Animal rights groups ask court for more time in cockfighting case

(Photo courtesy Animal Wellness Action)

Animal rights advocates have joined the argument centered around the prohibition of cockfighting on Guam and they’re asking the District Court to give them time to make their case.

Sedfrey Linsagnan had asked the federal court to make a decision on whether the US government is violating the constitutional rights of island residents by prohibiting cockfighting.

The court’s decision, however, may be delayed as the Animal Wellness Action, Animal Wellness Foundation and the Center for a Humane Economy have now jumped in on the case.

Holding a vested interest in the case, the animal rights advocates liken a cockfighting arena to the live animal market in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China where the global COVID-19 pandemic began. They believe the pandemic was caused by the zoonotic transmission of the novel coronavirus.

Their main argument hinges on the Animal Welfare Act which prohibits animal fighting ventures in all American jurisdictions.

But Linsangan has argued that cockfighting is a competition reflective of Guam’s culture, custom, tradition, and political rights. The animal advocates, disagree, arguing that alleged cultural harms are not absolute and social norms are changing across the US and in Guam.

“The Center believes that if Guam continues to operate as a last bastion for cockfighting in the United States, it will do lasting reputational damage to its image as a tourist-friendly destination, weakening the island’s biggest industry of tourism and hospitality.”