The players allegedly killed the two chickens in some kind of pseudo-voodoo ritual meant to improve the team’s performance as they’ve suffered a losing streak recently. The two boys are 15 and 16 years old and have not been named publicly as they are minors.
The coach of the team says that while he has not had a chance to speak with the two players personally, he thinks that the superstitious nature of the sport is to blame. He told reporters that “baseball is very superstitious” and that he theorizes that the idea for the ritual may have come from the movie Major League in which a superstitious character is determined to sacrifice a chicken for good luck.
The two boys have been charged with cruelty to animals and their case will be heard in juvenile court. They’ve also been kicked off the team for the year.
The actions of these two boys are reprehensible, almost beyond imagining. It’s hard enough to imagine killing a baby chick, let alone doing it for as petty and meaningless a purpose as improving your sports teams’ performance.
But it begins to seem kind of trivial when you put their actions in perspective. For example, the egg industry kills 200 million baby chicks per year because they were unlucky enough to be born male and the egg industry has no use for male chicks. These chicks are crushed up alive by a meat grinder. This is done even by the “compassionate” cage-free companies.
And the worst part? Grinding up 200 million chicks a year is legal, but killing two in a sacrifice for a better baseball season results in being arrested for cruelty to animals.
In the movie Major League, which the coach of the team cited as a possible origin for the ritual, the players convince the superstitious player to have a bucket of fried chicken instead of sacrifice a chicken. There’s a connection here, but no one is mentioning it.
These boys have grown up in a culture that practices a sophisticated double-think that even adults have trouble justifying. We kill some animals by the billions and then prosecute people for killing just one or two of a different kind of animal. It’s not a child’s fault for being confused about what kinds of animals it is culturally acceptable to kill and under what circumstances it is legal to do so.
Of course, these boys need a lesson in treating life with the respect it deserves, but who can really give them that lesson? A culture that endorses and promotes wholesale slaughter of chickens by the billions can’t really castigate these two boys because they killed baby chicks on a baseball diamond instead of in a factory with a meat grinder.
If we want children to understand that killing animals is wrong, we should start leading by example. If we start by explaining that it’s wrong to kill animals for food, then it won’t be so hard to explain later why it’s wrong to kill animals in ritual sacrifices. In fact, it’s hard to imagine that a child raised vegan would even need to be told not to sacrifice animals. It seems like the ritual sacrifice issue would be a moot point very early on.
If you abhor cruelty and murder, go vegan and lead by your example.