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August 29, 2012

The HSUS Applauds Termination of Honolulu Contract with Self-professed Cockfighters

The Humane Society of the United States welcomes the decision by the city and county of Honolulu to terminate the city’s rooster control contract with self-professed cockfighters who have held the contract at an annual $60,000 cost to taxpayers.

The HSUS had been urging the city to end the contract for three years after The HSUS learned that the contractors had repeatedly and publicly admitted to engaging in raising, breeding and selling birds out-of-state for cockfighting purposes, a potential felony violation under the federal animal fighting statute. They also lobbied to legalize cockfighting in the state. Cockfighting is now a misdemeanor crime in Hawaii, which has one of the weakest anti-cockfighting laws in the country.

“It was ludicrous that the city was using tax dollars to pay self-admitted cockfighters to handle noise and other complaints involving roosters,” said Inga Gibson, Hawaii state director for The HSUS. “This contract was a prime example of the fox guarding the henhouse. We thank the city for taking action to protect its residents and the animals who are forced to fight in such bloody and illegal spectacles.”

Cockfighting goes hand-in-hand with other criminal activities such as illegal gambling, drug distribution, firearms possession, organized crime, child endangerment, and often, human violence. That’s why it’s plainly inappropriate to have cockfighting advocates hold a city contract involving roosters. Hawaii ranks 48th in the nation with one of the weakest cockfighting laws, thus stronger state laws and penalties are still needed at the state level. In recognition of this, the Honolulu, Hawaii Island and Maui Police Departments are among about 250 law enforcement agencies supporting the pending  federal Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, H.R. 2492 / S. 1947. This measure would give authorities another important tool in combatting cockfighting by making it a federal offense to be a knowing spectator at an animal fight or to take minors to such gruesome events.

Media Contact: Pepper Van Tassell: 240-751-0232; pvantassell@humanesociety.org

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