Target: Representative John Boehner, United States Congress Speaker of the House
Goal: Strengthen laws against cockfighting
Recently, an eastern New Orleans breeding ground for cockfighting was raided. Nearly 600 birds were seized, and the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LASPCA) is struggling to find homes for them. Even though cockfighting is illegal across all fifty states at both the federal and state levels, some states have lower penalties than others, making the illegal activity popular within certain areas.
Louisiana was the last state to ban cockfighting, prohibiting the activity in 2008. The penalty for a first offense is a maximum fine of 1,000 dollars and up to six months in prison. Second or third offenses are considered felonies, and offenders face up to six months in prison at hard labor and a maximum fine of 2,000 dollars. In the above incident, The Times-Picayune reports that a man in his late forties, Trinh Tran, was arrested on felony charges for animal cruelty and cockfighting. He said he had never hosted a fight, but trained and bred birds in Bay St.Louis, Mississippi, and Alabama. Mississippi and Alabama have the weakest cockfighting laws in the United States, bringing to light a major issue with current cockfighting laws: some states’ fines are very low and there are no consequences for spectators.
For example, in Alabama, operating a cockfighting ring is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a measly fifty dollar fine. In Mississippi, cockfighting is also considered a misdemeanor crime, and the maximum fine is 100 dollars.
Government officials can begin to rectify the issues with these laws by passing the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act. If Congress passes this, the federal statute on cockfighting will include spectators in addition to operators, trainers, and breeders. If people are less willing to watch these fights due to worries over being fined or jailed, less fights will occur. If Congress does not pass this act, it is unlikely that cockfighting incidents will decrease.
By signing the petition below, you will Urge Congress to pass the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which will decrease the appeal of cockfighting and hopefully lead to the eventual discontinuation of the activity.
Dear Rep. Boehner,
A recent Louisiana cockfighting raid has brought to light how serious this problem is within the nation. Some states consider cockfighting a felony, while others classify it as a misdemeanor punishable by minimal fines. This is unacceptable.
In order to protect these animals and see cockfighting cease, stricter laws must be put in place. One way to begin to address this issue would be for Congress to pass the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which will broaden the scope of the federal law to include spectators.
Passing this act would make cockfighting a riskier, and therefore less appealing, activity for spectators. Without interest in the activity, cockfighting will not survive. We urge Congress to pass this act and prevent further incidents of animal cruelty.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Amshudhagar via Wikimedia Commons