With the recent Supreme Court decision that ended two years of efforts to overturn Oklahoma’s cock-fighting ban, and the defeat of a pro-cockfighting politician in Louisiana, the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals look to focus on enacting bans in Louisiana and New Mexico, the last two states in the United States where cockfighting is allowed.
PETA is focusing on New Mexico. In a press conference with Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez and actress Rue McClanahan, PETA’s Dan Mathews said,
Yes. Absolutely. We are targeting New Mexico.
Over the past few years, New Mexico has become a hot spot for filming Hollywood productios and Mathews hopes to convince producers to avoid the state until a ban on cockfighying is passed.
Cockfighting is already banned in 13 of New Mexico’s 33 counties, and in 29 of its cities, including Albuquerque. A proposed ban on cockfighting passed New Mexico’s state house earlier this year, but couldn’t get out of committee in the state Senate.
PETA wants the state to take up a cockfighting ban during its 60-day session that begins in Jaunuary. According to the Albuqurque Journal, a poll it took thsi summer found that two-thirds of registered voters supported a ban on cockfighting.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, however, remains non-committal on a ban, with his spokesman telling the Albuquerque Journal,
Cockfighting is already banned in the majority of counties and municipalities. The governor is willing to discuss and consider any legislative measure after a full and thorough debate on all sides.
Meanwhile, HSUS is looking to push a ban in Louisiana, where its political action committee spent $250,000 in advertising against a pro-cockfighting candidate for U.S. Senate. HSUS’s Wayne Pacelle was quoted in The Guardian (UK) as saying,
We intend to eradicate this cruel, barbaric practice. My advice to anyone moving to Louisiana thinking it’s a cockfighting refuge is not to unpack their bags — it’s going to be a very short stay.
PETA targets NM film industry over cockfighting. Dennis Domrzalski, New Mexico Business Weekly, November 15, 2004.
Cockfight ban gets TV star’s support. Kate Nash, Albuquerque Journal, November 16, 2004.
Final battle to rid the US of ‘barbaric’ cockfighting. Richard Luscombe, The Observor, November 21, 2004.