Gladiator, I like how you explained that.
Kelar, yes I don't agree with dubbing for show - I agree with dubbing to reduce risk of frost bite up north for single combed breeds however.
Dubbing is OLD OLD OLD tradition, and its not going to change anytime soon, until its forced by law to discontinue - until then us opposed to it just have to suck it up and deal with the fact it is what it is. I agree its no different than docking and cropping a dog - its for people's eye - its aestetically pleasing. However dubbing served a purpose back in the day - reduce frost bite, and for when they cock fought. It turned into part of the standard for the game birds, and its continued till this day. Its an old tradition, much like many many others that are out there.
Its simple - if you don't agree with it and don't like it, then do not show game cocks, don't show purebred dogs that require it done for shows, and don't buy birds/dogs that have been dubbed/cropped/docked. *shrugs* I don't mind docking tails - but I don't like cropping ears on a dog. SO I don't do it to any pure dogs I have ever owned.
Just because I don't agree with it, don't do it, etc I understand why those that do it continue the practice. They love the breed, and as part of owning and showing the breed its a requirement. Its no different than other breeds of chicken or animals we've bred to be unnatural. - take the bassets & doxies with their abnormally short legs and all the joint issues associated with it. Take the short faces of the pug, pekinese, and bull dogs - they have horrible breathing issues etc... There are worse things to be done to a dog or a chicken than dubbing, docking, and cropping. But no one is doing anything about abolishing the breeds that are defective in a daily life capacity.
Gladiatior, I am glad you and your wife are taking the time to try and research a more painless way to do this, and - definately give the icecube method a shot. Let your wife know of the dangers of any kind of aneshetic to a chicken, and that icecube numbing is about the only way to go.