Carefully read and educate yourself on your individual liberty and human rights.
– Gameness til the End
Seeking Support for a Bill to legalize Cockfighting in Alabama
AGDN CALL TO ACTION: 2/6/2014 – firstname.lastname@example.org
The AGDN has prepared a letter requesting sponsorship for a bill that legalizes and protects cockfighting in Alabama. The AGDN requests that you participate by sending a copy of the provided letter, or one you have written yourself, to your Alabama representatives and senators.
- Locate your Alabama legislators here: http://www.legislature.state.al.us/misc/zipsearch.html
- Follow instructions to email or contact your legislator.
- Copy and Paste the letter below, or your own, into the body of the email and send.
- Provide your contact information at the bottom of the letter. Include name, email and phone number.
- It’s also a good idea to call your Reps and Senators as well, their phone numbers are provided when you locate your legislator.
FORM LETTER (copy and paste into email)
To all Alabama Representatives and Senators,
The time has come to legalize and protect cockfighting in Alabama. It is important to remember that anti-cockfighting laws have been driven by the same political forces that would ultimately like to see the end of commercial food production and sport hunting in America. The exact same core rationale asserting cruelty is advanced as an argument to abolish all of these activities. Alabama responded to pressure from animal rights groups in 1996 by making hunting a constitutional right. Cockfighting deserves the same protections.
Indeed, in 1996 Alabama amended the state constitution and added, “All persons shall have the right to hunt and fish in this state in accordance with law and regulations.” The threat of animal rights groups asserting the cruelty of sport hunting motivated the drive for constitutional protection explicitly based on tradition and economic benefit. Proponents argued that “lawmakers drafted the measure in response to a perceived threat from anti-hunting and other animal welfare organizations.” of these political lobbies. (John A. Duff, J.D.. LL.M., Alabama Considers Constitutional “Right to Fish”, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program, 1996). Unfortunately, cockfighting has been relegated to the shadows and denied these protections arbitrarily and in violation of constitutional equal protection guarantees of the Alabama State constitution and the US constitution.
Unfortunately, constitutional justifications for cockfighting have been rejected by the courts. The courts have placed the responsibility to regulate cockfighting in the hands of the legislature. The Alabama legislature has the unique opportunity to analyze cockfighting beyond a mere rational basis test, the criteria currently applied to cockfighting restrictions judicially, and conduct a thorough examination that reveals the necessity to protect this important Alabama heritage and the persons that participate in its traditions.
Cockfighting should be legislatively protected based on the exact same rationale of tradition and economy. Cockfighting dates back thousands of years before the inception of America and the settlement of Alabama and also contributes millions to the state economy through breeding and related businesses. Legalized cockfighting elsewhere in the world proves that a regulated industry would generate millions upon millions in revenue. (Lynn Marrow, Director of the Local Records Preservation Program at the Missouri State Archives, History They Don’t Teach You, A Tradition of Cockfighting, White River Historical Quarterly, Fall 1995)
The 14th Amendment to the US constitution requires that no state “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” In Alabama, equal protection is also the duty of government. If the state of Alabama protects hunting based on tradition and economy then cockfighting deserves the same equal protections guaranteed by both the 14th amendment and the Alabama state constitution.
The same rationale extends to the commercial poultry industry. It is incontrovertible that commercial poultry are treated more egregiously than gamefowl. In fact, poultry are excluded from the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958 because they are legally considered less sentient than other commercially slaughtered animals. Certainly cockfighting deserves these same protections.
Finally, specious assertions that cockfighting promotes gambling and a criminal element are patently false. The only comprehensive study concerning game-cocking in America proves that “people engaged in this recreational form are basically conservative, highly concerned with health and outdoor life, strongly patriotic and strongly in favor of obeying laws and preservation of public order.” (Professor William C. Capel, Clemson University and Professor Clifton Bryant, VA Poly-technical Institute and State University, AMERICAN COCKERS: RESULTS FROM A NATIONAL SURVEY CONDUCTED IN 1974 THROUGH 1991)
Also, gambling issues addressed within the context of regulation would be a superior alternative to embracing unconstitutional policies based on the non-unique issue of illegal gambling on sporting activities. Remember, billions of dollars are illegally wagered on legal sporting events every year. This fact has not led to the abolition of football, for example.
Importantly, if there is any legitimacy to the claims of illegal gambling and a criminal element related to cockfighting, then those claims are made worse by driving the activity underground where it remains hidden from public scrutiny and potential regulation. The majority of cock-fighters are patriotic and law abiding citizens. The arbitrary legislative targeting of cockfighting only risks turning ethical citizens into felons and leaves the sport vulnerable to the criminal element because many law abiding citizens are being driven out of the sport.
The movement to advance gamefowl culture needs your help in order to protect an under-represented but no less important segment of Alabama’a historical traditions and economy. The courts have clearly placed the decision in the hands of the legislature. As a representative to the people of Alabama, you have an opportunity to preserve the rights base of thousands of law abiding citizens and exercise the critical role all state legislator’s play in constitutional and rights based policymaking. I urge you to sponsor a bill to legalize and protect cockfighting, an important Alabama cultural tradition and source of economic revenue.