State Lawmakers to Debate Cockfighting Ban

May 3, 2007

Reported by: Associated Press

The House Agriculture Committee, which has killed anti-cockfighting legislation in previous years, is set to debate two such bills today.

The panel is scheduled to hear testimony on one proposed cockfighting ban by Representative Mike Strain, of Covington, that would take effect this year. Another, by Representative Harold Ritchie, of Bogalusa, would criminalize the rooster fights in 2010.

The Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights groups argue that cockfighting is a form of cruelty to animals, and should be banned this year.

Cockfighting supporters, many of whom concede that some form of ban will pass, want a couple of years to adjust to the change and find new incomes.

Senator Art Lentini pushed a bill through the Senate last year that would have banned cockfighting, only to see it get killed by the House agriculture panel, chaired by Representative Francis Thompson of Delhi.

Lentini, of Metairie, is also sponsoring a measure (Senate Bill 39) that would ban cockfighting this year. That bill has been assigned to a Senate judiciary committee.