– Gameness til the End
BY DAVE BULTENA
The Modesto Bee, May 8, 2014
We are living in an age when previously taboo practices have become legitimate and made part of our societal order. Such things as casino gambling, marijuana use and same-sex marriage have become commonplace since the reasons used to keep them out of society have failed.
While we are legitimatizing things, let’s add one more item to the list of things to be made legal: cockfighting.
There is no reason to continue to outlaw the practice. The fact it finds favor in a small portion of the Latino community and has no advocate for its legalization might be reasons it remains illegal. But the reasons to legalize it are many.
First, it is a victimless crime. No one suffers, no one is forced into it and no one is becoming wealthy by exploiting others.
The fact one of the draws to cockfighting is wagering is also no reason to continue to put it in the shadows of society. Wagering is such a part of our daily routine, it is difficult to imagine what life would be like without bingo, the lottery, office sports pools and slot machines, to name a few, and it would not be any problem to add cockfighting to the list.
Getting the cockfights out of almond orchards and into the open would also benefit farmers who would not have to put up with the mess such clandestine events leave behind. Law enforcement, already cut to the bone, would be freed up from enforcing an otherwise useless law.
The major contestants in cockfighting are the chickens. It takes little effort, if any, to get them to fight, given the right conditions. Their combative nature has given rise to the cliché “pecking order,” in which the strong tend to dominate the weak.
There may be some embellishment to the birds, usually roosters, to put them into fighting condition. Cropping of the comb and the addition of spurs to their feet to increase the lethal nature of the sport are some of the things done, but the chickens themselves provide the aggressive nature which is the essential element of the sport.
The loss of a few select chickens certainly cannot be a reason to continue the prohibition of cockfighting. Any poultry operation, whether done for eggs or meat, loses chickens regularly for a variety of reasons during the course of routine operations.
Cockfighting needs few facilities. Usually a small ring, some makeshift seating and a place for the bagman to collect and distribute money that has been bet. Legalization would increase the number of events and who knows, the state might figure out a way to tax it like it taxes everything else.
Assertions that chickens might be more highly developed intellectually than we give them credit for lacks any reason to pause. The presence of intelligence doesn’t complicate the issue since intelligent creatures, such as man, have been engaging in combative behavior every since Cain and Abel.
Chickens: They aren’t just for eating and egg-laying anymore.