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Activists urge feds to crack down on alleged cockfighting kingpins in Kentucky

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 3:01 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Activists are urging federal prosecutors to investigate a number of alleged cockfighting kingpins across Kentucky.

They say Kentucky is now among the top bird traffickers around the globe.

Activist group Animal Wellness Action unveiled its findings at a virtual news conference Thursday afternoon.

Activists urge feds to crack down on alleged cockfighting kingpins in Kentucky.
Activists urge feds to crack down on alleged cockfighting kingpins in Kentucky.(Animal Wellness Action)

Activists say they know cockfighting pits are still operating in Kentucky, but they say the larger problem in the commonwealth is breeding and selling the birds.

Their 32-page investigation uncovered cockfighting operations all across Kentucky. They named seven complexes with ties to other states, as well as the Philippines, Mexico and Honduras:

Animal Wellness Action leaders also sent letters Thursday to the US Attorneys in both the eastern and western districts of Kentucky, asking them to act. They call the operations barbaric and inhumane.

“Anybody that would take pleasure out of seeing animals engaged in this type of activity is sick. They’re sick,” said former Ky. attorney general Chris Gorman. “I can assure you that the vast majority of the people of Kentucky are outraged about cockfighting and want to do everything they can to prevent it.”

Activists say Kentucky is one of only eight states where cockfighting is merely a misdemeanor.

At Thursday’s virtual news conference, State Senate Democratic Leader Morgan McGarvey announced plans to file a bill to make cockfighting and related activities a felony. He says there is bipartisan support for it.

He called on Kentucky lawmakers to step up and pass stricter anti-cruelty laws.

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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