NEW YORK— The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today thanked Louisiana lawmakers for passing SB 523, sponsored by Sen. J.P. Morrell (D-New Orleans) giving law enforcement officers more tools to crack down on cockfighting. The bill passed the House last week by a vote of 69-18, and the Senate passed the bill late last night by a vote of 34-4. It now heads to the desk of Governor Bobby Jindal for his signature.
"Cockfighting is a violent blood sport with devastating consequences for the victimized birds who are forced to fight to the death for the entertainment and financial gain of those involved in this cruel industry," said Sherry Rout, state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Southern region. "The ASPCA thanks Louisiana state lawmakers for enhancing the penalties associated with this illegal activity, and we strongly urge Governor Jindal to sign Senate Bill 523."
SB 523 strengthens Louisiana’s cockfighting laws by instituting a prohibition on the possession, manufacturing, buying, selling or trading of paraphernalia. Some of the items covered under this new section of the law include spurs, gaffs, knives, and leather training spur covers, among others. SB 523 also stipulates that when one chicken is subjected to an act that constitutes cockfighting, each chicken involved will be counted as a separate offense. If convicted, first time offenders will face a minimum fine of $750 and up to one year of jail time.
“This barbaric activity not only causes pain and suffering for the birds involved, but also poses a serious threat to public safety as additional criminal activities are often present at cockfights, including weapons possession, drugs and other illegal activities,” said Stacy Wolf, senior vice president of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Group. “We welcome the passage of this bill as it sends a clear message that cockfighting is a serious crime and it will not be tolerated in our country.”
Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states. During cockfights, birds commonly suffer from injuries including punctured lungs, broken bones and pierced eyes. These injuries are often the result of knives and artificial gaffs—long, dagger-like attachments—that are attached to the birds to maximize injury. Often, steroids or other drugs are administered to the birds to make them more aggressive.
For more information about the ASPCA or to join the Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.