WASHINGTON (AP) Pushing to end cockfighting, animal
rights activists want
Congress to close a loophole in a federal law that allows fighting
roosters to be
transported from state to state.
"Animal fighting is a bloody spectacle and has no place
in a civilized society,''
Wayne Pacelle, senior vice president of the Humane Society of the United
said Tuesday. "It's important the Congress take a public stand against
Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., a veterinarian, is
introducing legislation at the request
of the Humane Society that would close a loophole in the Animal Welfare
allows birds to be shipped across state lines if cockfighting is legal
in the state
receiving the animals.
New Mexico, Louisiana and Oklahoma are the only states
where cockfighting is
still legal. Missouri and Arizona voters banned the practice this past
The Humane Society said cockfighting still takes place, however, in many
where it is banned.
Cockfighting opponents say breeders will often claim
they possess birds not to
fight in their own state but to take them to a state where cockfighting
is legal. The
claims often cause confusion for law enforcement officials and result in
prosecution, activists say.
"The fact that there's not an interstate trade
prohibition on the birds and the
paraphernalia is a big opening for cockfighters to exploit,'' Pacelle
Humane Society investigator Eric Sakach, "Our experience has shown
state is immune.''
In the centuries-old activity, fighting roosters
(outfitted with blades on their heels)
are placed in a ring to slash at each other while spectators often bet
outcome. The loser of the fight often dies. "These animals have no
World Championship Wrestling champion Bill Goldberg, an Oklahoma native
is featured in advertisements denouncing the practice. "It's sick.''
But in some parts of the country, cockfighting is viewed
as a way of life that is
harmless. "They get plenty of food. They get exercise,'' said Brett
former New Mexico State legislator who as a lawmaker voted against
ban cockfighting. "The Humane Society is just after the little mom and
The life of a fighting chicken is a lot more humane.'' Besides,
tightening laws still
wouldn't end tradition, Johnson said. "It's not going to stop. All it's
going to do is
make a bunch of law abiding citizens criminals.''
[Editor's note: To read account of wrestler Bill
Goldberg's address to Congress,
check out the following website:]
Goldberg goes to Congress
Go on to PCB's
Return to 7 February 1999 Issue
Return to Newsletters
** Fair Use Notice**
This document may contain copyrighted material, use of which has not been
specifically authorized by the copyright owners. I believe that this
not-for-profit, educational use on the Web constitutes a fair use of the
copyrighted material (as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright
Law). If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your
own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright