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Judge: Feds May Ban Transport of Cocks

May 31, 2005

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) _ A federal judge rejected arguments Tuesday that a federal law cracking down on cockfighting discriminates against Cajuns and Hispanics.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty also brushed aside allegations that the 2002 law, which makes it illegal to ship animals out of state for fighting, violates the rights of people in Louisiana and New Mexico, the only states where cockfighting is legal.

``This is a devastating blow for the cockfighting industry,″ exulted Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States. ``People flock to Louisiana and New Mexico from other states, and cockfighting survives only because these out-of-state cockfighters bring their birds to Louisiana.″

The measure imposes penalties of up to a year in jail and $15,000 in fines for anyone who ships an animal from one state to another or to a foreign country so that it can fight another animal.

The United Gamefowl Breeders Association, a national cockfighting group based in Albany, Ohio, contended that the law interfered with states’ rights to decide whether to allow cockfighting and discriminated against ethnic groups for whom cockfighting is part of the culture.

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On the Net:

United Gamefowl Breeders Association: www.pitmaster.com/ugba/

Humane Society of the United States: http://www.hsus.org

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