Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Editorial: Utah needs tougher penalties for cockfighting

Toughen cockfighting penalties

First Published Mar 11 2014 04:40 pm • Last Updated Mar 11 2014 08:51 pm

It’s really irrelevant in any debate over the appropriate penalty for cockfighting that some people believe there is nothing wrong with it and even teach the "sport" to their children.

Such backwoods traditions — which also include dog fighting — should have been left far behind in civilized parts of the world, which we assume would include Utah.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Cockfighting pits roosters against each other in an arena surrounded by screaming spectators who urge their favorite bird to slash the other to death. It is a holdover from medieval times when things like dogs attacking tethered bears were accepted entertainment in the public square. Surely we have moved beyond considering it fun to watch animals suffer and die.

The Utah Legislature should approve HB112, which would increase the penalties for cockfighting to a class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a third-degree felony on subsequent convictions. It would also make being present at a cockfight punishable as a class B misdemeanor.

While cockfighting is illegal, Utah law now specifies the lowest penalties in the nation and attracts people who want to participate in this blood sport in dark corners outside the law. Most Utahns would agree they don’t want their state to be known as a haven for cockfighting.

Although Salt Lake Tribune reporters were able to interview two men who defend cockfighting as a "traditional pastime," their misguided idea of entertainment should not influence legislators.

Fighting is natural behavior for these roosters, they say. But humans have honed their natural aggression into a form of violence that goes far beyond what would happen in a barnyard setting. And being entertained by it encourages the basest instincts of humans.

These men and anyone else involved in this despicable activity should be prosecuted, and once HB112 becomes law, they would face a more appropriate penalty if convicted.

The argument that cockfighting must be innocuous because some people even teach their young children to enjoy watching animals used in this way, sacrificed only for entertainment, is not an accepted argument against HB112. They are encouraging illegal behavior and a disregard for the value of life that will not serve their children well in adulthood.

Only severe penalties, strictly enforced, has any chance of eventually convincing participants that their "traditional" multigenerational family blood sport is unconscionable and society will not tolerate it.


story continues below
story continues below



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.