State lawmaker joins the crackdown on cockfighting

AUSTIN, TX (News Release) - Representative Wayne Christian held a press conference supporting HB 1043 that will provide law enforcement officials the tools they need to crack down on illegal cockfighting.

Rep. Christian filed HB 1043 on behalf of Nacogdoches County Attorney John Fleming who highlighted that local law enforcement officials are having trouble prosecuting suspects associated with cockfighting because of major loopholes in the existing laws.

HB 1043 will close those loopholes by making the following a crime, participating in the earnings of or operating a facility used for cockfighting, using or permitting another to use property for cockfighting, manufacturing, buying, selling, possessing cockfighting equipment, owning, possessing or training a cock with the intent that it be used for cockfighting and attending as a spectator an exhibition of cockfighting

County Attorney John Fleming stated, "Cockfighting is an extreme form of animal cruelty and goes hand in hand with other crimes. Law enforcement officials nationwide have recognized the strong connection between cockfighting and the distribution of illegal drugs as well as the connection to illegal gambling and illegal possession of firearms.  HB 1043 will help give our local law enforcement officials the tools they need to effectively shut down cockfighting operations in Texas."

The Texas Poultry Federation supports HB 1043 in an effort to help protect the $4 billion economic impact and over 18,000 jobs that the poultry industry directly and indirectly creates in the State of Texas. The Texas Poultry Federation states that, "It is vital we work hard to pass HB 1043, to prevent birds coming from Mexico bringing unsafe diseases and effecting the people and the poultry industry of East Texas."

We already provide these same protections in our dog fighting laws – it is high time that we provide these protections for fighting birds.