Rep. Roskam Introduces Bill to Address Loophole in Animal Fighting Ban

Nov 1, 2017
Press Release

DuPage County, IL — Today, Representative Peter Roskam (IL-06) introduced the bipartisan Parity in Animal Cruelty Enforcement (PACE) Act to strengthen animal fighting prohibitions. Animal fighting has been banned in many individual states for decades and in the United States for 10 years; this legislation closes a loophole that exempts U.S. territories from the federal ban.

“Animal fighting is an atrocious activity that, for many years, has been banned in the United States,” said Rep Roskam. “Today I’m introducing a bill that closes the loophole that, until now, has allowed this despicable practice to continue throughout our U.S. territories,” he continued.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), welcomes this action, saying, “We shouldn’t have one set of rules against animal cruelty for all 50 states and a different set of rules for U.S. territories. Dogfighting and cockfighting are barbaric practices, more widely criminalized than any other form of animal cruelty in the world, and the prohibitions should apply to every part of the country. The Humane Society of the U.S. is grateful to Rep. Roskam for leading this fight and working to stamp out animal abuse everywhere.”

Animals such as chickens and dogs are often drugged to heighten their aggression and to force them to fight for gambling and entertainment in spite of broken bones and piercing wounds.

Following a 2002 outbreak of exotic Newcastle disease in the U.S. which cost taxpayers nearly $200 million, the USDA implicated cockfighting as a culprit in spreading the disease. Cockfighting has also been linked to the death of a number of people in Asia from bird flu. Birds used in cockfighting are particularly vulnerable to diseases that can be passed along to humans; strengthening the law against cockfighting helps safeguard poultry suppliers from diseases such as avian flu.

The PACE Act was introduced by Reps Roskam (R-IL), Blumenauer (D-OR), R. Davis (R-IL), Nolan (D-MN), Buchanan (R-FL), Sherman (D-CA), Yoder (R-KS), Cardenas (D-CA) and Knight (R-CA) and is supported by the Humane Society of the United States.

Video of Rep. Roskam’s floor speech can be found here