Survey claims many Guam residents oppose cockfighting

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Washington-based groups Animal Wellness Foundation and Animal Wellness Action have released topline polling data from a “comprehensive, statistically valid” survey of Guam residents about animal cruelty and cockfighting, with the survey claiming to reveal deep and broad support for an upgrade of the territory’s anti-cruelty law and for the federal ban on cockfighting.

The poll, conducted by Market Research & Development, Inc. sampled 400 Guamanians, over a two-week period which concluded on December 12th. The results of the poll indicate:

· Nine out of ten Guamanians (89%) are concerned about the mistreatment of animals on Guam.
· About 90% believe animal cruelty laws on Guam should be strengthened.
· Only 7% of Guamanians have been to a cockfight in the last year.
· Only two out of ten (21%) Guamanians favor cockfighting while 60% oppose it.
· More than half (52%) of residents are not aware of the federal ban on cockfighting scheduled to go into effect on December 20.
· When it comes to the federal ban on cockfighting, 60% favor the ban and only 25% oppose it.

”Our poll results reveal that Guamanians are concerned about animal cruelty on Guam in overwhelming numbers,” said Jay R. Merrill, president of Guam-based Market Research & Development, Inc., in a news release. “Nearly everybody polled wants to see Guam’s animal cruelty laws strengthened. In addition, a solid majority oppose cockfighting and support the federal ban.

The Congress upgraded the federal law against animal fighting nearly one year ago, giving cockfighters and law enforcement a one-year grace period before the comprehensive ban takes effect. The measure takes full effect on December 20th, banning animal fighting, possessing animals for fighting, attending cockfights, and other associated activities.

“This poll should serve as a wake-up call to all of Guam’s political leaders,” noted Wayne Pacelle, founder of Animal Wellness Action, a national organization promoting legal standards against cruelty. “The people of Guam don’t support staged fights between animals, and they are appalled by the idea that people attach knives to the roosters’ legs and watch them hack each other to death – all for our entertainment and for gambling.”

All 50 states ban cockfighting, and the federal government has enacted a comprehensive ban on cockfighting. Within recent weeks, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has advised village mayors not to seek permission for cockfighting events at their festivals, because the activity is forbidden under federal law.

Earlier this week, AWF and Animal Wellness Action announced a rewards program to run for an indefinite time that provides a $2,500 reward for any individual who provides critical information that results in a successful federal prosecution of an individual or set of individuals who violate the federal law against animal fighting (7 U.S.C. § 2156). The publicizing of the rewards program will concentrate on the U.S. territories, where cockfighting is explicitly outlawed starting on December 20, 2019. The rewards program is mentioned on the new campaign website, www.endcockfighting.org, which will serve as a comprehensive resource about the issue and call citizens to action to help. AWF and AWA also today announced the launch of an advertising campaign to raise awareness about illegal cockfighting activities and urged cockfighting enthusiasts to observe the rule of law.

Market Research & Development has been conducting consumer and public opinion research on Guam, the CNMI and Micronesia for more than 30 years. The survey results are based upon 400 random interviews of residents selected through a two-stage random sampling of households, and then a random selection of a respondent living in the household over the age of 18. The survey was conducted via telephone utilizing published landline and mobile phone numbers. The results are accurate to with +/- 5% at the 95% confidence level.

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