Monday, October 13, 2008

Va. cockfighters decry laws quashing their sport

New laws in Virginia have essentially outlawed all cockfighting in the state, a move that supporters of the blood sport say ignores tradition and a need for oversight.

"What happens is the people who've been wanting order and setting rules get out, and then they're not there to police it anymore," Tommy Greene, whose family has been breeding chickens for cockfights for five generations, told Mason Adams of The Roanoke Times, which ran the photo. "There's the [Virginia Gamefowl Breeders Association] people and there's some other people. Why punish us? The law was more than adequate."

In the past two years, lawmakers have cracked down on cockfighting. "In 2007, Congress passed a law increasing the penalty for transporting animals across state lines for the purposes of fighting from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a felony," Adams notes. "The General Assembly passed legislation this year that strengthened penalties for animal fighting and effectively closed the loopholes that allowed [legal cockfighting]."

The story shows that the Times continues to chase stories of interest where it finds them, not just in its backyard, as most papers do now. Blackstone is in Southside Virginia, 130 miles and two and a half hours from Roanoke. (Read more)

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