Organization calls for stronger laws to deter animal fighting and burden on law enforcement
Washington — Today, Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy issued a statement on news that 12 people were arrested and charged with cockfighting by authorities in Polk County, Texas.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of an illegal cockfighting operation, and discovered 31 roosters, including some that were dead and buried, likely from previous animal fighting.
Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action, issued the following statement:
“We applaud Polk County Sheriff’s Office for enforcing the state’s anti-cockfighting law. Cockfighting is barbaric and bound up with a wide range of other criminal conduct. When law enforcement breaks up cockfighting rings, they make our communities safer for people and animals.”
Both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate have issued the Fighting Inhumane Gambling and High-Risk Trafficking (FIGHT) Act, and the authors hope to include the provision as an amendment to the Farm bill. Both pieces of legislation were driven by concerns for the barbarism of animal fighting, other criminal behavior comingled with it, and disease threats to poultry posed by transporting fighting roosters.
The FIGHT Act, amending Section 26 of the Animal Welfare Act, would enhance the enforcement opportunities by banning simulcasting and gambling of animal fighting ventures; halting the shipment of mature roosters (chickens only) shipped through the U.S. mail (it is already illegal to ship dogs through the mail); creating a citizen suit provision, after proper notice to federal authorities, to allow private right of action against illegal animal fighters; and enhancing forfeiture provisions to include real property for animal fighting crimes.