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Stronger bill against cockfighting sought

Staff Report
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.”

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No legislation had been filed as of Monday evening, but Gil­bert said a bill is being prepar­ed.

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The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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