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To all Tennessee Representatives and Senators

Posted by gamecocksunlimited on February 17, 2013

Legislation attempting to criminalize cockfighting in Tennessee should be rejected at face value. Cockfighting has an irrefutably long history and tradition in Tennessee and should enjoy the same protections as commercial production and hunting. It is important to remember that the prohibition of cockfighting is being driven by the same political forces that would ultimately like to see the end of commercial food production and sport hunting in America. The exact same core rationale asserting cruelty is advanced as an argument to abolish all of these activities. Tennessee responded to pressure from animal rights groups by making hunting a constitutional right. Cockfighting deserves the same protections.

Initially, it is also well understood that Tennessee amended the state constitution in 2010 to protect hunting for subsistence and recreational purposes based on the grounds of culture and tradition. The Tennessee Joint Assembly in 2010 declared, “WHEREAS, the Legislature finds that hunting and fishing are honored traditions in the state of Tennessee; and WHEREAS, from the time prior to statehood, citizens have enjoyed the bounty of Tennessee’s natural resources, including hunting and fishing for subsistence and recreation. Indeed, hunting and fishing are a vital part of this state’s heritage and economy and should be preserved and protected.” (SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 30 By Jackson, A RESOLUTION to propose an amendment to Article XI, Section 13 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee, relative to the right to hunt, fish, and harvest game.)

Cockfighting should be protected based on the exact same rationale. From “a time prior to statehood, citizens have enjoyed” cockfighting “for subsistence and recreation.” Cockfighting dates back thousands of years before the inception of America and the settlement of Tennessee. It is irrefutable that cockfighting has deep historical and traditional roots in Tennessee culture and contributes millions to the state economy through breeding and related businesses. Indeed, cockfighting is “a vital part of this state’s heritage and economy and should be protected.” Moreover, cockfighting is the harvesting of game, even if done recreationally. It seems intuitive that cockfighting should receive constitutional protection because it is by definition the harvest of a gamefowl.

Independent of this state constitutional justification, the 14th Amendment to the US constitution requires that no state “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” (Section One of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.) If the state of Tennessee protects hunting based on tradition and economy then cockfighting deserves the same equal protections guaranteed by the 14th amendment.

Moreover, the same rationale extends to the commercial poultry industry. It is incontrovertible that commercial poultry are treated more egregiously than gamefowl. In fact, poultry are excluded from the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958 because they are legally considered less sentient than other commercially slaughtered animals. Certainly cockfighting deserves these same protections.

The only argument besides cruelty is the specious assertion that cockfighting promotes gambling and a criminal element. These assertions are false. The only comprehensive study concerning game-cocking in America, proves that game-cockers are primarily non-violent, law-abiding and patriotic citizens. Indeed, the survey concludes, “There are no serious psychological differences between those who engage in this behavior and those who do not. Certainly there are NO signs of psychotic behavior. On attitudes expressed, people engaged in this recreational form are basically conservative, highly concerned with health and outdoor life, strongly patriotic and strongly in favor of obeying laws and preservation of public order.” (Professor William C. Capel, Clemson University and Professor Clifton Bryant, VA Poly-technical Institute and State University, AMERICAN COCKERS: RESULTS FROM A NATIONAL SURVEY CONDUCTED IN 1974 THROUGH 1991)

Also, gambling issues can be addressed within the context of legislation. Regulation of gamecock harvest and/or enforcement enhancements to current gambling regulations are superior alternatives to embracing unconstitutional policies based on the non-unique issue of illegal gambling on sporting activities. Remember, billions of dollars are illegally wagered on legal sporting events every year. This fact has not led to the abolition of football, for example. If there is any legitimacy to the claims of illegal gambling and a criminal element related to cockfighting, then those claims are made worse by driving the activity underground where it remains hidden from public scrutiny and potential regulation. The majority of cock-fighters are otherwise patriotic and law abiding citizens. The arbitrary legislative targeting of cockfighting only risks turning ethical US citizens into felons and leaves the sport vulnerable to the criminal element because many law abiding citizens are being driven out of the sport.

Sincerely,

_____________________________________________________________________

 

This was taken off Facebook and applies to all states. The Gamecock Heritage should be protected so the gamecock can survive. The Hsus and other animal right extremists are not just going after the Gamecock Heritage.  They are going after the Hunting Heritage, Fishing Heritage, Trapping Heritage, Farming Heritage, Hound Hunting Heritage, etc.

It is time to put our differences aside and come together to save our cultural and rural lifestyles from these intolerant and hypocritical bigots.

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4 Responses to “To all Tennessee Representatives and Senators”

  1. this is sooo very true the country should make us buy a cockfighting license and it would also help bring our country out of this crisis its in

  2. blackcreeck gamefarm said

    Maybe if we all can ban to gather her in Tennessee we can get them to see we are actually the good Guy’s and the money to be made could help the country

  3. Tommy D. Frizzell said

    Some of the best memories I have of growing up are with my Dad and Brothers out at the chicken lot working with our Gamecocks! That and the times we travel to fights and the excitement of testing our Breed of Gamecocks against others! My Father was a very devoted family man that hunted, fished, and spent numerous hours at ball games with his children. I would still be raising Gamecocks if not for the laws prohibiting it! Even though many oppose the practice it has been handed down for generations. Gamecocks have been fought on the White House lawn and came within one vote of becoming our National Bird. Why make felons out of people that love and revere the Gamecock and spend many hours and money taking the best of care for them!

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