Animal rights group calls fowl over name of historic St Albans pub
An animal rights group has launched a campaign calling for the country’s oldest pub to change its name to something less offensive to chickens.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) wants Ye Olde Fighting Cocks to be renamed Ye Olde Clever Cocks, in what they claim would be “in recognition of society’s growing compassion for animals and in celebration of intelligent, sensitive chickens”.
The organisation’s special projects manager Dawn Carr sent an open letter to the chief executive of pub owner Mitchells and Butlers, and Cocks landlord Christo Tofalli, in which she urged them to end the association with the long-banned sport of cockfighting, “to encourage people to rethink the way that we treat chickens and grant these birds the respect and kindness that they deserve”.
She added: “We understand that the pub has long been called Ye Olde Fighting Cocks and that there may be some resistance to making a name change, but just as many pubs with names tied to slavery changed their names to match modern sensibilities, so it’s high time for The Cocks to change. If you must stick with tradition, you could revert to the much kinder name from 1756: Three Pigeons.”
When pressed by the Herts Advertiser, Ms Carr admitted it had been some years since she had been in St Albans and hadn’t actually visited Ye Olde Fighting Cocks.
She said: “I don’t know if anyone at PETA has ever been to the pub, I don’t think I have, but the pub has been around a long time so it’s not exactly a secret. I hope the next time I am there I will have the chance to enjoy a pint in the newly renamed Ye Olde Clever Cocks.”
Landlord Christo Tofalli said he had a responsibility for preserving the history and heritage of the oldest pub in the country, which included darker aspects of the past like cockfighting.
“Every time someone comes in to this pub, they are being exposed to a bit of the country’s history and we celebrate the fact that cock fighting was abolished more than 150 years ago.
“From the feedback we have received we can see that our customers from wherever they are feel strongly that it’s important to preserve our national identity as well as local history.”
He added: “I wish animal rights organisations all the very best with their priority, which is to continue to raise awareness of cruelty to animals, and to protect them. We will be replying to PETA respectfully.”