Friday, February 09, 2007

Animal Fighting Bill goes to the House

Please call you Representative today and tell him or her to support STOPPING animal the barbaric practice of animal fighting.

House Judiciary Committee Passes Federal Animal Fighting Bill
The Humane Society of the United States Urges House to Approve H.R. 137
WASHINGTON (February 7, 2007) – The House Judiciary Committee today approved a bill strengthening the nation’s animal fighting laws by toughening penalties for violations of federal animal fighting laws and outlawing activities associated with animal fighting.
The House Judiciary Committee approved H.R. 137, the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act by voice vote. The Committee rejected a “poison pill” amendment introduced by Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-5th/Wis) intended to derail the bill. Only Rep. Sensenbrenner and Rep. Steve King (R-5th/Iowa) spoke against the bill. It now moves to the House as a whole for floor vote.
The Humane Society of the United States thanks Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-14th/Mich.) and Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-3rd/Va.) for their leadership in scheduling and advancing the bill.
“We commend the Committee for recommending this much-needed, anti-crime legislation to the House floor,” said Pacelle. “Animal fighting is a barbaric criminal enterprise, and this bill provides the strong federal deterrent needed to stop this underground industry.”
The bill establishes a felony-level penalty of up to three years of jail time for any interstate or foreign transport of animals for fighting purposes. Currently, moving animals across state lines for the purpose of fighting them is a misdemeanor. The bill also makes it a crime to move cockfighting weapons in interstate or foreign commerce.

Representatives Elton Gallegly (R-24th/Calif.), Earl Blumenauer (D-3rd/Ore.) and Roscoe Bartlett (R-6th/Md) introduced H.R. 137 on the opening day of the 110th Congress, and since then the bill has attracted a remarkable 300 co-sponsors. Similar legislation passed the Senate unanimously in 2005, but House Republican leaders stalled its progress, and Congress adjourned before the House could vote on the bill.

Calling H.R. 137 “a perfect example of bipartisan bill,” Rep. Gallegly also said “Congress needs to finish the job it started two years ago.”

H.R. 137 and companion legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate have more than 500 endorsing groups, including all major humane organizations, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Coalition Against Gambling Expansion, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and nearly 400 local law enforcement agencies covering all 50 states. The only organizations opposing the legislation are cockfighting, dog fighting and hog-dog fighting organizations.
Dog fighting is illegal in all 50 states. Cockfighting is illegal in 48 states, and a bill in New Mexico to make that state the 49th to outlaw cockfighting is advancing in the current legislative session. Lawmakers across the country are trying to strengthen anti-animal fighting laws; legislators in Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming are considering bills.

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