Animal rights group takes advantage of Ye Olde Fighting Cocks administration to again call for name change

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks entrance.

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks. - Credit: Archant

An animal rights group is exploiting the country’s oldest pub going into administration by again urging its owners to change its name.

A bid by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to rename Ye Olde Fighting Cocks to Ye Olde Clever Cocks made the national news in 2015, but the charity faced a social media backlash for focusing on political correctness instead of real-life animal abuse.

The Herts Advertiser also revealed nobody from PETA had actually visited the pub before launching the campaign, and its special projects manager Dawn Carr - who fronted it - admitted she hadn’t even been to St Albans for years.

At the time, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks landlord Christo Tofalli politely turned down the request, saying he had a responsibility for preserving the history and heritage of the oldest pub in the country, including the darker aspects of its past like cockfighting.

But PETA is now taking advantage of the pub's trading crisis to attempt the name-change again.

Ms Carr has gone beyond her original demands by urging YOFC owners Mitchells & Butlers to also introduce a fully vegan menu when the pub reopens.

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, St Albans

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, St Albans - Credit: Archant

"We know that the pub has gone into administration and would like to urge the new landlord to keep the best bits of this historic pub while updating parts better left in the past – giving it a fresh new name and changing to a fully vegan menu.

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"We trust that the name of the pub does not intentionally promote cockfighting, but it does call to mind the violence and cruelty of a hideous blood sport that has been outlawed in the UK for more than a century.

"We previously suggested a name change to Ye Olde Clever Cocks to help highlight the fact that chickens are fascinating and intelligent, but something like The Cheery Chooks or The Happy Hens would be just as delightful.

"Changing the pub’s name to Ye Olde Clever Cocks – or reverting to the property’s name from 1756, the Three Pigeons (more wonderful birds!) – would encourage people to rethink the way we treat chickens.

"And reopening with an all-vegan menu would be a more inclusive, kinder, and environmentally friendly way to see the pub into the next 1,000 years."

Following the previous story, a PETA staffer has visited the pub and spotted that the vegan offerings were slim compared to other venues, and re-branding as an all-vegan pub would engage a new legion of loyal customers.