Chicken Sacrifice

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GloriaInTX's picture
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Chicken Sacrifice

Should these kids be prosecuted for killing chickens?

BENBROOK -- Reports that two Western Hills High School baseball players killed baby chicks as part of superstitious ritual to improve their game have received international media attention from as far away as Australia and prompted an animal rights group to reach out to the school.

Benbrook Police Sgt. John Van Ness confirmed Thursday that authorities have charged the two players with cruelty to livestock animals. He said the case has been turned over to the Tarrant County Juvenile Court where a decision will be made on whether to prosecute the two players, ages 15 and 16.

Police say the players were “engaged in acts that caused the death of two baby chickens. It appears that superstition relating to a slump in baseball performance could have played a part.”

Police did not identify the teens because they are juveniles.

In this case, the animal cruelty charge is a state jail felony punishable by 180 days to two years in jail and can include a fine not to exceed $10,000, Van Ness said.

Van Ness said a baby chick was decapitated March 17 behind the school’s baseball fields and then another one killed the same way March 18. Fort Worth school district officials alerted police to the incident last week. Van Ness said the students have been cooperating with the investigation.

The two players were kicked off the team for the rest of the year and disciplined by the district, school officials said.

Western Hills is 7-15 overall and 3-2 in District 6-4A. The Cougars have gone 2-1 since the incident, including Wednesday night’s 11-1 victory over Southwest High School. Fort Worth Dunbar plays at Western Hills.

News of the sacrificial rituals spread across the Internet on Thursday, including media outlets as far away as Australia. Websites such as The Huffington Post and SI.com picked up the story, and a Web producer tweeted that “this is definitely the oddest story I’ve come across” in the six years he’s been at SI.com.

Meanwhile, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals reached out to Western Hills, offering and encouraging administrators to help with animal education issues. It also encouraged the school to form an animal rights club on campus.

“It’s necessary to address problems like this,” said Elizabeth Graffeo, who runs a school education program for PETA. “The alleged killings of chickens in this way can’t go without message from school. It is important that animals must be treated with compassion.”

Principal James Wellman is reviewing PETA’s material as he explores ways to address the incident, which could also include working with a local group or student leaders, district spokesman Clint Bond said.

This is the second incident in recent months involving Fort Worth school district students and chickens. In January, baby chicks and live fish were thrown during a pep rally at North Side High School. Bond said five students were disciplined in that incident.

Bond said a districtwide initiative on animal cruelty isn’t necessary because the two incidents were isolated and unrelated.

“As a district, we don’t condone this kind of behavior,” Bond said. “That’s why these students have been disciplined, severely disciplined in the Western Hills case. Our school district is not rampant with animal abuse.”

Bond said the two cases are examples of how some youths may not fully understand what the consequences of their actions are.

“We all wish it would have been a bucket of fried chicken like it was in the movie Major League,” Bonds said.

In that movie, a baseball player wants to sacrifice a live chicken to end a hitting slump, but teammates brought him fried chicken instead.

Western Hills baseball Coach Bobby McIntire said Wednesday that movies such as Major League and Bull Durham may have inspired the players but that he had not had a chance to talk to the teens yet.

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/03/30/2962747/western-hills-high-baseball-players.html#my-headlines-default#ixzz1IJ3FPjPu

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How is that animal cruelty but factory farming is just good business? Did they torture the chickens or just decapitate them?

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Much kinder than what mr. purdue does to your supermarket chicken Wink

Couldn't resist.

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Melissa, I thought of you again last night when I was eating my (organic free range) chicken for dinner. It was yummy. I can almost taste the high quality of life. Smile

I think they should be prosecuted. Even as an omnivore, I don't think that people should be able to just go around decapitating animals. I think that the only reason this is even a question is because a chicken is a food animal. Imagine if they decapitated a dog. Of course they would be prosecuted.

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OMG If it were a doggy? People would be making death threats (to the humans), want to lock them up for life, and try to forever deprive them of their right to earn a living ala Michael Vick. SInce it is something that we routinely torture and murder by the billions/year it is a much more grey area, I agree.

Alissa! You go. I'm on a meatless stint, for who knows how long. I find it terribly unfair that bacon is meat, however. Why can't bacon grow on a dayum tree?

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Melissa, I thought of you again last night when I was eating my (organic free range) chicken for dinner. It was yummy. I can almost taste the high quality of life. Smile

I think they should be prosecuted. Even as an omnivore, I don't think that people should be able to just go around decapitating animals. I think that the only reason this is even a question is because a chicken is a food animal. Imagine if they decapitated a dog. Of course they would be prosecuted.

Doesn't the fact that it was a food animal matter, though? People slaughter chickens every day. What makes this slaughter cruelty?

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So how do we decide who to prosecute? We don't prosecute groups like Santeria that commonly sacrifice Chickens. Isn't that a double-standard?

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

So how do we decide who to prosecute? We don't prosecute groups like Santeria that commonly sacrifice Chickens. Isn't that a double-standard?

I guess I think the slaughtering of food animals is already filled with double standards. Why is it cruel and illegal to decapitate a chicken but not cruel and illegal to boil a lobster to death? I'd rather be decapitated than boiled alive.

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"Potter75" wrote:

OMG If it were a doggy? People would be making death threats (to the humans), want to lock them up for life, and try to forever deprive them of their right to earn a living ala Michael Vick. SInce it is something that we routinely torture and murder by the billions/year it is a much more grey area, I agree.

Alissa! You go. I'm on a meatless stint, for who knows how long. I find it terribly unfair that bacon is meat, however. Why can't bacon grow on a dayum tree?

No bacon!?! You're a very strong woman.

I guess we're just more desensitized to the killing of chickens and other food animals. We have to be in order to eat them.

"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

Doesn't the fact that it was a food animal matter, though? People slaughter chickens every day. What makes this slaughter cruelty?

I don't know - I don't think that you should slaughter anything unless you're planning on eating it. I admit that's not a good answer for why it is more or less cruel though, because decapitated is decapitated.

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Yep, they should be. Just because we slaughter animals to eat them doesn't mean everyone should get to walk around killing animals because they feel like it. If meat is raised to be food, of course it's going to be slaughtered eventually ... to be eaten. These boys weren't slaughtering chickens because they needed to survive, they did it to satisfy some sick notion that cutting off a baby chickens head would end a sports slump. Gross. If we allow them to do this, are we going to allow kids to start cutting off the heads of their family pets because their NFL football team is losing?

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"MommyJannah" wrote:

Yep, they should be. Just because we slaughter animals to eat them doesn't mean everyone should get to walk around killing animals because they feel like it. If meat is raised to be food, of course it's going to be slaughtered eventually ... to be eaten. These boys weren't slaughtering chickens because they needed to survive, they did it to satisfy some sick notion that cutting off a baby chickens head would end a sports slump. Gross. If we allow them to do this, are we going to allow kids to start cutting off the heads of their family pets because their NFL football team is losing?

Very few people boil lobsters alive to survive, but that's still legal. People often go fishing and don't eat the fish they kill, but that's legal. Is that animal cruelty?

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

Very few people boil lobsters alive to survive, but that's still legal. People often go fishing and don't eat the fish they kill, but that's legal. Is that animal cruelty?

I absolutely think that boiling a lobster alive is animal cruelty. Just because it's socially acceptable doesn't make it okay. I don't care about the fishing, but that's me. I don't fish, I'm too easily bored, but meh. And technically, we don't need chickens or cows to survive, either, but we eat them anyway. Maybe survive wasn't the right word. They weren't using them for nourishment.

I will be the first to say that I do eat meat, and I'm not usually outraged by things like fur or whathaveyou, but this particular instance is just morally wrong to me. You don't hurt animals just because you CAN.

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For the question of legality, I think I would need to know whether they purchased the chickens. While I still disagree with the treatment, IF they purchased and owned the chickens (as a food source?) then it would seem that the school /district decision to remove them from the team and banning them from playing for a year would be deemed sufficient and reasonable punishment. If, however, they took the baby chicks from someone's farm and opted to decapitate them - yes that would be illegal just as if they chose to do the same to a baby calf. Perhaps the owners were growing the chicks to be fryers and thus experienced a loss of an adult chicken.

Either way -- to do it as a sense of superstition and killing just because they felt it would help them hit better -- UGH! I don't know that I have agreed with PETA before but do hope that maybe they or another organization can use this as a learning experience to educate students.

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I agree that it is distasteful but I just don't think it is criminal. People are allowed to legally kill animals all the time for reasons other than food. Look at all the hunting that goes on where animals are killed for their horns or fur, or just for sport. If someone goes bird hunting and doesn't eat the birds should they be prosecuted? How is that different than killing a chicken? It just seems really wrong to me that these 2 boys could have gone out and shot a different kind of bird with a shotgun and no one would have seen any problem with it.

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

I agree that it is distasteful but I just don't think it is criminal. People are allowed to legally kill animals all the time for reasons other than food. Look at all the hunting that goes on where animals are killed for their horns or fur, or just for sport. If someone goes bird hunting and doesn't eat the birds should they be prosecuted? How is that different than killing a chicken? It just seems really wrong to me that these 2 boys could have gone out and shot a different kind of bird with a shotgun and no one would have seen any problem with it.

Exactly.

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I recently went coyote hunting and didn't eat a single one, no one pressed charges. I think the school's punishment was plenty. Felony charges, over the top. The neighbors are gearing up for a chicken slaughtering in a month or so, about 200 chickens will have their heads cut off, should I call the authorities, or because they plan to eat them it's okay?

ETA: unless they tortured the chickens first and then maybe I'd change my stance.

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Whose chicks were they?

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So if they cooked the decapitated chickens afterward, would it have been ok and not cruelty?

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

I agree that it is distasteful but I just don't think it is criminal. People are allowed to legally kill animals all the time for reasons other than food. Look at all the hunting that goes on where animals are killed for their horns or fur, or just for sport. If someone goes bird hunting and doesn't eat the birds should they be prosecuted? How is that different than killing a chicken? It just seems really wrong to me that these 2 boys could have gone out and shot a different kind of bird with a shotgun and no one would have seen any problem with it.

This exactly. I don't see a legal basis to do anything about it even though the story makes me sick to my stomach.

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I guess it depends on how they were killed. I guess if they were killed humanely then i don't know what you could say.