US territories required to comply with new federal law
Two animal welfare groups are offering a $2,500 reward to anyone who reports an individual or set of individuals who violate the federal law against cockfighting.
According to a press release issued yesterday, it said that U.S. mainland-based Animal Wellness Foundation and Animal Wellness Action will be running a program that provides a $2,500 reward for any individual who provides critical information that results in a successful federal prosecution of an individual or set of individuals who violate the federal law against animal fighting. The rewards program will run for an indefinite time and will concentrate on the U.S. territories.
Cockfighting is already illegal in the 50 U.S. states . It became illegal in five U.S. territories—American Samoa, the CNMI, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—in the 2018 farm bill that President Donald Trump signed into law at the end of 2018.
Cockfighting will be outlawed in all U.S. territories starting Dec. 20, 2019.
The website www.endcockfighting.org will serve as a comprehensive resource about the issue and call citizens to action to help.
If you have information about illegal cockfighting activities, citizens can send tips and other information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also consider contacting the U.S. Attorney’s Office or the Office of the Attorney General, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General at 1-800-424-9121, or the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Chanel Cruz Jarrett, a former Miss Guam and an anti-cockfighting spokesperson for the Animal Wellness Foundation, said, “I am convinced the people of Guam care about animals and want to see the winding down of cockfighting on our beautiful island. …We are an appealing destination for people across the Pacific Rim and it’s time to remove the stigma of any form of animal cruelty [in] Guam.”
Ana Maria Hernandez, an animal law attorney in Puerto Rico and a spokesperson for the Animal Wellness Foundation, said that cockfighting “does not represent the true values of Puerto Rico and it is a great relief that it will end on our island. …The people of Puerto Rico abhor animal cruelty and want to see the end of cockfighting.”
“I grew up [in] Guam, and I know the people of the territory care deeply about the wellbeing of animals and the rule of law,” said Marion Look-Jameson, a board member with Animal Wellness Action. “Our organization will pay the rewards as necessary, but my hope is that we don’t have to pay out a dime because every American will adhere to the law.”
“Federal agencies and officers have a duty to enforce our laws against the barbaric practices of cockfighting and dogfighting,” said Wayne Pacelle of the Animal Wellness Foundation. “But their good works depend on the cooperation and alertness of citizens. We ask people who know about illegal animal fighting activities to help us stop these forms of cruelty.”
The Animal Wellness Foundation is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization. Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization.