Cockfighting is a cruel bloodsport in which cockerels, young roosters, are forced to fight in cages. They’re provoked and riled up by having their feathers or beaks pulled and then pit against each other until one is dead or severely injured. Blades and spikes are attached to their legs so that they can do serious damage to one another. They’re also mutilated in different ways to make them “better fighters.” Those who don’t die in the ring are often so badly injured that they are killed anyway. All this cruelty and more is why the tradition is illegal in the United States since 2007.
The tradition was still very popular and continued in U.S. territories until just recently a ban came into effect. As of December 20th, a federal law forbids cockfighting on Guam and other U.S. territories. However, in the law that prohibits cockfighting (which took effect in 2008), the shipment of fighting birds was clearly banned as well.
Yet, Animal Wellness Action released live-animal shipping records that prove U.S. cockfighters illegally mailed over 500 shipments of fighting birds to Guam from 2017-2019! In total, nearly 8,800 birds were shipped to Guam in 33 months.
The birds were purposely labeled as “brood fowl” or “show fowl” as an effort to get away with breaking the law. Section 26 of the Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. 2156 states: “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly sell, buy, possess, train, transport, deliver, or receive any animal for purposes of having the animal participate in an animal fighting venture,” and it explicitly state that the use of “United States Postal Service or any instrumentality of interstate commerce for commercial speech for purposes of advertising an animal, or an instrument described in subsection (d), for use in an animal fighting venture” is unlawful.
This is devastating news. Different U.S. facilities are knowingly and deceivingly fueling cockfighting rings elsewhere. If the law was being disregarded all this time, it can continue even now that cockfighting is banned on Guam as well. That’s why Animal Wellness Foundation and Animal Wellness Action set up a rewards program that will provide a $2,500 reward to anyone who provides information that results in a successful federal prosecution of anyone who violates the federal law against animal fighting.
Although cockfighting is federally banned in the U.D., the law does not stop some people (as witnessed above). Also, it can still be prosecuted as a misdemeanor in some states rather than a felony. One of the states infamous for continuing to participate in cockfighting is Kentucky. Sign this petition calling for an official end to cockfighting in the state!
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