WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) today introduced the Fighting Inhumane Gambling and High-Risk Animal Trafficking (FIGHT) Act to enhance the enforcement opportunities against dogfighting and cockfighting. While this cruelty is illegal, it remains widespread.
“When it comes to dog and cock fights, these abusers are organized and dangerous—to people as well as innocent animals. It’s illegal to hurt God’s creatures for sport, and our bill would give law enforcement more tools to end this widespread abuse,” said Kennedy.
"Animal fighting is cruel, illegal, and unacceptable. It’s time we take stronger action to stop these heinous abuses against animals and protect them from being exploited for entertainment and profit. This bill will tighten enforcement to put a stop to illegal animal fighting,” said Booker.
Despite being illegal, cockfighting and dogfighting are still common across the country. Cockfights are often hubs of violence because of the illegal activity that accompanies them. Cockfighting also spreads diseases like avian influenza, so people who handle bloodied birds risk getting infected by them.
The FIGHT Act would amend Section 26 of the Animal Welfare Act to enhance the enforcement opportunities under the law. The bill would:
- Ban simulcasting and gambling on animal fights in the U.S., no matter where the broadcast signals for dogfights or the cockfights originate.
- Halt the shipment of mature roosters (chickens only) shipped through the U.S. mail. (This legislation does not address shipping baby chicks, which are used in accepted animal agricultural operations. Shipping dogs through the mail is already illegal.)
- Create a citizen suit provision to allow private right of action against illegal animal fighters and ease the resource burden on federal agencies.
- Enhance forfeiture provisions to include real property used in the commission of an animal fighting crime.
Reps. Andrea Salinas (D-Ore.) and Don Bacon (R-Neb.) have introduced the House version of the bill.
More than 100 organizations endorse the FIGHT Act, including Animal Wellness Action, the American Gaming Association and the Rural Sheriffs and Small Law Enforcement Association.