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Cockfighting increasingly popular in Calif., critics say

heypatrick/FlickrAnimal rights advocates say cockfighting is becoming more popular in California.

Cockfighting is on the rise in California, one of the few states where first-time offenders are not charged with a felony for participating in the blood sport, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Legislators say that making cockfighting a felony isn't possible when the state already has a problem with overcrowded prisons.

Cockfighting statistics are difficult to compile, but animal rights advocates at the Humane Society have noted a significant increase in the number of cockfighting incidents reported by local law enforcement officials in California.

"If people understood how widespread this problem is, there would be an uproar," said John Goodwin, director of animal cruelty policy at the Humane Society.

The topic drew media attention last week when a Central California man died from a wound inflicted by a cockfighting rooster.

But Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director at the Humane Society, said cockfighting extends far beyond the Central Valley. She said spectators and organizers are increasingly traveling to California for their events because the laws are more lax than in nearby states like New Mexico.

"When law enforcement raids a cockfighting derby, they see license plates from all sorts of different states," Fearing said. "We've even heard about people moving to California because the cockfighting laws are weaker than in their jurisdiction."

Currently, a first-time offense for participating in a cockfight – either as a spectator or as an owner of one of the roosters – is a misdemeanor with a $1,000 fine, which is often negotiated down to a few hundred dollars, she said.

"People can easily walk away with $200,000 at these things, it's that lucrative," Fearing said. "So a fine of a thousand dollars is merely the cost of doing business for these people."

A spokesman for state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, say that he is planning to introduce several bills this session that will discourage cockfighting without making it a felony.

Rocky Rushing, Calderon's chief of staff, said the first bill would raise the minimum fine to $5,000 and allow law enforcement to seize property obtained through the "ill-gotten gains" of cockfighting. That bill is related to one sponsored last year by Calderon, which created a similar provision for dog fighting.

The second bill will allow police to use nuisance abatement procedures to shut down cockfighting arenas.

Fearing said that cracking down on cockfighting may help California law enforcement eliminate other organized crime as well. Several federal Drug Enforcement Administration reports have linked cockfighting with drug trafficking.

Goodwin, the Humane Society director, agreed, saying that the people involved in cockfighting are often "sadistic."

"These are not the type of people you want in your community," he said.

 

Filed under: Public Safety, Daily Report

Comments

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craw's picture
" Several federal Drug Enforcement Administration reports have linked cockfighting with drug trafficking." They have also linked High School Football games and practically every other human event with drug trafficking...Mr. Fearing please keep the sensationalism at HSUS headquarters... Goodwin, the Humane Society director, agreed, saying that the people involved in cockfighting are often "sadistic." This is a flat out lie - The only physhological profile ever done on cockfighters showed without a doubt that they are perfectly normal and have no abnormal tendencies above the "average" American citizen. "These are not the type of people you want in your community," he said. No, Mr. Goodwin, you are the type of person people do not want in their community: I think it only fair to let your readership know who John Goodwin really is. First off, Mr. Goodwin is not a resident of (State) so he should probably focus on politics in his home state. He is an employee of a well funded out-of-state special interest group, the Humane Society of the United States. The HSUS spends approximately 1/2 of 1% of its approximate $100 million yearly income on actual animal welfare. The rest is spent in exorbitant salaries, travel, and lobbying efforts to achieve their political goals of abolishing all animal usage. Formerly associated with the Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade, he stated, "My goal is the abolition of all animal agriculture". Think about what that means and what his agenda is. While associated with the Animal Liberation Front, he advocated arson to achieve his goals. Referring to planned fur farm raids, he stated, "If the feed barn, and processing barns are away from the animals and downwind, then they could be burned down." Mr Goodwin was arrested multiple times in various states, culminating in his being charged as the alleged ringleader of a gang that vandalized fur stores. He was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison, but was eventually given a lighter sentence. Goodwin has also acted as a spokesperson for the Animal Liberation Front, an organization which the FBI called, "one of the most active extremist elements in the U.S."
doginthefog's picture
"The only physhological profile ever done on cockfighters showed without a doubt that they are perfectly normal and have no abnormal tendencies above the 'average' American citizen." Right, people who enjoy watching animals kill one another for sport are "perfectly normal." And just where is the link to this study you reference? Seriously, your post couldn't be more ignorant if you'd cited Ted Nugent as an expert. Good job.
craw's picture
Dear Dog: You are truly a "dog in the fog". Like all of your ilk, you attack those with whom you disagree - "Why they couldn't possibly be right" you say! Here's your reference; read it and weep... I'm sure you'll be back to somehow try to cast doubt on its validity anyway, since it doesn't agree with your view of the world... Bryant, Clifton D. 1991. Deviant leisure and clandestine lifestyle: Cockfighting as socially disvalued sport. World Leisure and Recreation 33: 17–21. Bryant, Clifton D. and Li Li. 1991. A statistical value profile of cockfighters. Sociology and Social Research 75, 4: 199–209.
JohnDopp's picture
California is a leader in stopping animal cruelty, yet its efforts to stop cockfighting have been lackluster at best. Senator Calderon, we don't need bills to "discourage" cockfighting. We need bills that will stop it cold. Why are legislators resistant to making cockfighting a felony offense in California, as it is in so many other states? Could it be that they're going soft on animal abuse so not to offend constituents from cultures where cruelty is a tradition? Whether it's a Mexican palenque or Filipino Sabong, cruelty is cruelty is cruelty. It must be stopped, and legislators need to stop coddling offenders in their districts.
mbd1978's picture
I, like so many in America, am aware that cockfighting is a huge issue in California. I lived in California for four years, and cockfighting was everywhere around me. That's why I say "YES ON PROP 8!!!"
skysky7002's picture
To Craw: Your argument is flawed as it fails to show why the shortcomings of the HSUS or Goodwin, real or perceived, serve to make cockfighting anything other than the reprehensible activity that it is. The number one reason cockfighting exists is gambling and arguing that gambling is legal in Las Vegas or Atlantic City does not make cockfighting acceptable. All blood sports that involve the involuntary participation of animals that results in the abuse or death of the animal should be outlawed. Now, men on the other hand, can exercise free will. I see nothing wrong with you and other so-called "normal people" exercising your free will to participate in a human form of cockfighting or dogfighting. But then, we know that people who abuse those weaker than themselves - whether animals or children - are cowards.
craw's picture
Dear SkySky: I made no argument either for or against cockfighting or whether it was reprehensible or not reprehensible. What I did was point out statements in the article that were not true, and gave a very abbreviated bio on the ex-convict who made the statements. I made no mention of gambling, but since you brought it up, in the study I referenced there is a question about motivation for participation in cockfighting and, contrary to your asertion that the number one reason it exists is gambling, it placed lower than fifth or sixth (going from memory here) as a motivator for participation. Also, your statement that any blood sport that results in animal death should be outlawed, tells me that you are opposed to hunting and fishing as well; might I also infer that you are a dyed-in-the-wool animal rightist??? Even if that is true surely you must agree that hunting and fishing serve to support solid proven game management techniques so that animals, fish ,and fowl stay healthy in nature by preventing overcrowding, disease, and so forth. By the way have you ever seen a live gamecock up close, perhaps even held one? Or maybe even owned a chicken of any type? Perhaps you have even spoken with a cockfighter??? You may also think that those engaged in cockfighting are cowards, but a great many cockfighters in the profile I referenced are veterans, with many of them (including myself) having participated in combat in service to our country. Have a nice day!
Marianna T's picture
Good article. Note: Goodwin is not the DIRECTOR of HSUS, he is the manager of their Animal Fighting issues / animal cruelty campaign. He is merely one of several individuals quoted as offering an opinion, the article is mostly about the increase in cockfighting in CA and the legal status in CA. Also, HSUS is not an external organization, there is a state level organization in CA. From the HSUS website bio on Mr. Goodwin: Manager, Animal Fighting Issues The Humane Society of the United States John Goodwin is currently the manager of animal fighting issues for The HSUS' Animal Cruelty and Fighting Campaign. He is a nationally recognized expert on animal fighting issues who has been involved in the passage of both state and federal legislation to curb animal fighting. Additionally, he played a major role in the outlawing of cockfighting in Louisiana and New Mexico, which were the last two states to ban the blood sport. Goodwin's investigative efforts have led to the arrests of hundreds of individuals involved in illegal animal fighting rings. In 2008, Goodwin was instrumental in the passage of legislation that made dogfighting a felony crime in Idaho and Wyoming, making the blood sport a felony in all 50 states. A Virginia resident, Goodwin worked closely with legislators in the Commonwealth of Virginia to strengthen the commonwealth's animal fighting laws. In March 2008 Virginia went from having one of the nation's weakest animal fighting laws to one of the strongest. Goodwin was profiled in the August 2008 issue of Men's Journal for his efforts to wipe out dogfighting. If Mr. Goodwin has been involved with agricultural animal or furbearing animal liberation activities, which I sincerely doubt since his focus is clearly human-organized Animal Fighting activities, it is irrelevant anyway to the article.
Molly's picture
I agree with JohnDopp and skysky7002. Couldn't have said it better myself.
NOWA3RDWORLDRESIDENT's picture
Its all mexicans, or 99% anyway. Its all part of the decline of western civilization. A nation is the bi product of the people that inhabit it. Mexico is a beautiful country, the only problem with Mexico, is mexicans. And where they reside in large numbers, they turn it into the sort of living space they are used to... welcome to the third world. No one is more responsible than Reaga, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2...
American's picture
The illegals are the one's who do this, they should be deported when they are caught without question, Americans who do this should serve jail time and pay a hugh fine. If they are caught with fighting birds their property should be taken away, and their cars or anything else they have, this will put a stop to it. They are cruel people, who usually treat their children the same way they do the birds.
lakshdf's picture
this people should worry about rapist/murdurers/drug dealers since the usa is the number one place in the world for child prostitution and drug addicts they are trying to make everyone a vegeterian basically telling people how to live their lifes to AMERICAN and NOWA3RDWORLDRESIDENT racist people like you should should be ashamed
lakshdf's picture
this people should worry about rapist/murdurers/drug dealers since the usa is the number one place in the world for child prostitution and drug addicts they are trying to make everyone a vegeterian basically telling people how to live their lifes

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