dogs & roosters

Brent Finnegan -- August 28th, 2007

The national news media has been following the Michael Vick case like the fate of the planet depends on it. WHSV still has a page of stories devoted to Vick and the dogfighting case.

But here’s the baffling part: cockfights still take place in Rockingham County, and cockfighting is still legal in Virginia. Harrisonburg’s state senator, Mark Obenshain, voted against making cockfighting a felony.

Is it just because we eat chicken, and keep dogs as pets, or is there a double standard here?

28 Responses to “dogs & roosters”

  1. Reaganite says:


    Is it a double standard or just a standard? As rational beings, we make choices between the worth of items/animals/even people every day. That seems to me to be the nature of our nature. Is it wrong that I care more about my bulldog than a chicken? If that isn’t wrong, then is it wrong that I would punish someone harsher for hurting a dog than I would for hurting a chicken? Or, that I would punish one and the other not at all? The value choice that will be made is being influenced or determined by the values we each hold. Perhaps one day soon cockfighting will be outlawed just like dogfighting, but perhaps cockfighting opponents should focus on changing the hearts and minds of the people and not just on the votes of our legislators.

  2. Junkpearl says:

    You always hear about people being attacked by vicious dogs all the time. When was the last time we heard about someone being pecked by a chicken to death? I’m just saying….just an observation :)

  3. finnegan says:

    Must be a food chain thing. We eat chicken, we feed our dogs chicken products, but we don’t eat dogs.

    I’ve read that in certain places in Vietnam, people eat dogs. I’m guessing that in that culture, dogfighting is no big deal. According to Wikipedia, dogfighting originated in Japan, and was popularized by the British.

  4. Benny Neal says:

    How do you all feel about killing other animals? I’m referring
    to hunting…Yes, I know it is legal but, sometimes the animal
    does not die right away and so it suffers a slow death.

  5. Eli says:

    I have no problem with hunting. Deer will die a slow death due to starvation if the population isn’t thinned, and many people use hunting as a way to save money buying meat in the store. There’s also the whole issue with how production animals are treated on the way to the store, and the chemicals and questionable food given to fatten them up. I don’t hunt personally, but my father would hunt for food when times were tight growing up. It’s not even remotely comparable to animal fighting.

  6. Josh says:

    Benny, I don’t mind hunting so long as the hunter harvests the edible bits.

  7. Benny Neal says:

    The subject is actually SUFFERING AND THE CRUELTY that comes along with it. It should not matter what kind of an animal it is.

  8. Mary Lou says:

    CHICKEN…Man’s best Friend? Ummm, no, doesn’t sound right. Dog-Fil-A? Not a crowd pleaser. What are we gonna talk about now? Give me a break!

  9. Benny Neal says:

    BTW, I’m not anti-hunting or an animal activist. I just wanted to point out that there are other ways of “cruelty to animals”
    other than dog and cock fighting. Legal or not.

  10. MikeFus says:

    As I listen to the news or read articles about Vick and dog fighting, I keep thinking of bull fighting. I remember watching it on TV one time, and it was disgusting. Those bulls are slowly poisoned and bled as the matador taunts them and eventually kills them. And what about rodeo bull or horse riding? Do you know what they do to those animals to make them buck like that?? If that’s not cruelty, I don’t know what is! I also happen to think that cockfighting should be outlawed as well. However, I think that hunting is a different matter altogether, and shouldn’t be a part of this conversation. (By the way – I’ve never hunted before, but have formed my opinions on hunting based on hunters I’ve known, and on my judgments of their character and morals.)

  11. Dave Briggman says:

    If you’re from the Philippines, Dog-Fil-A would probably be A-OK…Air Force K9 units were advised not to go outside the gates of the former Clark AB without two cops being with the dog.

  12. kai says:

    What gets me isn’t that we don’t get as upset about other types of animals being abused, it’s this general agreement that, “in a nation of animal lovers”, there’s more outrage about Vick abusing dogs than had he abused his girlfriend. No telling if that’s true or not, but it’s scary this is even a question.

  13. Tim says:

    People get upset about innocence abused and that is the central focus of this case.

    An animal that is raised for fighting never has a chance to be anything else, or know the world, as anything except combat. I’ve heard the argument that people are more upset by the Vick tragedy then they would be about a person being murdered and I don’t buy it. Same as kids, if a entity is forced into violence before it knows a choice pity will be the outsiders result.

    The crime gets even more heinous if you take into account that Vick had more than enough money to survive lavishly and he sill chose to raise and fight dogs for sport. At least hunters consume what they kill, Vick’s hobby was the death of innocent life, I prefer music.

  14. JGFitzgerald says:

    All due respect, one difference between spousal abuse and the Bad Newz Kennels is the difference between individual incidents of rage and a six-year criminal enterprise fueled by pure sadism. (No, I don’t think that makes either one all right.) Also, Vick’s story is one that goes back to the earliest definitions of tragedy, i.e., someone bound for great things is brought down by a fatal flaw. (Kind of like the senator from Idaho. No, not really.) Still, interesting that the place where that definition of tragedy was written was burning to the ground and the networks had stringers on the story while their top reporters were in Richmond.

  15. Benny Neal says:

    So, if Vick and the others involved with the operation at “Bad Newz Kennals” ate the dogs after they died, it would be O.K.?

  16. cook says:

    c’mon, boys and girls, this prosecution is not about dogs or sadism or hunting or gambling or drugs or pets or race or chickens or purnell peace or quanis phillips or tony taylor; this prosecution is – from beginning to end – about michael vick the nfl quarterback.

    how many “dog fighting rings” do you think the u.s. department of justice has hunted down in the last eight years?

    decisions to prosecute (or not prosecute) are made by human police officers and human prosecutors (lawyers) for very human reasons. one of those reasons is often the pursuit of idealized justice, and sometimes there are other reasons too.

  17. Dave Briggman says:

    Cook, is what you’re writing here, that prosecutors prosecute people for reasons OTHER than a crime being committed? I can’t believe that.

  18. finnegan says:

    I hear what you’re saying, cook. Part of the reason I posted this (and perhaps I didn’t make this clear in the original post) is because I felt like my head was going to explode if I heard one more thing about how bad Vick is, while we all live in a state where cockfights take place on a regular basis.

    I was hoping to point out the hypocrisy of it all.

  19. cook says:

    i hope that what you are suggesting, dave, is very rare.

    however, the questions of which crimes are prosecuted and in which forum and to what extent are questions decided by human beings who possess quite a bit of discretion. frankly, i think such discretion is necessary; i can’t see any way to redesign the system to approximate justice without giving such authority to the authorities. i write, i guess, just to keep that fact in front of us so that we the people can be vigilant in watching those who exercise such authority over us, the authority to tell us what we can and cannot do, to fine us, to imprison us, to take our children from us, and in some cases to take our lives.

  20. Tim says:

    Isn’t cockfighting illegal as well? If it is, I don’t think there is any hypocrisy at all. It took years to get enough evidence to bring down Vick (PETA said they heard rumors since 04) and the state will shut down any cockfighting rings they find as well. It isn’t like you see fliers on the street advertising a cock fight.

    Benny, eating the dogs wouldn’t have made anything any better. Vick had the means to do anything he wanted to do with his life and he chose to force cruelty and violence on innocent dogs. Hunters kill an animal but they don’t go out of their way to do it slowly or painfully and, although there is a sport to it, hunting has a more productive end than selfish entertainment.

    I’m sick of hearing second by second updates on Vick as well but I do believe he is getting what he deserves.

  21. Tim says:

    Got you, just reread the top of the post. I agree that it is hypocritical that cockfighting is not a felony as well. Brent, I hope your head doesn’t explode.

  22. Barnabas says:

    I was in Kasas City earlier this month and the door man at the hotel I stayed at, upon finding out I was from Virginia, wanted to know how close I was to all this Michael Vick stuff. I hadn’t even thought of it, I told him I didn’t know.

    I like hearing about sports when I turn on the sports channel or turn on sports radio. All this Micheal Vick thing, to me, is something that gets in the way of my sports. He used to be a part of my sports news and honestly I had hoped he could be a good role model for his own little brother. But now he takes away from my enjoyment.

    As far as a double standard when it comes to animals… mice are animals, they are available as food for your pet snake. Enjoying a snakes dominance over a mouse is no more evil in my mind than watching a dog fight another dog. Betting money for said fight is twisted. Killing a dog because he/she got beat is borderline evil.

  23. Bubby says:

    “It’s not enough,” she said. “They should drown him like he did to those poor dogs.”

    I’d say “I hear ya Finnegan”, but my head already exploded :> Maybe if chickens had lips we’d love them. But I hear dog tastes like…Lord, I apologize.

  24. King Richard says:

    Tim, you make very good points.
    Bleeding hearts are always going to cry, but when they go to a restaurant , don’t kill it , just make my steak medium !! They forget that the animal they are eating was alive at one point, just don’t hunt it, KILL IT IN A CAGE, that makes it taste better! It had a chance to run to the other side of the cage–see my point?
    There is more to hunting than the kill, that is the last part if the hunter is successful, not all hunters are. Most times the animal wins because you are in his domain.
    Hope you don’t get any blood on your hands while your shopping for your next meal at the supermarket, after all—DID THE ANIMAL YOUR EATING HAVE A CHANCE?

  25. finnegan says:

    From today’s DNR: feds raided a cockfighting operation in Page County that has been in business since 2003.

    It may have nothing at all to do with the publicity of the Vick case, but I have to wonder.

    Also, I find it interesting that an unnamed Page Co “official” (was it the sheriff? a deputy perhaps?) was paid off by the cockfighters to turn a blind eye. Whoever it is — they’re being at least temporarily protected by the feds.

  26. cook says:

    just as the federal decision to prosecute the michael vick case was not about the dogs, the federal involvement in the page county cockfighting case is probably not about the poultry.

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