Alabama Political Reporter
A group trying to increase penalties for cockfighting in Alabama plans to bring a substantially similar bill to one introduced last year.
The Humane Society of the United States has also asked the Alabama attorney general’s office to investigate the nonprofit status of the Alabama Gamefowl Breeders’ Association, which opposed the 2011 legislation. The Humane Society accused them of being a “front-group” for cockfighters.
A lobbyist for the Breeders’ Association said the complaint “sounded frivolous” and said previous legislation has been overly broad.
The Humane Society, which has tried to toughen penalties for cockfighting in recent years, said Alabama’s cockfighting punishments are the weakest in the nation. Those caught operating cockpits or organizing public matches pay, at most, a $50 fine.
Cockfighting often involves cocks being fitted with stainless-steel blades, called gaffs, attached to the birds’ heels. The birds fight until at least one dies. Mindy Gilbert, director of Alabama state affairs for the Humane Society of the United States, said many contests end with both birds dying.
“We’re putting animals into an area from which they have no escape, and they’re fighting to death,” she said. “The typical (wounds) are eviscerations — lung punctures, eye punctures.”
No legislation had been filed as of Monday evening, but Gilbert said a bill is being prepared.