Photo courtesy of www.all-creatures.org
Governor Richardson has decided that he is ready to support legislation to criminalize cockfighting. New Mexico and Louisiana are the only two states in the US that have no laws against this bloody "sport". There has been intense lobbying in recent years to criminalize cockfighting here, but Richardson has declined to support them. Now that he is anticipating running for the Presidency, I guess he's decided he can't afford to not back these efforts. Hopefully his support will make a difference!
While it is estimated that 2/3 of the NM population is in favor of such a ban, the pro-cockfighting cadre has a lot of backers in the legislature, and several anti-cockfighting bills have gone down to defeat in recent years. These supporters say that cockfighting is part of the state's Hispanic culture, and that it's natural for roosters to fight.
Here is what the ASPCA has to say about the "it's natural" argument:
In nature, a rooster may fight another rooster over territory or over a mate, but these fights are usually brief and don't involve serious injury. In organized cockfights, however, the roosters' natural instincts are exaggerated. Through breeding, feeding, training, steroids and vitamins, the roosters become killing machines for people's entertainment. Before a fight, a bird may go through several months of training, which may involve running long obstacle courses or even treadmills, and practice fights with other roosters.
In the fighting ring, the roosters often wear artificial spurs-long, sharp, daggerlike attachments-that transform their natural spurs into knives for maximum injury. These steel blades are sharp enough to puncture a lung, pierce an eye or break bones. A referee is on hand to supervise the fight, which can last anywhere from a few seconds to 15 minutes. While the rules usually do not require one or both birds to die in order for a winner to be declared, death is often the outcome, due to the severity of the injuries.