7.17.2007

Cockfighting as a 'cultural right"?

Fight flap riles Puerto Ricans (by David McFadden, AP - 7.16.07)

Under pressure to join U.S. states in banning cockfights, the island territory holds fast to traditional blood sport

ISLA VERDE, Puerto Rico — With cockfighting about to lose its last bastion in the United States, animal-rights activists are training their sights on Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory where the blood sport is both beloved tradition and big business.

Cockfighting is illegal in 49 states, and the governor of Louisiana—the pastime's last U.S. refuge—signed a law Thursday that will make it a crime to fight birds beginning in August 2008. New Mexico banned the sport June 15.

But Puerto Rico shows no signs of following suit. Cockfighting is so entrenched that the territory's legislature recently approved a bill establishing it as a "cultural right" of islanders.

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Also see Louisiana to be last state to ban cockfighting.

Cockfighting's "Days Are Numbered" in U.S.