Cockfighting debate heats up in Kentucky

By: Janet Kim Email
By: Janet Kim Email

The controversy over cockfighting in Kentucky continues to heat up, a day after an undercover video surfaced.

The Humane Society of the United States provided the video of what they say is a fight in Eastern Kentucky, with several uniformed law enforcement officers in attendance.

But many now are coming forward, standing up for their industry.

The roosters raised on Eddie Partin's Whitely County farm are considered gamefowl. They're essentially raised to fight.

"If they see each other, they fight," says Joseph Bennett, who also raises roosters. "We don't do anything to them. They fight on their own."

Animal rights activists want cockfighting to become a felony offense in Kentucky. It's currently just a misdemeanor. However, supporters of cockfighting want to see it legalized completely.

"That would put us up there with murderers and rapists, but we aren't bothering anybody," says Bennett.

Those that raise roosters fear if cockfighting becomes a felony, it would mean the roosters would have to be destroyed.

"The chicken would have to be killed because there's nothing you can do with it," says Partin. "It would make gamefowl go extinct. That's the only way to stop cockfighting."

Partin says that's because these roosters aren't typically eaten because their meat is tough, but we're told they'll live longer than ones raised to be slaughtered.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo told media outlets this week that he doesn't believe it's the worst crime ever committed, and he knows some believe it's been a Kentucky tradition for a long time.

"It's been in our country for generations," says Bennett.


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