Most Gamecocks Are Raised to Fight

Michael Hiltzik got hoodwinked by self-described gamecock “breeder” Arlin Strange (“Future for Game Bird Breeder and His Roosters Nothing to Crow About,” April 10).

The thousands of gamecock operations in existence throughout California are not producing birds for poultry shows, as the story claimed; the market for such shows isn’t big enough to accommodate the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of gamecocks raised.

Almost all of the gamecocks raised in California are knowingly bred and trained for the explicit purpose of cockfighting. The so-called breeders know this, as do humane organizations, but others who don’t closely follow the issue are in the dark about the scale of illegal conduct occurring.

This pap about these birds being bred for show is nothing more than an elaborate ruse and a cover for illegal conduct.


Cockfighting has been banned in California since 1905. But because of lax enforcement and weak penalties, the underground cockfighting industry has metastasized, and it is this industry that appears to be responsible for the recent spread of exotic Newcastle disease in Southern California.

State Sen. Nell Soto, (D-Pomona) has introduced a bill, SB 732, in Sacramento to strengthen penalties for cockfighting. It deserves support, as does federal legislation recently introduced to upgrade penalties for interstate movement or export of fighting birds.

Cockfighting is a barbaric and widespread practice. Only strong laws, and vigorous enforcement, will cause this organized criminal industry to wither.

Wayne Pacelle

Senior Vice President

U.S. Humane Society