Saturday, August 04, 2001

Cockfight critics ask agencies to investigate

By Roger Alford
The Associated Press

        PIKEVILLE — Televised footage of a cockfight near Williamsburg in southeastern Kentucky has prompted calls for a federal criminal investigation.

        Wayne Pacelle, senior vice president of the Humane Society of the United States, said a report aired Tuesday by a Louisville TV station clearly shows violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

        Mr. Pacelle called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Postal Service to begin an investigation based on the report by WLKY-TV, which sent a reporter undercover to a cockfight at Rooster Arena in Whitley County on July 21.

        “We had gotten a tip that the Kentucky Gamecock Breeders As sociation was so brazen about cockfighting that they were advertising their events in a magazine,” said John Boel, investigative reporter for WLKY-TV. “We went in with a hidden camera and taped it all.”

        Mr. Boel said the owners paid $150 each to enter 47 roosters in the fights.

        “There were hours of fighting,” he said. “In every match I saw, they fought to the death, then they threw the dead rooster away.”

        Mr. Pacelle said that's common in cockfights across the South.

        Mr. Pacelle said the Animal Welfare Act made it illegal to use the Postal Service for promoting animal fighting. Fights that the television station filmed had been advertised in two magazines mailed to subscribers, he said.


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