Former state AGs back cockfighting ban

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Animal Wellness Action has released live-animal shipping records from the Guam Department of Agriculture that the group claims show more than 500 illegal shipments of fighting birds to Guam from 2017 to 2019.
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Three former state attorneys general are calling on leaders in Guam and the other U.S. Territories to enforce the ban on cockfighting.

Their call follows a statement Friday from Shawn Anderson, the U.S. Attorney for Guam and the CNMI who is warning that his office is prepared to pursue violations of the ban when it takes effect on Friday.

Three former attorneys general are urging political leaders and law enforcement officials on Guam and the other territories to “stand together and let the animal fighting community know that they must adhere to the new federal law that takes effect Friday banning all cockfighting … dogfighting and other similar activities.”

A release from the Animal Wellness Action Group quotes the former AGs of Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, the last three states to outlaw animal fighting.

Former Oklahoma attorney general Drew Edmondson is quoted as saying that “Cockfighting is a settled matter, as a question of moral conduct and law.”

“Cockfighting is not a feature of Latino culture, despite the arguments brandished by animal fighters in my state,” said New Mexico’s former Attorney General Patricia Madrid

“For many years, I heard from cockfighters that citizens of Cajun descent had a cultural right to cockfight,” said former Louisiana Attorney General Richard Ieyoub. “But polling data in our state showed that people from every region and every heritage considered animal fighting to be inhumane and unacceptable.”

The Animal Wellness organization is offering a $2,500 bounty for any information that leads to the conviction of anyone who violates the cockfighting ban which takes effect this Friday,

On Friday, Shawn Anderson, the U.S. Attorney for Guam and the CNMI, issued a statement advising that his office will make every effort to pursue violations of the cockfighting ban “within the available resources of the Department of Justice.”

In response to a request for comment from the Pacific News Center, Anderson noted that the enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 has effectively criminalized every aspect of the animal fighting industry nationwide.

Beyond criminal enforcement of this new provision, Anderson said “our office may also seek civil forfeiture of any property involved in or facilitating such an offense” and courts may also order a defendant to make restitution payments for the costs of caring for seized animals.”

In response to the release from Animal Wellness Action, Speaker Tina Muna Barnes issued a statement saying: “In the case of cockfighting, nobody sought the input of the People of Guam when they decided to craft legislation that would impact our local residents. Now a bunch of former attorneys general from other States are telling me that they know more about our island and culture? Give me a break!” said the Speaker.

Let us know what you think by answering our poll question “Do you think cockfighting should be banned?” You can find the PNC weekly poll at pncguam.com.

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