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Animal Law

Cockfighting Soon Illegal in 50 States

Posted Jul 13, 2007 12:56 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Cockfighting will soon be illegal in all 50 states. A bill banning the sport in Louisiana, the only state where it is currently legal, was signed yesterday by the state governor and takes effect next summer.

It is already illegal to gamble on cockfights in Louisiana under a law that took effect this year, reports the Associated Press. A rural tradition, the contests pit two specially bred roosters, often wearing sharp metal spurs strapped onto their feet, in bloody fights that frequently kill at least one of the birds. Animal rights activists contend the sport is barbaric, but it is still popular in some parts of the world.

It remains legal in Puerto Rico, and a Florida-based Web site broadcaster filed a First Amendment challenge in federal court in Miami this week to a federal criminal law that prohibits creating or selling depictions of animal cruelty, the Miami Herald reports.

"These birds are doing what they naturally do," Jason Atkins, 35, an ex-Marine sniper who operates the site, tells the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Sun-Sentinel. "To me, it's more humane than fishing or hunting."

In another case, which is now being appealed in federal court in Philadelphia, the plaintiff challenges as unconstitutionally vague a ban on televising in the U.S. dog fights taking place in Japan, where the sport is legal, as an ABAJournal.com post and the New York Times discussed earlier this week.

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