Statement for Press


Animal Wellness Action Issues Statement About Cockfighting Ring Bust in Ohio

Organization calls for stronger laws to deter animal fighting and burden on law enforcement

Washington, D.C. — Today, Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy issued a statement on news that 16 roosters were rescued during a cockfighting and animal cruelty investigation by Lorain County officers. The birds and other animal fighting paraphernalia were recovered.

Wayne Pacelle, President of Animal Wellness Action helped write the state’s felony-level anti-cockfighting law and issued this statement:

“Ohio has felony-level penalties for cockfighting, and it’s amazing that people continue to risk their freedom to stage fights between animals,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action.  “Cockfighting is a form of malicious cruelty, and we must mete out strong penalties for perpetrators to root out this behavior in Ohio.”

Cockfighters attach knives or curved ice picks called gaffs to the combatants’ legs to enhance the bloodletting and accelerate the outcome. 

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.

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) whose mission is to help animals by promoting laws and regulations at federal, state and local levels that forbid cruelty to all animals. The group also works to enforce existing anti-cruelty and wildlife protection laws. Animal Wellness Action believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @AWAction_News

Center for a Humane Economy is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) whose mission is to help animals by helping forge a more humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both. The Center believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @TheHumaneCenter