I’m slaughtering the meat birds this week, an unpleasant job which starts with a heavy heart and ends in deep weariness. The only upside is that the first to go are the overgrown roosters, now the size of small turkeys.
These roosters are aggressive. They always have their guns loaded. They’re constantly looking around, eager for a confrontation. (Robert De Niro voice: “You talkin’ to me?”) If no other rooster will engage, they will attack a hen. As they are far too fat and awkward to mate, they just beat her up.
The other night as DH and I watched the end of The Lehrer News Hour, the recap came on, showing fighting in some part of the world. Young men racing down a street, rifle shots, bombs, smoke, blood.
I said to DH, “You know, as a farmer, watching these things, all I can think is that castrating a bunch of the males would calm things down considerably.”
“Sure. Anybody who has ever raised livestock knows that intact males are a pain. Bulls, rams, stallions, roosters — they are all aggressive. Young bulls will fight anything — even a water trough! The only way to keep the males happy and peaceful is to have one ram or one rooster to an entire flock of females. Introduce another male and — bam! Stand-offs and fighting.”
I stood up to collect our plates. “So it seems to me that the political cause really doesn’t matter; it’s almost a smokescreen. Males are just programmed to fight each other! But if you remove the testicles, all that aggression melts away. I always think of this when I see violence on the news. Just castrate the males; they’ll mellow out.”
“Hmmm,” DH said thoughtfully. “I’m not sure the Brookings Institute is going to be calling on you to write a policy white paper any time soon.”