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We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704

Stop Animal Fighting

Cockfighting still legal in New Mexico

N.M. Panel Rejects Cockfighting Ban Plan

By PETER BARNES Associated Press Writer

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A state Senate committee rejected a proposal to ban cockfighting, making it unlikely the sport will be outlawed this year in one of only two states where it is still legal.

The Conservation Committee voted 6-2 Tuesday to table the proposal after nearly three hours of impassioned testimony.

One committee member called the proposed ban a "ridiculous" waste of legislators' time. "This is what you call a rural vs. urban issue," Sen. Phil Griego said.

The state House approved a ban in 2003, and a similar bill is pending there this year, but even if it passed the House, it would still run into trouble in the Senate.

Louisiana is the only other state where cockfighting is legal.

Thirteen of New Mexico's 33 counties outlaw cockfighting.

Cockfighting supporters described the proposed ban as an attack on a centuries-old tradition, which people don't have to watch if they don't want to.

"We do not claim to be without faults, but we do claim that cockfighting is not one of them," said Luis Sevilla, an engineering student at New Mexico Tech who said he was "born and raised cockfighter."

Supporters of the legislation called cockfighting barbaric and inhumane.

"It's simply cruelty to animals," said Viki Elkey, a lobbyist for Animal Protection Voters. "To us, it's just the idea of enjoying animals killing each other."

Sevilla said cockfighting pales in comparison to violent video games and television programs.

Actor Wilford Brimley spoke against the proposed ban Tuesday, saying he moved to New Mexico because of the state's respect for individual rights. Other celebrities, including actress Pamela Anderson, supported the ban but none appeared at the hearing.

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