Attending a Dogfight Now a Federal Crime

It may seem like a small step, but the implications of the newly passed Farm Bill will be far-reaching in the world of animal rights. Hosting any form of an animal fight has long been a federal crime, but it is now illegal to attend or bring a child to such a fight.

Before the passage of the bill, spectators of dog and cock fights were often able to avoid prosecution by claiming they were not involved in the fight. Now, they will be held responsible alongside those who are participating in the fight directly.

The fact that it is now a federal crime to bring a minor to such an event is especially important. When children grow up watching animal fights, it can encourage illegal activity and violence in the future, and can create an insensitivity to animal abuse and suffering.  I have spoken at length in schools where children are regularly taken to fights by their parents as a "fun" Saturday night activity and have become desensitized to the cruelty they witness.  Violence breeds violence, and the vicious cycle continues.

The high admission fees charged for spectators to watch an animal fight provide much of the funding that allows these cruel practices to continue. As law enforcement officials are now able to crack down on these spectators, the hope is that the funding for these fights will slowly trickle away.

Although this important legislation won't stop these barbaric practices outright, it is certainly a step in the right direction for animals and those who fight for them.

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