Will James Campbell continue to say?
- “I just raise mine to sell. I take them to shows. I don’t have anything to do with cockfighting.”
Or, will James Campbell legally testify and say?
- “I support cockfighting freedom. I am for the repeal of cockfighting ban.”
Is James Campbell a dunghill and a chicken profiteer?
- Check out UNOFC article Saying “I’m A Cockfighter” is NOT a crime.
– Gameness til the End
Bill would make crime a felony
By Alan Johnson
The Columbus Dispatch
Tuesday November 27, 2012 9:03 PM
When James Campbell, of Franklin, Ohio, appeared on the cover of Pit Games, an international cockfighting magazine, it was a sure sign of Ohio’s lax laws on the animal blood sport.
Campbell, who runs Osage Game Farm in Warren County and says he has nothing to do with cockfighting, raised the 2009 champion rooster in the “World Slasher Cup,” a cockfighting tournament held twice annually in the Philippines, where it is legal.
But Ohio’s law would get tougher with House Bill 260, being heard by an Ohio House committee Wednesday that would make cockfighting a felony in most cases. Ohio is the only Great Lakes state, and one of just 14 states overall, in which cockfighting is not a felony. It is illegal in all 50 states.
Cockfighting is a fierce competition where two specially-bred roosters, fitted with sharp blades attached to their legs, are pitted in a fight to the death. Spectators usually bet out the outcome.
Under the proposed law, police will be able to confiscate “any equipment or devices used in training roosters for the purpose of cockfighting or as part of cockfighting,” as well as any rooster that police believe has been or is intended to be used in cockfighting.
If the cockfighting bill is approved, it would be the last piece of an eight-part, animal-welfare agreement brokered in 2010 by former Gov. Ted Strickland between the Humane Society of the United States and the Ohio Farm Bureau. The agreement included five new rules for farm animals, a ban on sale and ownership of exotic animals, plus crackdowns on puppy mills and cockfighting.
As a result of the deal, the national Humane Society halted what promised to be a contentious statewide ballot issue on the humane care and slaughter of farm animals. The organization gathered more than 500,000 signatures on a petition to put the issue to a public vote.
Since that time, all the other pieces have fallen into place, including rules promulgated by the Ohio Farm Standards Board and most recently Senate Bill 130, the puppy mill legislation, passed by the Ohio Senate legislature yesterday and sent to Gov. John Kasich for his signature.
But like the feisty creatures it proposes to control, a cockfighting law has been evasive.
John Goodwin, director of animal cruelty policy for the Humane Society, said there has been opposition from some of the estimated 400 bird breeders in the state who formed a trade group and political action committee.
“I think they have masked who they really are, trying to muddy the water,” Goodwin said.
Campbell, who previously testified to a legislative committee against the cockfighting bill, said in a brief telephone interview yesterday that he is not involved in cockfighting. “I just raise mine to sell. I take them to shows,” he said. “I don’t have anything to do with cockfighting.”
But Campbell’s comments in the Pit Games magazine indicate otherwise. The article says Campbell raises and sells 800 birds each season “to the cockfighting-friendly countries of Mexico and the Philippines.” Further, he is quoted as saying the birds are “born to fight” and that he favors breeds that can “withstand punishment.”
YouTube videos also show Campbell’s property with hundreds of cages as well as cockfighting footage.
Goodwin said Campbell is one of the one of the best-known American breeders of cockfighting roosters.
The bill sponsored by Rep. Tim Derickson, R-Oxford, would boost the penalty to a felony from a fourth-degree misdemeanor if weapons, money and wagering are involved, or an admission is charged. “ Cockfighting tends to be exceedingly profitable and the monetary benefit of cockfighting far outweighs the current penalties associated with this crime,” Derickson said in sponsor testimony. It includes exemptions for show birds.
The bill is supported by the Humane Society, the Farm Bureau, the Ohio Poultry Association, the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association and the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association.