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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Bring an End to Cockfighting and Dogfighting

By Wayne Pacelle, President of Animal Wellness Action

To the Editor:

A tip of the hat to Congressman Jeff Van Drew and Senator Cory Booker for collaborating on a bipartisan bill to combat the scourges of dogfighting and cockfighting.

New Jersey is hardly immune from this form of barbaric treatment of animals. In March, there was a major cockfighting bust in Galloway Township, and a month earlier, there was a dogfighting ring broken up in Monmouth County.

Cockfighters strap knives or gaffs to the birds’ legs to enhance the bloodletting in the fighting pits, while the dogs use their biting ability to tear flesh and deliver severe wounds to other dogs. The Fighting Inhumane Gambling and High-Risk Trafficking (FIGHT) Act, H.R. 2742, enhances U.S. capacity to deter and interdict these crimes.U.S.-based cockfighters do regular business with cartels that control major animal-fighting venues in Mexico and whose tentacles reach far into the United States.

In Mexico, in February, there were 6 murdered and 14 shot in a spasm of cartel violence at a cockfight; 20 people were massacred at a cockfighting derby a year earlier – with both incidents claiming the lives of Americans. Organized crime controls the cockfighting venues in the Philippines, too, with 32 people kidnapped from cockfights last and never found. In the Philippines in 2022, there was $13 billion wagered on online cockfights, a practice known as “e-sabong.”

The smuggling of cockfighting birds from Mexico was the cause of 10 of 15 outbreaks of virulent Newcastle Disease to hit the U.S. in recent decades.

To stop these barbaric forms of animal use, we need to give law enforcement more tools and we need to see these tools exercised. It’s urgent that Congress pass the Booker-Van Drew legislation.

WAYNE PACELLE

Washington, D.C.

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