LOUISVILLE, Ky (LEX 18) — An animal rights group is calling for tougher enforcement of cockfighting breeders, alleging some in Kentucky are illegally shipping birds overseas.
The group Animal Wellness Action held an online news briefing Thursday alongside Chris Gorman, a former Kentucky attorney general, and Kentucky Sen. Morgan McGarvey.
“Kentucky has an anemic law on cockfighting,” said Wayne Pacelle, the group’s founder. Pacelle said the group’s effort is focused on breeding “kingpins” who ship birds out of the country.
The group sent letters on Thursday to Kentucky’s two U.S. attorneys, urging them to look into seven Kentucky breeders for potential federal violations.
Some of the group’s evidence included interviews with breeders by a Philippines-based cockfighting broadcaster who had traveled to the U.S.
Federal law bans buying, selling, possessing or transporting animals to participate at a fighting venue. Pacelle said Kentucky is one of eight states that treat cockfighting as a misdemeanor.
McGarvey said there would be legislation introduced in the next state General Assembly to ban the sport in Kentucky. Gorman said state law is “weak” and cockfighting should be a felony.
The Washington-based Animal Wellness Action pushes for tougher animal cruelty laws around the country.