Rights groups: 9,000 fighting birds imported into Guam

COCKFIGHT: The ban on cockfighting in the U.S. territories became federal law in 2018 and went into effect last month. Two animal rights groups stated 9,000 fighting birds were imported into Guam. Reuters file photo

There were 137 individuals who imported nearly 9,000 fighting birds into Guam over the last three years, two animal rights groups announced Tuesday.

The Animal Wellness Foundation (AWF) and Animal Wellness Action (AWA) announced the data after it conducted an analysis of 2,431 pages of live-animal shipping records obtained from the government of Guam that "revealed more than 500 illegal shipments of fighting roosters to Guam alone."

The analysis excludes individuals who shipped birds for other purposes, the groups stated.

The top 10 importers of fighting animals on Guam received about 60% of the nearly 9,000 fighting birds. The top importer brought in 1,608 birds for fighting or closely related purposes, the rights groups stated. In all, there were 57 individuals who imported more than 25 birds.

 “A small number of Guamanians are dominating this illegal trade,” said Wayne Pacelle, founder of Animal Wellness Action. “Our evidence indicates that the people who shipped fighting animals to Guam were enmeshed in the cockfighting industry, and it logically follows that the people they sold to were knee-deep in the same enterprise.”

AWF and AWA renewed their request that the government of Guam revamp the live-animal clearance process, instructing staff to deny certification for any additional shipments of gamefowl destined for Guam, except in cases where the shippers and receivers can affirmatively demonstrate that they are not involved in the cockfighting. 

Federal law bans cockfighting and the importation of roosters for cockfighting purposes.

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