May 11, 2009
NM Court of Appeals Rejects Bid to Resume Cockfighting
19th-Century Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Does Not Grant Right to Fight Animals
SANTA FE, N.M. — The Humane Society of the United States and Animal Protection of New Mexico are hailing a decision late last Friday by the New Mexico Court of Appeals upholding the state's 2007 law banning cockfighting. The Court's decision is another blow to cockfighters and their trade organization, the New Mexico Gamefowl Breeders Association, and effectively ends any hope the cockfighters may have had for continuing their blood sport in the state of New Mexico.
"We commend the Court of Appeals for rejecting the cockfighters' continuing quest to circumvent the democratic process," said Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president and chief counsel for Animal Protection Litigation and Research for The HSUS. "The people of New Mexico have decided that cockfighting has no place in their state, and no amount of legal wrangling will change that."
New Mexico's cockfighting ban was signed into law by Governor Bill Richardson in 2007, and immediately challenged by cockfighting proponents. In a December 2007 ruling, the trial court rejected the challenge and upheld the ban on all grounds. The cockfighters appealed to the New Mexico Court of Appeals, which issued a ruling May 8 that unequivocally rejects the plaintiffs' novel claim the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War, somehow confers a right to engage in cockfighting.
The HSUS, along with APNM, filed friend of the court briefs in support of the state of New Mexico in both the Court of Appeals and the trial court.
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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.
Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating the rights of animals by changing the systems that cause and allow animal suffering since 1979. Online at apnm.org.