Target: Luis Fortuño, Governor of Puerto Rico
Goal: Put an end to legal and illegal cockfighting
Guam, the Northern Marianas Islands and Puerto Rico are the only places controlled by the United States that still allow legal cockfighting. Taxpayer dollars support legal government-regulated clubs while illegal cockfighting also runs rampant. Tell the Governor of Puerto Rico to appeal to the legislature and begin enforcing a strict ban on the long-maligned and cruel sport.
There are 86 government-regulated clubs in Puerto Rico where cockfighting is legal. However, to avoid the fees associated with legal cockfighting, many participants have shifted to illegal cockfighting. People watch as chickens fight each other, often equipped with razor-sharp gaffs. Most of the chickens are either killed in the fight or discarded when their match leaves them with broken bones and internal organ damage. Yet Puerto Ricans celebrate the sport as a “social equalizer” where contestants from any background can have their chance to win. In October 2010, citizens on the island rejected a measure that would have banned cockfighting.
The government needs to step in and end this barbaric practice. By banning cockfighting and cracking down on illegal fights, they can send a message that animal cruelty is unacceptable, no matter what its historic or cultural significance may be. Luis Foruño should use his leadership for progressive change and call upon legislators to end legal cockfighting and send a message of zero tolerance for those who continue to participate illegally.
Dear Mr. Luis Fortuño,
As a territory that is protected by the United States, we feel that Puerto Rico should be held to the same standards as all of the other states in the country. Animal cruelty is an issue that the United States needs to hold a firm, progressive stance on. So while all 50 states have made cockfighting illegal, it still continues to exist in Puerto Rico, Guam and the Marianas Islands. It does not bode well to think that our tax dollars are going to support the 86 government-regulated clubs where the brutal sport of cockfighting continues to go on. Equipped with razors and other instruments, chickens fight each other to the death. Even the victor is often left with fatal damage to its internal organs and bones and is often left to die a painful death.
We know that the will to ban cockfighting is not apparent among the people of Puerto Rico. We understand that the sport has a historic and cultural significance as an arena where people of any background can become winners in a matter of seconds. But these animals are suffering and it is your role as a leader to make it known that you will not tolerate this sort of cruelty in Puerto Rico. We ask that you please not only ask the legislature to join you in supporting a ban on legal cockfighting but also begin cracking down on the large illegal market for cockfighting that exists to avoid fees and regulations. Your strong ideal for animal welfare will be lauded by leaders around the world and throughout the United States. Please do what is right for these chickens.
[Your Name Here]