End Cockfighting Press Release

Statement on Texas Cockfighting Bust with nearly 100 birds seized

Reports led to animal seizures; another indicator of the need for federal law

(Galveston, Texas)—Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy, applauded the Galveston Police for a cockfighting bust where nearly 100 birds were seized in what appears to have been a large-scale cockfighting operation. Details are in this police report.

“Cockfighting is cruel and barbaric, and it is always bound up with other crimes,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action, which is leading a national campaign against staged animal fighting.  “We applaud the Galveston Police for its work on this case.  The state of Texas must have a zero-tolerance policy for staged animal fights.”

In Texas alone, there has been a steady drumbeat of cockfighting interdictions,  including a Potter County bust just one month ago where over 160 roosters were seized and according to the sheriff, “many” participants were “unlawfully in the United States.” At a cockfight busted by the San Jacinto Sheriff, suspects were “expected to face multiple felony charges, ranging from animal cruelty, cockfighting, illegal gambling, unlawful weapon possession, organized crime, and federal firearm possession by illegal immigrants.” More of the same in Cherokee where two dozen arrested on similar charges.  In Lynn County, the sheriff brought felony charges “because of organized criminal activity.”

There have been a series of interdictions at the border, including a law enforcement action where officers “made an unusual discovery, roosters deeply hidden within passenger vehicles.” Border Patrol and Customs seized this shipment of fighting implements from Mexico City and separately found cockfighting blades and other paraphernalia at the border in California. 

Local and federal authorities often times cooperate on these cases, but they need better enforcement tools and stronger laws. The FIGHT Act delivers them, by banning on-line gambling on dogfights and cockfights; prohibiting shipping adult fighting roosters through the U.S. mail, strengthening forfeiture authority for fighting pits and properties used to conduct these cruel activities; and allowing private rights of action against dogfighters and cockfighters in the absences of federal law enforcement.

More than 500 organizations and law enforcement agencies already endorse The FIGHT Act, including the Small and Rural Law Enforcement Executive Association, the National District Attorneys Association, state sheriffs’ associations, the United Egg Producers, Rose Acre Farms, Hickman’s Family Farms in Arizona, Vital Farms in Texas, Texas Humane Legislation Network, and the American Gaming Association. Read more here.

“I consider passing the FIGHT Act in Congress as urgent a priority as we have at Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy,” Pacelle said.

U.S. Representatives from Texas who are cosponsors of the bill are Jasmine Crockett, D-30; Lloyd Doggett, D-37; Lizzie Fletcher, D-7; Lance Gooden, R-5; and Troy Nehls, R-22. H.R. 2742 has 58 Democrats and 43 Republicans as cosponsors. Senators Cory Booker, D-N.J., and John Kennedy, R-La., are the lead authors of the Senate companion measure, S. 1529.

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