By Frederic J. Frommer
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate passed an amendment banning
transfer of birds for cockfighting, giving animal rights activists a
"Gambling, money laundering, assaults, and even murders
are not uncommon
activities that accompany cockfighting,'' said Sen. Wayne Allard, a
Republican who sponsored the amendment Tuesday. "I simply don't see any
place for any of this in American society.''
Allard, a veterinarian, teamed up with Rep. Collin
Peterson, a pro-hunting
Minnesota Democrat, to push for passage. Last year, then-Senate Majority
Leader Trent Lott refused to hold a vote on the bill.
Federal law prohibits the shipment of animals for
fighting across state lines, but birds can be shipped to one of the
three states where cockfighting is still legal - New Mexico, Oklahoma
Allard said this "crafty loophole'' gives illegal
cockfighters in the other 47 states an easy defense when confronted by
police - they often say they are just raising the birds for shipment
"Illegal cockfighting is rampant in this nation,'' said
Allard. "All over the country, birds are affixed with razors and knives
and pumped full of steroids, stimulants and blood-clotting agents and
made to fight to death - all for sport and money.''
The Senate approved the amendment to an emergency
agriculture spending bill
by voice vote. Sen. Zell Miller, D-Ga., opposed it. He didn't speak on
the floor, but in an earlier statement, he mocked the legislation.
"I thought the federal government's job was to suppress
insurrections, repel invasions, declare war and grant letters of
reprisal - important stuff like that - not to stop folks from hauling
chickens across state lines.''
Former Sen. Steve Symms, R-Idaho, who lobbied against
the bill for the cockfighter's trade association, the American Animal
Husbandry Coalition, called passage "very sad.''
"If this bill becomes law, it will do away with
thousands of small businesses who ship these birds and export them
overseas,'' he said.
Wayne Pacelle, a lobbyist and vice president for the
Humane Society of the United States, had a different take.
"We are very excited that the Senate, almost without
dissent, approved legislation to combat the gruesome and barbaric
practice of cockfighting,'' he said.
The legislation will likely be taken up in a
House-Senate conference committee on the overall emergency spending
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