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 six men are facing felony charges after an illegal cockfighting ring was busted in Lynn County on Saturday. The enhanced charges are due to organized criminal activity. Along with these six arrests, authorities issued 67 misdemeanors to spectators.
Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action, issued the following statement:
“We are pleased to see that the Lynn County Sheriff’s Department has not only busted up a cockfighting operation but recognized that these staged animal fights are bound up with illegal gambling and a wide range of other practices,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action. “Cockfighters need to understand that they are putting their freedom at risk by engaging in this barbaric and criminal enterprise.”
Pacelle added: “Animal Wellness Action and its team of experts on cockfighting stands ready to assist the sheriff’s office as a resource.”
This month, 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.