- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 20, 2007

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Animal rights activists are focusing an anti-cockfighting campaign on Louisiana, now isolated as the only U.S. state where the practice remains legal.

Louisiana’s pro-cockfighting legislators said they will oppose any move to criminalize the rooster fights.

“I’m going to fight to protect the tradition of cockfighting,” said state Sen. Donald Cravins Jr., a Democrat. “For me, it’s representative democracy: I can’t vote against what a majority of my people want. I have never received one phone call from a constituent of mine saying, ‘I want you to ban cockfighting.’ ”

New Mexico’s cockfighting ban, signed into law last week, made Louisiana the only state that allows the practice. Passage of the New Mexico law — it takes effect in June — was a success for the Humane Society of the United States, which has tried for years to push a similar ban through Louisiana’s Legislature.

Wayne Pacelle, head of the animal rights group, said his organization has hired lobbyists to work in the state Capitol this spring and is planning advertising campaigns in support of a bill criminalizing the chicken fights. “I can’t think of a higher priority for us in 2007,” Mr. Pacelle said.

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