Cockfighting question blocks approval new criminal code

POSTED: 05/25/12 2:18 PM

St. Maarten – The parliament came close to a vote about the new penal code yesterday afternoon but at the last moment DP-MP Roy Marlin threw a spanner in the works when he asked for clarification about an article that deals with cruelty to animals. Justice Minister Duncan will provide that clarification in an additional meeting this afternoon at two o’clock.
“We have been discussing cockfighting here several times,” Marlin pointed out. “This a Caribbean thing that has been going on for years and if one day somebody gets it in his head to go after the cock pen in Cole Bay based on this article we’ll have a whole ruckus on our hands.”
Minister Duncan said that his objective was to regulate sports with animals. “This article is meant to protect animals against pain. Theoretically you could bring cock fighting under this article, but then the ones who are doing it could argue that they have a reasonable objective. One could argue the point whether practicing sports with animals is a reasonable objective. I have not pushed this any further and we’ll have to see how the law will be interpreted. As it stands now, dog fighting and cockfighting is not specifically forbidden.”
The Minister said that if the parliament wants to regulate sports with animals he’ll be happy to write a draft ordinance. “I would prefer to have it regulated,” Duncan said, adding that the article about protecting animals against pain “circumvents the issue, though it does not restrict any sports with animals as such.”

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