Rooster shipments to Guam worry animal rights activists

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Is Hawaii doing enough to stop shipments of roosters being used for illegal cockfighting?

An animal rights group says the answer lies in shipping records. They say Hawaii-based Rooster Hunters have shipped more than 1,700 fighting birds to Guam in the past five years.

“We have obtained shipping records of roosters being shipped to Guam by rooster hunters, and Hawaii has more shippers to Guam than any other state,” said Wayne Pecelle, founder of the Animal Wellness Action group.

The Washington DC-based group said that, based on those records, 132 birds that traveled to Guam between March and July came from five Hawaiian properties.

The group believe the vendors are rooster fighters, based on Google Earth images that appear to show long rows of roosters tied to A-shaped shacks.

“It is a federal crime to ship Fighting Birds from Hawaii to Guam, or from Hawaii to any other foreign jurisdiction or territory, state or country,” Pacelle said. “So it’s contraband. It is a criminal enterprise.

“The problem is basically that cockfighting is basically lying,” said Inga Gibson of Pono Advocacy. “When shipping these birds, they declare in writing that these birds are being shipped as game birds or show birds, but not for fighting purposes.”

Hawaii News Now requested answers from Honolulu police, as well as several state and federal agencies, but received no response from any of them.

Animal Wellness Action said many birds are delivered by the US Postal Service.

Fighting chickens is illegal at both the federal and state levels, but arrests in Hawaii are rare.

Raids usually only make the news once every few years, perhaps because it is a crime, and violators should be caught red-handed.

“Unless law enforcement catches rooster fighters fighting birds in the ring, in the pit with their hands on the birds and even then it is very rare that they are actually caught. “, Gibson said.

“I would like to see our Department of Agriculture and our US Postal Inspector step in here as well.”

Animal rights activists hope that federal law will catch up with animal trafficking and that stricter state laws will also follow.

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