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ASPCA Commends U.S. Senate for Passing Strong Animal Fighting Provision in Farm Bill

Legislation would criminalize attendance at animal fights
June 11, 2013

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends the U.S. Senate for passing the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act as part of  the Farm Bill (Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 – S. 954). This provision would make attending an animal fight a federal offense and impose additional penalties for bringing a child to an animal fight.

"Animal fighting is a brutal form of abuse where animals are exploited and forced to fight as their owners profit from their torture," said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. "Children need protection from the dangerous culture of animal fighting, as well as its associated illegal activities such as drugs, weapons and gambling. The ASPCA applauds the Senate for passing this measure as part of its Farm Bill, thereby strengthening laws to combat animal fighting and protect public safety."

Spectators at animal fights are not there accidentally—they intentionally seek out the criminal activity at secret locations for the entertainment of watching two animals fight to the death and the opportunity to gamble on the barbaric event. When animal fighting operations are raided, it is a common practice for the organizers, promoters and animal owners to blend into the crowd of spectators in order to escape law enforcement. The Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act would discourage individuals from enabling animal fights via their illegal wagers and admission fees, and will ensure that organizers cannot easily hide in the crowd when law enforcement officials arrive.

The Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act (S. 666) was introduced as standalone legislation in April by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and David Vitter (R-La.) in order to strengthen laws against animal fighting. It was subsequently added to the Senate’s Farm Bill.

The House version of the Farm Bill (H.R. 1947), which contains similar language pertaining to animal fighting laws, is expected to be voted on later this summer. For more information on the ASPCA’s efforts to tackle animal fighting and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org