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In a cockfight, two roosters fight each other to the death while people place bets. Cockfighters let the birds suffer untreated injuries or throw the birds away like trash afterwards. Besides being cruel, cockfighting often goes hand in hand with gambling, drug dealing, illegal gun sales and murder.


Left to themselves, roosters rarely hurt each other badly. In cockfights, on the other hand, the birds often wear razor-sharp blades on their legs and incur injuries like punctured lungs, broken bones and pierced eyes—when they even survive.

Sadly, people often bring young children to cockfights. Seeing adults relish such brutality can teach kids to enjoy violence and think that animal suffering is okay.

Cockfighting happens in many kinds of neighborhoods and in states around the country. It is illegal in all states and a felony in 40, which means that many states need to toughen up their laws.


Cockfight bust in Ala. with JP Goodwin

Frank Loftus/The HSUS

Suspected Cockfighting Ring Busted in Alabama

In Andalusia, Ala., authorities arrested six cockfight attendees and charged them with aggravated animal cruelty.

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News & Events

  • May 12, 2014

    National Law Enforcement Council

    To step up its fight against all forms of illegal animal cruelty, The Humane Society of the United States formed its National Law Enforcement Council comprising current and former law enforcement officers and prosecutors from across the country.

  • March 14, 2014

    South Dakota Lawmakers Enact Stronger Animal Cruelty Penalties

    South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed a new law making the state the 50th to set felony penalties for malicious acts of animal cruelty. SB 46 also sets felony penalties for cockfighting, which is now a felony in 41 states and a misdemeanor in the other nine. The Humane Society of the United States strongly supported both upgrades to the state’s laws.

  • March 14, 2014

    Utah Legislature Runs Out of Time on Cockfighting Bill

    The Utah Senate and House of Representatives were unable to agree on an upgrade to Utah’s weak cockfighting law before the session ended at midnight. SB 112, which would have made it a felony on the second offense to participate in cockfighting previously passed the Senate and passed the House Judiciary Committee before coming to the House floor on the final day of Utah’s legislative session. The House insisted on limiting any increase in penalties to a Class A misdemeanor. The Senate realized that the lack of any felony penalties would leave a new law ineffective and held their ground for a felony penalty. This is the second year in a row that a bill to set felony penalties for cockfighting has failed to pass the Utah House.

  • March 13, 2014

    New Federal Law Strengthens Crackdown on Animal Fighting

    George L. Beck, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, and the Humane Society of the United States are raising public awareness of the newly enacted federal animal fighting law that makes it a felony to knowingly bring a child under the age of 16 to an animal fight and a misdemeanor to knowingly attend an animal fight.

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