Ye Olde Fighting Cocks keeps name despite animal rights pressure

By Oli Gross contact

- Last updated on GMT

The pub and the new logo suggested by PETA
The pub and the new logo suggested by PETA

Related tags: St albans

Britain's oldest pub Ye Olde Fighting Cocks has no intention of changing its name despite pressure from animal rights group PETA, which wants the pub to be renamed Ye Olde Clever Cocks to reflect compassion for animals.

A pub has no intention of changing its name despite pressure from an animal rights group.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals​ (PETA) wants Britain’s oldest pub, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans, Hertfordshire, to be renamed to Ye Olde Clever Cocks.

Though lease holder Christo Tofalli concedes cock fighting is a ‘barbaric’ sport, he does not think the change is necessary.

“We celebrate that cock fighting was stopped hundreds of years ago,” he said.

“But we aren’t even considering it, it’s important to keep the place up as being the best pub it can be, the best to customers,” he said.

The animal rights group want the eighth century pub to change its name to ‘reflect today’s compassion for animals’.

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is listed as Britain’s oldest pub in Guinness World Records.

Tunnels from the beer cellar stretch to the nearby St Albans Cathedral, believed to be formerly used by monks. Cock fighting took place in the main bar in the late 19th​ and early 20th​ centuries, giving the pub its name.

Mr Tofalli continued: “We’re preserving the country’s heritage. We have the rest of the world on our side. The support from people from St Albans and from all around the world is amazing. The message is that history rocks, and pubs rock.”

The lease holder said the name change would damage the history of the pub, and its business.

“We are going to focus on what’s important to us,” he said.

“To be in line with a political group isn’t on our agenda.”

Cockfighting has been illegal in the UK since the 1800s.

PETA said the change would celebrate ‘intelligent, sensitive chickens’.

Director Mimi Bekhechi said: "Today, kind people are appalled by the thought of forcing birds to fight to the death, and more people than ever are making the compassionate choice not to eat chickens, either.

"Changing the name of Britain's oldest pub to Ye Olde Clever Cocks would reflect today's rejection of needless violence and help celebrate chickens as the intelligent, sensitive and social animals they are."

PETA is offering to supply the establishment with enough animal-free mock chicken to feed a hungry pub.

The group concludes: "When it comes to chickens, be a lover, not a fighter – go faux, not foe!"

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks won the Best Pub award in the St Albans Food and Drink Awards in 2012 and 2013.

The pub is promoting a blues album written by regular performers at the pub to raise money for mental health charity SANE.

“The issues we are dealing with now are far greater than changing name,” Mr Tofalli added.

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