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Legislature To Decide If Cocks Are For Fighting

Tomorrow's a big day for cockfighting.

Not meaning that there will be special St. Paddy's Day cock fights ("Foightin' Timmy O'Rooster takes on The Carrickfergus Cock!!!"). But a house committee in Austin is holding a hearing on a bill that would toughen anti-cockfighting laws in Texas.

(There's got to be the equivalent of a "Make Love, Not War" anti-cockfighting motto somewhere, but we are far too classy to pursue the matter.)

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Right now, says the Houston SCPA, cockfighting laws only allow arrests of people actually seen fighting the birds. Meaning raids only get a couple of people.

"It is not a crime in Texas to own or operate a facility for cockfighting; own cockfighting equipment; train a cock to fight; or attend a cockfight," the SCPA says. "HB 1320 would make each of these support activities an offense and would also categorize cockfighting as organized crime and allow the seizure of cockfighting equipment as contraband."

Cockfighting is big in Texas, especially in the Valley. The SCPA says this new bill, which would bring Texas in line with the majority of states, is desperately needed.

Cockfighting is an extremely profitable enterprise. Large amounts of money are made at cockfighting events by everyone involved: the promoters, the participants, and the gambling spectators. The prospect of that money overrides the minimum risk involved when prosecution is so difficult and problematic. Unless all participants (facility owners and operators, fighting cock trainers and sellers, cockfighting equipment dealers and cockfighting spectators) have something to loose - namely criminal prosecution and the loss of contraband - we will never stop cockfighting in Texas.

The hearing, beforfe the Criminal Jurisprudence Subcommittee on Violent Crimes, begins tomorrow morning at 8 in Austin.

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