Springfield, Virginia — Dwight and Wright are best friends and enjoy hiking together every day. Carmine is more of a loner and prefers to spend his time observing pigeons. Chauncer loves to chat and strikes up conversations with just about anyone.
Dwight, Wright, Carmine and Chauncer are all roosters recently rescued from bird breeders for a cockfight. They now live at VINE Sanctuary, a livestock shelter in Vermont. This is where we first rehabilitated roosters rescued from cockfights.
VINE’s groundbreaking work with roosters was highlighted in the January 22 edition of The New York Times Magazine with an article on breeding birds for cockfights, with a picture of a rooster rescued from a Vermont reserve. I was.
All chickens are descended from junglefowl that still forage in the forests of South Asia today. Many roosters used in cockfights are genetically indistinguishable from wild wild fowl. In wild and wild herds, roosters work together to keep the whole group safe. Elders teach young people how to behave. Roosters raised in captivity rarely have such learning opportunities. The roosters used in cockfighting are unsocialized and often traumatized birds who fight because they are frightened rather than because of innate aggression.
Before VINE broke the road to develop rooster rehabilitation protocols, roosters seized from cockfights were automatically euthanized. Sanctuaries around the world are now using this protocol, and authorities have begun locating rescued roosters before euthanizing them.
According to Pattrice Jones, co-founder of VINE Sanctuary, “The stereotypes about roosters hurt both birds and humans. In addition to rescue, rehabilitation and advocacy for cheerleaders, VINE will help other reserves do the same and through The Rooster Project. We share our expertise and resources.
VINE Sanctuary is an LGBTQ-led shelter that cares for hundreds of rescued animals while working for social and environmental justice. VINE offers humanitarian educational programs for children, a book club for animal advocates, a “Rainbow Vegan Challenge” and podcasts featuring renowned authors, artists and activists.