Animal groups make case against cock fighting

POSTED: 01/27/12 2:51 PM

Leonard: “It’s in their blood”

St. Maarten – Members of parliament are split over whether cock fighting should be banned. Several of them made their position clear on Thursday during a central committee meeting that was attended by several animal rights organizations and two veterinarians. The organizations and the veterinarians believe that any type of animal fighting should be banned.
President of the Animal Rights foundation – more popularly known Animals R’ Friends – Monique Hofman was the first to state opposition to animals being held in captivity or being used for entertainment and pointed out they submitted a draft animal protection ordinance to the executive council in 2003 that would, amongst other things, create a general prohibition on animal fights.
“Animal fights are cruel and in many countries what once was considered a cultural tradition is now considered unacceptable,” Hofman said.
Later she’d add, “I respect tradition but we are against hurting animals on purpose. What could be a compromise is stricter regulation so it’s less harmful. Cocks are rivaling creatures by nature but the way they are used in those fights and sometimes thrown away like garbage is inhumane. Dog fighting is also unacceptable.”

Managing Director of the Animal Hospital of St. Maarten and veterinarian Dr. Chris DeWitt agrees that cock fighting should be prohibited as a means to encourage people to “care for their animals.”
Managing Director of St. Maarten Veterinary Clinic and veterinarian Dr. Gary Swanston also agrees that there should be a prohibition.
“We want to make a case for the cock; He does not fight,” he said.

Independent member of parliament Frans Richardson is clear that while he will not support a ban on cockfighting, he will definitely support a ban on dog fighting.
“I have an issue with banning cock fights. My 86-year-old father is one of those people who enjoy cock fight and we should keep the tradition alive as long as possible. Yes, you have my support that people should not ill treat animals, but I believe we should allow the cock fights to continue. What I am against is dog fighting, because that definitely is not part of our culture,” Richardson said.

While National Alliance MP Louie Laviest “does not entertain cock fight” he believes that maybe the middle ground will be to have stricter rules so that the fights are “more acceptable.” Fellow National Alliance MP Dr. Lloyd Richardson advised the organizations that based on the comments he’d heard that they’d “face an uphill battle on banning animal fights.”
United People’s Party MP Johan Leonard who used to like cock fights said that cock fighting has more rules than boxing and that the chickens “consume more vitamins and minerals than you can imagine.” He also pointed out that roosters are “fighting animals by nature.”
“It’s in their blood,” Leonard said.
Neither viewpoint found support with Hofman, who said, “I hear the comparisons with boxing but that is a voluntary sport. The animals don’t have a choice.”

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