LEGALIZE COCKFIGHTING !
Cockfighting is gamecock farming and sports.
REPEAL COCKFIGHTING BAN !
The last legal cockfight in the Mainland of the United States was on August 2008.
LEGALIZE LIBERTY !
Cockfighting is legal in the Territories of the United States; where it is a booming chicken farming industry as well as chicken sports industry.
– Gameness til the End
All “Deveraux” in the article by LeeAnn Cain was changed to “Devereaux”.
American Gamefowl Defense Network members meet at Arena
April 1, 2014
CORBIN — By LeeAnn Cain / Staff Writer
An estimated 700 members of the American Gamefowl Defense Network met at the Corbin Arena early Saturday morning to rally for the rights of gamefowl breeders and cockfighters.
“Our motto is ‘Change the law; don’t break the law,’” Director David Devereaux said.
The group has been meeting across the country to combat the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which was proposed in January 2013 and had its key components passed in February as part of the 2014 Farm Bill. These provisions of the Farm Bill made it a federal crime to attend a cockfight.
Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states, but is a misdemeanor in the state of Kentucky for now. While the American Gamefowl Defense Network would like to ultimately see cockfighting become legal, their focus at Saturday’s meeting was fighting the 2014 Farm Bill.
Kentucky State Rep. Richard Henderson (D-District 74) said the next step in fighting the 2014 Farm Bill is to appeal to legislators to modify the bill to exclude the provision that would make attending cockfights a felony. According to Devereaux, the group will appeal to Kentucky legislators through “citizen involvement in the democratic process” and Henderson calls on advocates of cockfighting to achieve the organization’s goals by writing state legislators.
Saturday’s meeting was closed to the public, but Devereaux spoke beforehand about why the group believes cockfighting should be legalized and why cockfighting advocates’ have focused on Kentucky. According to Devereaux, many in the cockfighting community feel that Kentucky is a good place to begin advocating for their rights because Kentucky appears to be more open to cockfighters with more lax laws and law enforcement around cockfights.
Devereaux said cockfighting has a deep history in the country dating back to the country’s founding, and said cockfighting opponents wrongly paint participants of the sport as involved in criminal activity other than cockfighting, such as the manufacturing of methamphetamine.
“We are good, hardworking people that follow the law,” Devereaux said.
Many legally protected activities are far more brutal than cockfighting, according to Devereaux. He said that chickens used for fighting live a minimum of two years in good conditions, compared to commercially farmed chickens who live six weeks in cramped, unsanitary conditions.
“Gamefowl have a better life than the chickens we eat,” he said. “The ones that survive and win fights live to retire as prized breeding stock. They can live for 15 years.”
Deveraux also believes the Humane Society of the United States is using cockfighting as a way to “end all animal use in this country.”
“It’s not about cockfighting. It’s about ending hunting, fishing, agriculture,” he said. “Hunters are legally protected, so why aren’t we?”
Devereaux also said the gamefowl community does not generally support dogfighting, and considered gamefowl different from other animals traditionally used in animal fighting.
“The USDA considers chickens exempt from the humane slaughter laws other livestock is subjected to,” he said. “They’re legally not on the same level as a dog or a bear. It’s almost offensive to say we’re the same as dogfighters.”
Devereaux does not deny that the actual fights are brutal.
“We accept brutality as a part of life,” he said.
He also noted that gamefowl can be used for more than fighting; feathers are used to create jewelry and other decorations and their eggs are edible.
Devereaux also said the ability to breed gamefowl is vital; even if the animals aren’t used for fighting, Devereaux said they are a part of American tradition. Devereaux said if gamefowl are only bred and not fought, the chickens would lose the traits that distinguish them as gamefowl. He added they are part of American history.
“What’s more humane? Extinction or existing?” he asked.
During the meeting, Henderson said he spoke about cockfighting legislation and the 2014 Farm Bill.
Rather than making cockfighting a federal crime, he said there are more important “life and death” issues such as drug use that lawmakers should focus on.
“My main problem with all of this is making ordinary people felons. You can’t go and make everybody a felon, and that’s what I feel like the federal government is trying to do,” Henderson said.
Henderson said gamefowl are not domesticated like other breeds of chickens; he called them “wild animals.”
“There’s a cycle of life in the wild, and these birds would fight no matter what they were raised for,” he said.
Henderson said the money that circulates through cockfights is important to the economies of small, cash-strapped eastern Kentucky towns. He said making cockfighting a felony is “just another blow on towns already affected by the loss of coal mines.”
“We as a society are making everyone felons. When will it stop? A felony should be a heinous crime, and we should stop [making felons out of] people who aren’t criminals,” Henderson said.
Henderson believes there is a middle ground, and implores people to look at cockfighting in France. According to Henderson, it is illegal in France except in certain areas where it is legal for the purpose of preserving the heritage of these places.
“Is it animal abuse, or is it heritage?” he asked. “We should just allow people to exist.”
Corbin, Kentucky 03-29-2014
First off, I would like to thank Mr. Craig Davis for his role in organizing the meeting in Corbin and all the good he strives to accomplish.
Secondly, I wish to thank all the speakers who came to speak on where we are and where we are going. David Devereaux did a good job and I think he has a good plan of action.
Then there was a State Representative that not only said he was for us but was one of us! A politician with some balls, unheard of these days. He made it very clear he was for us and there was no need to ask him point blank yes or no if he was.
Also I would like to thank everyone who traveled from other states to attend. Other than Kentucky I observed people from AL, TN, OK, OR, WA, PA, GA, IN, NC, WV, TX. Maybe there were 800 or more in attendance, if I left out any state please speak up.
There was a lot of good information given and good points made. the main thing that I took away from the meeting is simply this; the battle line is drawn across Kentucky. The reason why is that it’s so heavily entrenched and accepted there thus the strongest resistance to animal activists left. If Kentucky goes down so goes the rest of us.
What happens if all 50 states classify cockfighting as felonies? If you ever talk to anyone who lives in a felony status state ask them about the horror stories of innocent people being harassed and persecuted because of intent laws.
Like the guy in PA 76 years old and was no longer active but still had some fowl. He was charged with 92 felonies and they took all his fowl. my understanding is he had a family of fowl that he had for over 60 years. They were Whitehackles acquired from his father who had them for over 40 years. It has not gone to trial and I think they have reduced the charges to maybe 1 felony count and I don’t remember what all else. All this because they were looking for someone and stopped at the wrong address.
For all you boys that were in driving distance of Corbin and came dressed as an empty seats, you better wake up. Like the gentleman that sat next to me who was originally from NY said “these guys have no idea what it’s like living in a felony state but now the wolf is at their door “.
I hope that everyone will get on board and get active. No matter how big or small you are there is something each of you can contribute. Not all of us can do what Craig, David and many others are doing however there is not a one of us that is not capable of writing a letter or making a phone call. A letter or phone call isn’t much but is better than doing nothing. If everybody just did that the elected officials would notice.
Unify, organize, legalize I believe is what Mr. Devereaux said. He can only do so much and we need everyone to pitch in if we are to survive.
House District 74
120 Dove Trace Dr
Mt. Sterling KY 40353
702 Capitol Ave
Annex Room 357A
Frankfort KY 40601
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House 2007 – Present
Born March 15, 1971. Co-owner, C&H Block & Concrete. Christian. KADD. Montgomery Co Devel Bd. Chamber of Commerce Leadership Award 2003.
Agriculture; Appropriations and Revenue; Economic Development and Tourism; Energy Special Subcommittee [Co-Chair]; Labor and Industry; Local Government; Transportation
Agriculture & Small Business (H) [Vice Chair]; Appropriations & Revenue (H); BR Sub. on Transportation (H); Labor & Industry (H); Local Government (H); Tourism Development & Energy (H); Transportation (H)