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H-L: Cockfighting is cruelty

February 25, 2010

It’s hard to see how torturing and killing an animal with four legs is against the law, but doing the same to a two-legged animal is not.

But Kentucky law apparently recognizes that distinction with its ambiguous language that grants a pass to cockfighting in the state while making dogfighting a felony. Kentucky’s only one of about a dozen states that hasn’t already outlawed this heinous pastime.

As the Herald-Leader editorial board points out this morning, it’s time to correct this disparity in the law.

From today’s editorial

We see no such distinction between two-legged and four-legged critters. Nor do the legislative bodies of 37 other states and the District of Columbia which have made cockfighting a felony offense.

Cockfighting inflicts just as much pain and death on its feathered participants as dog fighting inflicts on its furry ones. One is no more or less heinous than the other.

The good ol’ boys in the Kentucky General Assembly need to drag themselves out of the 18th century and recognize that by putting the crime of cockfighting on an equal status with the Class D felony crime of dog fighting.

That’s what House Bill 169 offered by Louisville Rep. Joni Jenkins would do, and it should find support this year in the legislature. Just because it should doesn’t mean it will. So far, it’s failed to be granted a hearing in the House, with House Speaker Greg Stumbo not inclined to support it.

In recent years, the legislature has strengthened animal cruelty laws, but have left cockfighting alone either because of it’s place in Kentucky tradition or the fact, unbelievably, that it’s still accepted in modern culture.

Either way, cockfighting should only find a home in history books, and not Kentucky.

Any thoughts?

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