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Bacon, Salinas Introduce Bipartisan Fight Inhumane Gambling and High-Risk Animal Trafficking Act

FIGHT Act would crack down on illegal cockfighting, dogfighting.

Bacon, Salinas Introduce Bipartisan Fight Inhumane Gambling and High-Risk Animal Trafficking Act

FIGHT Act would crack down on illegal cockfighting, dogfighting.

Washington – Yesterday, Reps. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) and Andrea Salinas (D-Ore.) introduced the Fight Inhumane Gambling and High-Risk Animal Trafficking (FIGHT) Act, a bipartisan bill to crack down on illegal cockfighting and dogfighting. The FIGHT Act would amend Section 26 of the Animal Welfare Act to enhance enforcement opportunities under the law and strengthen protections for at-risk animals.

“It’s disgusting and inhumane that people profit off the cruel practice of forcing animals to fight for their lives,” said Bacon. “The FIGHT Act will embolden law enforcement to stop this inhumane and cruel animal abuse. I am thankful to Rep. Salinas for joining me on this legislation.”

“Every day, countless animals endure horrific violence as people force them to fight for personal gain,” said Salinas. “Cockfighting, dogfighting, and other blood sports are inhumane and unsafe – and Congress must intervene to protect innocent animals from such abuse. That’s why I’m proud to partner with Congressman Bacon as we introduce the FIGHT Act. This bill would strengthen our ability to hold those responsible for illegal animal fighting to account. It’s time to take a stand against cruelty.”

“Dogfighting and cockfighting not only involve abhorrent animal cruelty, but also illegal gambling, money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and other illicit activities,” noted Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy. “We are grateful to Congressman Don Bacon for leading the national fight to make animals and people safer.”

 Specifically, the FIGHT Act would:

  • Ban simulcasting and gambling on animal fights.
  • Halt the shipment of mature roosters (chickens only) through U.S. mail.
  • Create a citizen suit provision to allow private right of action against illegal animal fighters.
  • And enhance forfeiture provisions to include real property for animal fighting crimes.

Illegal cockfighting and dog fighting are not just inhumane, they affect the community in multiple ways such as heightened noise, increased auto traffic, and devaluing of property values. These amendments protect public health and keep poultry supplies safe from diseases such as avian flu. An epidemic of Newcastle disease in Southern California from 2002-2003 was caused by unaffected cockfighting roosters from Mexico that were smuggled in.  A massive outbreak in 2018-2020 caused the deaths of 16 million birds and $1 billion in containment costs.

“This is not just an animal rights issue, but a public health safety issue,” added Bacon. “H5N1 bird flu emerged in Asia in the early 2000s and was spread and maintained by those who engage in cockfighting. There could be serious implications if it were to mutate into a strain of human-to-human transmission.”

 To read the FIGHT Act, click here.