Group says 137 Guamanians may have illegally imported gamefowl

(Photo courtesy Animal Wellness Action)

Animal Wellness Action is reporting that as many as 137 Guam residents imported nearly 9,000 fighting birds into Guam over the last three years.

In their release, AWA says “it is probable that these ‘importers’ are cockfighters or ‘cockfighting brokers’ who sold birds to others involved in the sport.”

The top 10 importers received about 60 percent of the nearly 9,000 fighting birds. The top importer brought in 1,608 birds for fighting or closely related purposes.

In all, there were 57 individuals who imported more than 25 birds, according to their release.

The names of the importers were not released.

This is the group’s second news release based on their review of shipping records provided by the Guam Department of Agriculture. They say their analysis excluded individuals who shipped birds for other purposes.

“A small number of Guamanians are dominating this illegal trade,” said Wayne Pacelle, founder of Animal Wellness Action.

“Our evidence indicates that the people who shipped fighting animals to Guam were enmeshed in the cockfighting industry, and it logically follows that the people they sold to were knee-deep in the same enterprise,” he said.

AWA renewed their request to the government of Guam to revamp their live-animal clearance process and instruct Department of Agriculture staff to deny certification for any additional shipments of gamefowl destined for Guam, except in cases where the shippers and receivers can affirmatively demonstrate that they are not involved in cockfighting.

Although the federal ban against cockfighting in the territories took affect on December 20, the law against shipping cockfighting birds across state and territorial lines has been in effect since 2002.