Sunday, July 06, 2008

Cockfighting increasingly illegal and underground

Next month, cockfighting will no longer be legal anywhere in the United States, when a ban takes effect in Louisiana. Circulation of the sport's magazine, the Gamecock, has declined to 8,000 from 14,000, but the bloody sport lives on in lower profile in many rural areas, Adam Ellick reports for The New York Times from New Mexico, which last year became the 49th state to ban it. (NYT photo of New Mexico cockfighter Ed Lowry by Brian Berman)

"Light penalties — a first offense is a petty misdemeanor — have not only failed to stop the fights, they continue to attract cockfighters from four of New Mexico’s five neighboring states, where the sport is a felony," Ellick writes. Cockfighters have gone to court, "claiming tribal, religious and cultural sovereignty," but been unsuccessful, and law-enforcement officials are conducting raids — and causing some grumbling. "Some police officers in this state say the pressure for stepped-up enforcement from the animal rights lobby has become so intense that resources are being diverted from more serious crimes, like drunken driving and amphetamine abuse." (Read more)

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