knew such men. They exist. And I bet, when they aren’t committed to silence, they are worth talking to – at least occasionally – whether Fred calls them filth or not.

    I find it amusing to witness people dehumanize other human beings with invective like “Neanderthals” for the sake of animals.

    For the record: Had Neanderthals survived the onslaught of Homo sapiens, I’d support their rights. Even if they liked cockfighting.

    This being said, Val’s comments, above, about a separate category for living non-human property is quite perceptive.

  174. thoreau,

    “Where’s the commenter named “Single Issue Voter”?”

    Some people work for a living
    I’m reading the comments right now.
    About time H&R addressed the issue. Look at the # of comments it is ginning up.That has got to add up to some extra page views. Cockfighting is a libertarian issue as it is an example of citizens using the State to supress and prohibit an activity, practiced by a minority,
    that does not meet the force, fraud coercion test.Cockfighting is a longstanding part of American culture like say, gun ownership, hunting, fishing, horse racing,circuses etc- that some people wish to ban. More later.

  175. Also if one is talking about the level of intelligence and reacting of an animal as the reason why they shouldn’t have rights–well, I could say similar comments about a newborn infant.

    And if Libertarians want to run on a platform of Animals Are Property And It”s Perfectly Okay To Torture Them If We Feel Like It, you’re going to see a large drop in people who profess sympathy with libertarian views. Most people would feel quite different about someone who broke into their house and smashed up a TV vs. someone who broke into their house and tortured Fido to death. It’s called empathy. You should try it some time.

  176. grumpy realist,

    You make an argument that I’ve used for years. Why should a baby or a retarded person be more highly regarded than a bright dog/dolphin/pig? The ironic part is that so many libertarians like to pooh-pooh religion, and Christianity in particular, but themselves believe in one of the most vile, most arbitrarily reasoned parts of Christianity: The anthropocentric view that we are superior to all other animals because we have opposable thumbs and enlarged frontal cortices.

    I honestly would not be bothered if fishing, hunting and factory farming were all banned. Call me a fascist, but given that we don’t need animal products to survive there is no justification for harming other animals just for our digestive pleasure.

    On an unrelated note, Gratius=Gary Gunnels=Hakluyt=Jean Bart 🙂

  177. For what it’s worth, I find boxing to be a vile sport, as well as football. Both glorify violence. I judge both more vile than cockfighting, though both amount to staged conflicts arising from contracts.

    That was R.P. McMurphy’s position too. But the fact that the sports you mention include only willing human participants obviates the argument.

  178. “Also if one is talking about the level of intelligence and reacting of an animal as the reason why they shouldn’t have rights–well, I could say similar comments about a newborn infant.”

    Humans are animals- but most animals are not people.

    What? No foies gras references?
    Does anyone think foies gras production/consumption is OK but cockfighting should be banned?

    Game fowl are a specefic breed of chicken,created for that purpose. Their behavior is “natural” they are just more game than other breeds.The original wild birds would fight to the death.Game fowl are not “trained to fight” (as dogs are).The gaffs are used to speed up the competition- they will fight to the death without them. The fight stops when one bird won’t fight- not death.

    Cruelty is in the eye of the beholder. The same people behind cockfighting bans are against eating meat or any animal products (including HONEY!), wearing(or sitting on) leather and fur, testing drugs on animals, hunting, trapping, fishing, dog breeding, horse racing, bee keeping, circuses, zoos,or any other human use of animals.

    There is no libertarian case for banning cockfighting and they(you) should oppose prohibition.

    I have no problem with other cultures use of animals either.

  179. Bill Richardson ran as an agnostic on cockfighting. He changed positions and signed the ban to enhance his non-existent chance of being elected President.

  180. Cruelty is in the eye of the beholder. The same people behind cockfighting bans are against eating meat or any animal products (including HONEY!), wearing(or sitting on) leather and fur, testing drugs on animals, hunting, trapping, fishing, dog breeding, horse racing, bee keeping, circuses, zoos,or any other human use of animals.

    There is no libertarian case for banning cockfighting and they(you) should oppose prohibition.

    I would be one of ‘those’ people behind a ban on cock fighting. Or atleast support it. I am not a vegetarian, I wear a leather motorcycle jacket, I’ve gone fishing etc. You know, just because you state some things as fact doesnt make them so.

    Cruelty is in the eyes of the beholder? You’re a friggin dimwit. What does that even mean. Hey look Im gonna use a common frase, and substitue a meanigless word in, and be very clever. Hmmm lets see, you can lead a fighting cock to water, but…… Is it working yet?

    Some in this thread see a very clear libertarian case for animal cruelty legislation. Judging by the responses its probably the majority. But of course if a clever person like you says there isnt a case, then of course we liberatarians are wrong.

  181. BTW:

    To all those who say that in this day and age we have absolutely no need for animal products. Leather is prety much the best alternative available out there for protective motorcycle gear. It holds up best in a pavement slide and most forgiving on the skin. The modern synthetic alternatives can actually melt into your skin during a slide.

  182. “Some in this thread see a very clear libertarian case for animal cruelty legislation”

    Read the posts dumb ass. Those same people would ban your motorcycle jacket and they clearly state
    that fact.

    What is this “majority” crap?
    That is my point on why cockfighting is a libertarian issue. the majority shouldn’t have the power to pass laws against activities they don’t like that do not affect them if they do not involve force, fraud or coercion.

    A well orchestrated campaign on the dangers of motorcycles combined with a villification of motorcycle enthusiasts could produce a majority for banning motorcycles.

    Get the picture?

  183. Jesse,

    Thanks for the cockfighting post-and a few decent links.Better late than never.Perhaps you folks at Reason aren’t the pussies(excepting Weigel of course) I called you in a previous comment in another thread.

  184. You stated: There is no libertarian case for banning cockfighting and they(you) should oppose prohibition

    And I said I consider my self a libertarian and so do the majority on this board, and the majority of libertarians in this thread DO see a libertarian case for animal cruelty legislation. Clear enough for you?

  185. the majority shouldn’t have the power to pass laws against activities they don’t like that do not affect them if they do not involve force, fraud or coercion.

    Ah yes the black and white method of interspection. Since we are throwing straw around already. There is this a association out there called MEMBLA. Their activities dont impact you and if the ‘B’ in that acronym is willing, does the liberatarian in you also yearn to make their activities legal? First you let the majority supress MEMBLA next thing they take my motorcyle jacket.

    And of course cock fighting doesnt involve force and coercion. Those cocks are there of their own accord, and they have the mental institutions to make that decission. Next thing you know people will be decrying the Retard Rumble.

  186. val,

    I am opposed to animal cruelty.Drug abuse studies forcing monkeys to shoot cocaine for example.

    I do not define cockfighting as animal cruelty.

    A lot of the “libertarian” animal rightists you
    mention in this thread consider any human use of animals to be cruel and support banning it.

    Leaving the definition of animal cruelty to a “majority” leads to all sorts of messy nonsense. California banned trapping with a ballot initiative.This affected the hobby and /or livelihood of a minority of Californians.
    Now California pays state wildlife officers to trap and kill those very same animals.They aren’t spared the “cruelty” of trapping.

    Should motorcycles be banned if a majority supports it?

  187. val,

    They are chickens val.Chicken breeds that wouldn’t exist if not for cockfighting. Old chicken breeds that precede our broilers,fryers and layers. Game fowl are pampered and live extremely long lives compared to their food producing relations(some of which are descended from gamefowl breeds).
    They fight as part of their nature as did the wild bird from which they are descended. As stated above, moral consistency would require you oppose the use of chickens for food.
    Animal rightists really do oppose the enslavement of bees for honey production- that is not hyperbole.

  188. You probably have noticed the story in the news where a 17-year old young woman was sent the severed head of her dog in a box.

    I take it that the purely Libertarian view is that this is only a piece of property damage? Are any of you willing to talk to a newspaper reporter and state that?

    Try selling that opinion to the court. And to public opinion. You will either come off as a cruel, callous bastard, or a psychopathic killer in the making.

    Is that the image the Libertarian party wants to have?

  189. gr,

    Not much of a strawman there. That would be theft, destruction of property intentional infliction of severe emotional distress and a very strong implied threat of violence.Any judge and jury would rightfully throw the book at the perpetrator as they should. not the same crime if someone did it to her baby though.

    Nobody is fighting YOUR damn pet chicken now are they?

  190. I only capitalize libertarian when it is at the beginning of a sentence- and I try to avoid putting it there so as to not confuse people that I am referring to the blue dyed anti-war nutjobs who want to sell Yellowstone to Disney.

  191. They fight as part of their nature as did the wild bird from which they are descended. As stated above, moral consistency would require you oppose the use of chickens for food.
    Animal rightists really do oppose the enslavement of bees for honey production- that is not hyperbole.

    Im not arguing that there arent crazy people out there. Alot of PETA acitivity comes to mind.

    However I dont consider eating poultry, to be morally incosistent with being opposed to cock fighting. As I consider the latter to be a form of animal cruelty. Nor did I imply that the majority should be the one dictating the definition of animal cruelty.

    I was simply taking issue with you concretly stating that there was no libertarian case here, with which I and other libertarian disagree. My suggestion was that even in a libertarian utopia animals should be treated different then other property under law.

    BTW: Yes Im aware of the history of the domesticated chicken. I looked it up with the begining of this thread. So yes I aware that game fowl were domesticated first for fighting and religious rituals. And only much later were they bred to be used for food.

    I think the historical or natural aspect of such things should not be weighed so much. Human’s natural historical state is very primal as well, but we dont see people being pitted against each other in mortal combat against their will.

    Read Andy comment a few above, your view is grounded in anthropocentric principals, that is that simply belonging to the species Homo Sapiens entitles humans to more rights then other ‘lower’ species. That not necessarily the wrong view since we are the only species capable of higher mental function. But what about children and mentaly retarted, their mental institutions are not necessarily more developed then a bright dog/dolphin, why do they deserve special consideration?

  192. Yes, but why “infliction of severe emotional distress”? I mean, a dog is “just property”, isn’t it?

    That’s why Libertarians come off as cruel, callous bastards who have no empathy for anyone.

  193. val,
    Andy is not a libertarian
    many of the commenters here are not
    joe is the most prolific
    your motorcycle jacket is grounded in anthropocentric whatevers
    the ideology-the very philosophical idea of animal rights states that a cockfight is a hamburger is a motorcycle jacket is a cure for disease found by animal testing

    hate cockfighting, hold it morally reprehensible just don’t ban it
    (kinda my view on abortion)

    Children and the retarded are HUMANS like you and me- there is a profound difference
    The “majority” agrees with me on that Thank God

    grumpy realist,

    It was HER dog!!!
    Are you empathizing with her DOG?

    What kind of morality is that?

    The crime was against her – she is the one you should be empathizing with!

    and what the hell does that have to do with somebody else’s chickens?

    Are you both that fucking stupid or just morally bankrupt?

  194. Charles Willeford’s “Cockfighter” is a great book.

    Are there any good dog fighting novels?
    Besides Harry Crews” “A Feast of Snakes” of course……

    If Louisiana falls are Puerto Rico and Guam next?

  195. SIV:
    Are you bipolar or something? Your initial comments are a bunch on nonsense and slogans. “Cruelty is in the eyes of the beholder?” etc, you call people pussies and then appologize cause they agree with you so they are on your side.

    Then you actually make a coherent argument regarding your OPINION on the matter

    And alas you return to the the yelling and the slogans.

    And yes very many people would call me moraly bankrupt and some stupid. I do emphasize with the dog as well. You feel that the dog was not wronged then?

  196. SIV,
    I’m a foie gras eater. I understand that some things that appear cruel to people are not, but I grew up hearing how cruel cockfighting was. Razors on the birds to cut each other, a fight to the death, and so on. Would you describe what a typical cockfighting meet is like?
    How are the matches played out, etc.?
    Do you know other websites that are informative?
    Have veterinarians ruled it cruel or not?

    Thanks for your response.

  197. “You feel that the dog was not wronged then?”

    Yes the dog was “wronged” it was trivial compared
    to the wrong done to the dog owner

    I called you morally bankrupt for equating human children and humans of diminished mental capacity with non-human animals.

  198. C’mon comment # 200

    I called Reason writers “pussies” because they were ignoring the libertarian issues raised by banning cockfighting when it was timely news with Richardson signing the New Mexico ban.

  199. Sorry Highnumber I have to be up at 5am CDT
    so I can’t answer your question right now.
    I would suggest this “internets” thing in front of you, or better yet read Willeford’s Cockfighter.

    The gaffs used in the SE USA are usually puncture/stab as opposed to the slasshing razor type.

  200. Watching animals fight for pleasure is one of those things that indicates that, for the lack of a better term, there is just something wrong with you.

    Unless those two animals are Carmen Electra and Jenny McCarthy.

  201. PS: FWIW, I’d put my cock up against either one of them.

  202. Watching animals fight for pleasure is one of those things that indicates that, for the lack of a better term, there is just something wrong with you.

    I sort of feel that way about boxing.

  203. You probably have noticed the story in the news where a 17-year old young woman was sent the severed head of her dog in a box.

    How much did the dog bark?

  204. To all those who say that in this day and age we have absolutely no need for animal products. Leather is prety much the best alternative available out there for protective motorcycle gear. It holds up best in a pavement slide and most forgiving on the skin. The modern synthetic alternatives can actually melt into your skin during a slide.

    That is just rationalization val. It is not true. You know that you wear that leather jacket because you get sick sadistic pleasure from knowing an animal was tortured and killed to make it. You also wear it to let others know you are part of the animal cruelty crowd. That leather jacket exists for only one reason, to satisfy your bloodlust and cruelty!

    We should charge the people who wear leather with animal cruelty, the same way we would charge those involved in cockfighting! You should be in jail!

    However I dont consider eating poultry, to be morally incosistent with being opposed to cock fighting.

    Of course not… you enjoy eating chicken, you don’t enjoy cockfighting. Therefore, you will think of some convoluted reason about why consuming chicken is morally different than cockfighting. But both are only possible through animal torture and animal suffering. Poulty farming is more painful and torture to the chickens than cockfighting.

    You want to ban stuff that other people are into, but you don’t want your stuff banned… even though they are morally equivelent! That is not a Libertarian position – that is the position of the pro drug war Republican demagog who is addicted to prescription pain killers.

  205. Awww!

  206. Well, given the commentary on this thread, there’s no wonder the Libertarian party never gets anyone elected.

    Look–people aren’t going to want to vote for someone who looks upon someone’s pet as having no more moral status than a CD player.

    Libertarians: The Party That Allows You To Torture Your Dog.

  207. given the commentary on this thread, there’s no wonder the Libertarian party never gets anyone elected.

    How do you know which commenters here are members of the Libertarian Party? Do you have a master list?

  208. Rex, I brought up the leather motorcycle gear as an argument for those 1 or 2 people in this thread who are of the opinion that in the modern world there is absolutely no need for animal products.

    As to the rest of your rationalization, you continue to repeat your self and now you are equating me to an addicted drug war demagogue. Good stuff.

    I get it, there is no room in your idealized view of libertarian law for anything other then HUMAN RIGHTS and PRIVATE PROPERTY, since animals (game fowl) arent human then they are private property and should be treated as nothing more. Yes, yes, its a very simple and clear position to take and it doesnt require much reflection. And as an added bonus you can go around and tell people how superior your brand of libertarianism is.

    As far the rest of us, some of us think that SENTIENT PROPERTY could very well enjoy a different status under law than INANIMATE PROPERTY, with out violating any libertarian principals. At least I do.

    And continuously equating eating poultry to torturing it is simplistic bordering on intellectually lazy. Killing something for the purpose of consumption is different then making it purposely suffer first. With your rationalization there would be no aded moral burden if we pitted death row inmates in forced combat against each other since we were planning on killing them anyways.

    BTW, I dont control my food supply (ie I dont raise my own chickens), so if I were to find a better alternative to current industrial farm meat, that was as accessible (location,price +premium, etc..) I would switch over without a second thought.

  209. Has anyone reading or commenting here seen cockfighting in person?
    (Of course SIV has – anyone else, I mean.)

  210. I’m not a Libertarian. Though I’ve voted that way on numerous occasions.

    I can see libertarian arguments either way–it all depends on how one classifies animals. I think they should be treated humanely and are something more than personal property in that regard. Not sure where the line should be drawn though, especially since I like other people to kill animals for me to eat.

  211. Is bullfighting cruel?

    What about rodeo events?

  212. Don’t be silly, highnumber, bullfighting is an art. Or so I’m told.

  213. High#:

    F1:bullfighting::NASCAR:Rodeo

  214. “And continuously equating eating poultry to torturing it is simplistic bordering on intellectually lazy. Killing something for the purpose of consumption is different then making it purposely suffer first.”

    You have apparently never worked in a slaughterhouse.Chickens,cows sheep, pigs, buffalo all have their throat cut while alive so they bleed out with the heart pumping. The mammals in the shop where I worked were shot in the head with a .22 caliber rifle to stun them enough to hoist and stick them in the jugular. Or you can whack them in the head with a sledge hammer. There is more but it gets kind of gruesome.

    “BTW, I dont control my food supply (ie I dont raise my own chickens), so if I were to find a better alternative to current industrial farm meat, that was as accessible (location,price +premium, etc..) I would switch over without a second thought.”

    This statement suggests to me that you structure your beliefs according to convenience.

  215. I only eat cloned meat, which is morally okay.

  216. No I’ve never worked in a slaughter house. Something I said made you beleive that I did?
    Again you keep bringing up reprehensbile conditions for animals in the food industry because that would some how negate my arguments for animal cruelty regulation or what? What in your professional opinion is the most humane way to slaughter an animal?

    Also I notice you took out half of my paragraph when quoting me where I asked does the fact cruelty already happens negate any extra cruelty you can come up with.

    This statement suggests to me that you structure your beliefs according to convenience.

    Meaning what? You are suggesting that the only way I could be morally consistent was if I turned vegan or raise my own chikens and only ate the one that died of old age?

    Over and over: “You’re wrong because you eat chicken, you should see how they are raised?” Yes I got it, dont need to repeat your self, Im off to buy some eggs at the supermarket to leave ’em in the sun to hatch.

  217. I only eat cloned meat, which is morally okay.

    Ya know they day that vat grown meat becomes viable, I will be in line to buy.

  218. …Im off to buy some eggs at the supermarket to leave ’em in the sun to hatch.

    And you have a terrible understanding of biology. 😉

  219. And you have a terrible understanding of biology

    Bull, you’re just schilling for big meat. I’ve seen the light and I will set free all baby chicks from their tiny round prison cells, that is the only way I can have a clear conscience.

  220. F1:bullfighting::NASCAR:Rodeo

    I don’t want to be picky or pedantic, but shouldn’t that be

    F1:NASCAR::bullfighting:Rodeo

    Isn’t there some sort of rule about pedantry here? What is it again?

  221. highnumber:

    you’re right. good call! not picky at all. I would prefer to think of it as quality control for humor!

    the rule about pedantry is that the smartass who makes a stupid blunder like that (i.e., moi) has to lance the boil on prince Humperdink’s bum.

    now where’s that darning needle…

  222. You are confusing animal cruelty legislation with morality/ethics legislation. They are completely different. No one is saying make cock fighting illegal because its amoral or because its abhorrent to me.

    Read the thread. Many people are saying exactly that.

    We are suggesting that animals do not fall cleanly into the PRIVATE PROPERTY category, but we are not suggesting that they deserve HUMAN RIGHTS.

    Once you grant animals something like rights that must be protected by government then there’s no legal difference between cockfighting and fried chicken.

    There is an ethical difference. Humans are designed to eat meat, and therefore to harvest animals and consume them, just like any animal predator does. They are not designed to agitate animals to fight each other, however willingly, for entertainment. Note that there are people who disagree with this.

    But the only long term way to teach ethics is by experience, not legislation.

    Consider a child; a child falls between property and an independent human being with full rights.

    Not. A child is an independent human being with full rights. However, since the children are immature some of the rights are exercised in their behalf by adult guardians. (Usually parents.)

    Legally you can do to a child things that you could never do to another adult (physically discipline them or confine them).

    Tell that to the U.S. prison population. (Which should legitimately be composed only of people who violate other people’s rights.)

    There is obviously more to law and legislation than this perceived duality of RIGHTS and PRIVATE PROPERTY.

    There is no duality. Law exists to protect rights. One of the rights is to own private property. Owning property carries the ethical responsibility to use it wisely.

    So why do so many people feel that the only way to treat animals in libertarian law is as inanimate property?

    Actually, we treat animals as animate property. I own two dogs, and I’m tolerated by a cat. I would be far more distressed if someone harmed any of them than if they harmed my Jeep or my Glock. If I was sitting on a civil jury I would award higher damages to someone who lost a companion animal than someone who had a TV stolen.

    But the best way to convince most people that they have a moral/ethical obligation to treat animals (or the rest of the Earth) humanely is to let them experience the difference, not to take away their choices.

    I teach hunter education. Because of that I also run into people who are anti-hunting. I have noticed that hunters, by and large, have a much deeper understanding of nature and appreciation for animals in the real world than most anti-hunters. Many of the people I meet who “know” all about hunting and are against it have never been more than a hundred yards from a sidewalk.

    The first libertarian philosophy is that you cannot force people to act morally. You must educate them to make those choices on their own.

    The second is that there is more than one culture in the world, and sometimes those cultures legitimately disagree on matters of morality.

    Ultimately the only way you can protect your right to live the way you want to, is to protect my right to live the way you don’t want me to.

  223. Intelectually, I am in way over my head here.
    That being said, my point was that because of the way they are killed, there is no moral difference in my mind between slaughter for food and cock-fighting.
    They are chickens. where I do draw the line is I dont feel it is acceptable to beat your kids with them or subject chickens to second hand smoke while taking them to a fight.
    As far as death row inmates goes:
    Death matches could be a great source of revenue.
    The state of Florida could sell lottery tickets with the winner getting to execute John Couey and millions of hateful fucks like me would buy a chance.

    Dont toss me into the “troll” file. I come to this site to stretch my head a little and appreciate the level of civil discourse that occurs here. But I am not particularly concerned about the welfare of chickens and I accept the meat industry for what it provides this country.
    I feel no humane compassion for the inmates on death row.

  224. But the best way to convince most people that they have a moral/ethical obligation to treat animals (or the rest of the Earth) humanely is to let them experience the difference, not to take away their choices.

    I would agree with you wholehartedly in an ideal world. But you know thats not how the world works.

    Take slavery as an analogue. Before you get up in arms saying that slaves were human and this doesnt apply, you should remeber that alot of people (majorty?) considered slaves subhuman, not as clean, not as intelligent, not as compationate as their lighter skinned anglical compatriots. They were to them not much more than animals.

    From a libertarian point of view then, was the force necessary, or should we have sat and waited until the populace grew out of this opinion? After all at that point in time SLAVES were considered private property and owning them and treating them however you liked was legal.

  225. Rex Rhino,

    You are factually wrong about there being little difference in the well-being and experience of free range vs. caged poultry. It’s really not hard to find out accurate information about this. Nor does it require much more than common sense.

    One system is so unhealthy that the birds must be constantly fed antibiotics, or disease will sicken and kill most of the flock. The other doesn’t. Now think a bit – are situations of crowding so severe that they give rise to plagues running rampant through the populations only “slightly less” unpleasant than situations that do not? Or is there a pretty big difference, even outside of the disease issue?

    Oh, and btw, I’m aware that free range chickens aren’t actually allowed to roam wild throughout the countryside, without any effort made to keep them in designated areas. Thanks.

  226. Dont toss me into the “troll” file.

    I appoligize if I came off harsh, not really my intent.

    That being said, my point was that because of the way they are killed, there is no moral difference in my mind between slaughter for food and cock-fighting.They are chickens.

    Thats where we disagree. The way you kill something/someone defintely has bearing on the ‘moral’ burden. Thats why when families euthanize their elderly/sick pets they choose the ‘humane’ gas option rather then cutting their jagular. That is also why libertarians who in general would support the right-to-die, but would be up in arms if the ‘Kevorkian’ machine would dismember the patient before killing them. And justly so.

  227. Perhaps we need due process for the animals we kill for consumption and other uses. Try them en masse, convict them, condemn them, then have lunch. If the animal feels that its confinement and/or method of execution is cruel and unusual, it can file an appeal after calling its lawyer.

    There! Everything is settled!

  228. Joe,
    To answer your question, here’s one:

    “People who think that torturing animals is “fun” are human filth.” See above.

  229. I come to this site to stretch my head a little and appreciate the level of civil discourse that occurs here.

    brotherben wins the thread, the blog, the site, the White House, the world.

    And it’s not even April Fool’s Day yet.

  230. Hyena,
    as the philosopher Napolean Dynamite said,

    Yessssssss.

    My other personality hangs out a lot on the christian boards. This site is ,by comparison, Nirvana.
    or is it Shambala?

    Larry,
    One of the major christian philosophies is also that you cant force people to act morally. I wish my brethren would realize this.

  231. personality hangs out a lot on the christian boards

    And it isn’t even Good Friday yet.

  232. the christian boards. This site is ,by comparison, Nirvana

    Which? I need a taste of Hell.

  233. outlaw cockfighting
    only outlaws will cockfight
    don’t you understand?

  234. “hat is why they have cockfighting in the first place, instead of hamster fighting or sheep fighting or pig fighting!!”

    Disagree.

    How to turn your hamster into a fighting machine!

  235. Excuse me, shouldn’t that be:

    only outlaws will fight cock

  236. Take slavery as an analogue. Before you get up in arms saying that slaves were human and this doesn’t apply, you should remember that a lot of people (majority?) considered slaves subhuman, not as clean, not as intelligent, not as compassionate as their lighter skinned anglical compatriots. They were to them not much more than animals.
    From a libertarian point of view then, was the force necessary, or should we have sat and waited until the populace grew out of this opinion? After all at that point in time SLAVES were considered private property and owning them and treating them however you liked was legal.

    Okay, lets look at the real-world application of your example.

    Slavery was sort of abolished for some people in some states by the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.

    That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

    Did that proclamation result in blacks actually being treated as fully human? No. You still had “a lot of people (majority?) considered slaves subhuman, not as clean, not as intelligent, not as compassionate as their lighter skinned compatriots. They were to them not much more than animals.”

    That didn’t finally change until the educational process that was the civil rights movement of 1955-1965, a hundred years later. Equality was the culmination of a long history of incremental gains, including the black regiments of the Civil War, George Washington Carver, the Buffalo Soldiers, blacks serving during WW I, Jessie Owens, blacks serving during WW II, Rosa Parks, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Congress of Racial Equality, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, the Urban League, Sidney Poitier, Martin Luther King Jr, and a host of others.

    That includes my father, who volunteered to serve as the white commander of a black truck company in WW II, and who was proud that he gave his men the best opportunity available at the time to serve their country.

    The result of the civil rights movement was the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But the effect of this act was to remove many laws that infringed upon the rights of black people. Once again, government wasn’t the solution, but the problem to be solved.

    That education process continues to this day, as we see Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Tiger Woods and Barack Obama serving as new examples, giving the lie to the myth of black inferiority.

    I would agree with you wholeheartedly in an ideal world. But you know that’s not how the world works.

    Actually I believe that’s exactly the way the world works. There is no such thing as an ethical government, or an ethical form of government. The only true change possible is in the hearts and minds of the people who run the government.

  237. my chiastic ed.,
    although it does sound better,
    the meaning is changed.

  238. Zackly 😉

  239. I’ll bet more people clicked on the link Reason posted to the beheading of Nick Berg than on Jesse Walker’s cockfighting film link. Where IS the love?

  240. Chanticleer
    Deserves a tear:
    His neither collateral nor incidental suffering
    Merits buffering.

  241. LarryA,

    Props to your Pops.

  242. All this time, SIV hasn’t had a chance to come back to defend his single issue. Has he been busy trying to get his cocks out of the country?
    Fie on you, SIV!

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