Rooster’s Millions


Cockfighting is one of mankind’s most vicious and inhumane practices, up there with bear-baiting and karaoke. It’s a nasty, hideous thing that’s thousands of years old and has usually dwelt on the fringes of society, rarely tolerated by the mainstream. It’s like Joan Rivers, only quieter.

As with many horrible things, I’m intrigued by the thought process that must have led to cockfighting.

“Hey, it would be a lot of fun if we watched two roosters fight each other!” said one man.

“Granted,” said another, “but what if their beaks and talons prove insufficient to satisfy the bloodlust of the spectators?”

“Then we shall fasten razors to their legs!” said the first.

“Huzzah!” cried the second. “Each thrust of the gamecock’s be-razored leg will inflict serious injury on his opponent!”

“It shall be so!” agreed the first. Then the two men stomped on a lamb’s head and pushed a dog into a fire.

Or at least this is how I imagine it. Unfortunately, the sport’s history has not been chronicled very thoroughly, which is a shame, not to mention a wasted opportunity. Who wouldn’t watch a six-hour Ken Burns PBS documentary called “Cockfighting: Murder Most Fowl”?

The PETA columns:

9/7/2001: I PETA the Fool
5/24/2002: PETA’s Dragon
9/8/2002: Milking It
5/25/2003: Pet Peeves
8/25/2008: That’s So PETArded
2/16/2009: PETA, PETA, Kitten Eater
3/7/2011: Rooster’s Millions
8/1/2011: For PETA’s Sake
10/16/2012: PETA vs. Pokemon

The reason I bring it up is that now, suddenly, the roosters are turning on their masters! They are as mad as BA-CAW and they’re not going to take it anymore. In January, a fighting rooster in India slashed its owner’s throat, killing the man, and a guy in California died last month after his gamecock stabbed him in the leg. That second man’s friends probably thought he’d reached his lowest point when he took up cockfighting, but they had to reevaluate when they heard he’d died from being cut on the leg by a chicken.

It is hard to muster much sympathy for a man who is killed by an animal that wasn’t dangerous until he gave it weapons. That is the origin of the familiar expression, “If you don’t want your rooster to murder you, don’t tie a knife to its foot, stupid.” You’d think people would have learned, from the numerous movies in which villains are destroyed by their own abominable creations, that creating something abominable nearly always ends with you being destroyed. Yet these idiots, these professional cockfight organizers, didn’t see it coming. You might say they got a pullet surprise!!!!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha you wouldn’t say that because pullets are females.

News stories about the California incident don’t mention what became of the vigilante rooster, while the report on the one in India specifically says that authorities weren’t able to find the throat-slashing cockerel. According to the Daily Mail newspaper, “Villagers in Mohanpur, West Bengal, were warned not to approach what police described as ‘an unknown rooster with black and red feathers.'” I like to think both roosters now roam their respective countrysides as fugitives, protecting the defenseless, solving mysteries, and impregnating hens. That’s what I would do.

PETA (People for the Ethical Marinating of Steak) is opposed to cockfighting, obviously. It’s one of the few subjects on which PETA and sane people agree, proving the old adage that even a stopped clock is right twice a day (specifically, at a quarter past no-cockfighting). PETA seemed reasonable for a few minutes in February, too, when the organization offered to help preserve a historical landmark. Naturally, this turned out to be a characteristically tacky attempt by PETA to assert its primary agenda, which is to remind everyone that the people at PETA are crazy (possibly due to malnutrition).

The landmark is Baltimore’s Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, which is in danger of being closed because they found some old dude’s bones under the floor. No, I’m kidding, it’s just budget cuts. The buried corpses are actually considered charming. PETA offered to donate a portion of the museum’s $80,000 operating budget, and all the group wanted in exchange for its generosity was to transform the museum into an advertisement for PETA, which seems fair.


PETA wanted to prominently display a poster encouraging people not to eat, wear, or smoke animals. The poster has a drawing of a man clutching his chest, accompanied by these words: “The Tell-Tale Heart of a Meat-Eater. Don’t Be Haunted by Bad Health: Go Vegan.” This is in reference to the well-established medical fact that 100 percent of meat-eaters have unhealthy hearts, while 100 percent of vegans live forever and make potpourri-scented poops. (Don’t look at me. That’s SCIENCE.) The committee that runs the museum declined PETA’s offer of vegan propaganda, however, because they don’t allow advertisements. In response, PETA angrily slaughtered one thousand ravens.

How does PETA have enough cash lying around to make philanthropic contributions anyway? I can’t imagine that being a humorless scold is very lucrative (correct me if I’m wrong, Keith Olbermann). I bet PETA gets its money from when eccentric old ladies leave their fortunes to their cats, and then the cats die too, before they get a chance to spend it. And speaking of fundraising, I have an idea for how the people at the Poe museum can make some cash. First, you need a rooster….