Target: Utah state legislature
Goal: Make cockfighting a felony in Utah
The Nevada state legislature recently passed a law strengthening the penalties for cockfighting. This leaves Utah as the only state in the western part of the country where cockfighting is not a felony. The highest possible penalty in Utah for taking part in cockfighting is a fine of $1,000, but most offenders face even smaller penalties. For those who profit from organized cockfighting even the maximum fine presents a minimal deterrent.. However, past efforts to step up the penalties against cockfighting and make it a felony failed to make it through the Utah state legislature.
In Utah, a recent statewide poll indicates that over 70 percent of Utah’s citizens support making cockfighting a felony, with a tiny minority opposed. Given the positive direction that most states have made on this front, the pressure is mounting on Utah’s legislators to tackle the issue seriously and make participation in this “sport” a felony. The so-called sport of cockfighting makes a game out of brutalizing innocent animals. While roosters naturally fight each other for food, a mate, or to maintain the pecking order, normal rooster fights are short and rarely result in any serious injury. Cockfighting, on the other hand, involves aggressively trained roosters who are forced to fight, often to the death.
Cockfighting is illegal in all states and a felony in all but 10 states, of which Utah is one of the most lenient in sentencing. The more lenient its penalty, the less likely a state ban will deter criminals from taking part in cockfighting. The state of Utah must send a strong message that cockfighting is an ugly and despicable bloodsport that cannot be tolerated. Every time a guiltless animal is painfully killed in a cockfight it smears the repute of the community in which it took place. Please sign the petition below to demand that the Utah state legislature take this issue seriously and make participation in cockfighting a felony.
Dear members of the Utah state legislature:
With the recent passage of a Nevada bill, your state is now the only one west of the Mississippi wherein cockfighting is a mere misdemeanor. As you may know, cockfighting is a bloody and atrocious activity that brutalizes innocent animals, and while it is illegal in all 50 states, lax penalties in states such as yours provide little deterrence to the criminals who engage in the so-called “sport.”
For the big players in the cockfighting racket, the maximum fine in Utah of $1,000 is a perfectly tolerable price to pay considering the hundreds of thousands of dollars they can make from engineering the fights and taking bets. Thus, the penalty for what your state labels a misdemeanor is least likely to impact those same criminals who profit the most from the cockfights. Your state must send the message that Utah is no place for this bloodsport.
I demand that you collectively work to ensure that innocent animals are no longer turned into killing machines and forced to fight to death; the best way of doing so is to make the punishment for cockfighting a real and serious method of deterring the crime. Please craft and pass a law to make cockfighting a felony in Utah.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: heypatrick via Flickr