I am still trying to figure out why precisely, but my hunch is it is related to fears of a Mexican planet. Or maybe there is suddenly more cockfighting because there are more Mexicans in the US now? But that would not explain the big push to make it a felony. If I had more energy, I would explore the many ways making things formerly misdemeanors into felonies is an effective tool of controlling populations. Look what it did for the black population with the higher penalties for crack. In NM, to use an egregious example, 30% of black men are in prison.
It happens, incidentally, that Jim Webb is focusing attention on the crisis of mass incarceration issue in the Senate.
Following the necessary and emerging tradition of making Undismayed your one-stop for cockfighting news:
The push is on in the great state of Virginia to make cockfighting a felony. Currently, the Commonwealth has among the nation's most lenient laws about cockfighting, though it is illegal. So is keeping ducks in the backyard without a permit, by the way.
The Lynchburg News Leader is coming out strongly against cockfighting. Of course, Lynchburg has long been known as a town of lefty do-gooders, as Jerry Falwell.
450 birds, a half million dollars worth of cocks, were seized in Livermore CA.
I am no mathematician, but these birds ain't cheap. It makes you wonder why locales hand this kind of goldmine over to zealots so they can kill them. It is not the fiscal equivalent of killing the golden egg laying goose?
It is worth linking through this site to see the photo montage of the seized chickens. This was a massive operation, all of the fighting cocks chained to their little houses. Why, one might wonder, did the police suddenly get wind of this "large scale" operation, as the story breathlessly puts it. Surely anyone going by would have seen these sheds eons ago? Why did they seize birds on a farm where no fighting was going on? Is the fighting bird to be made illegal itself?
There were other arrests in CA too.
This case from Texas makes me wonder why the cops felt like they could search the car--evidence of probably cause because of presence of a chicken? Does this mean that police suspicion of cockfighting frees them to interpret anything as evidence of cockfighting? Let's ask the good people of Tennessee:
In Tennessee they found some chickens and $300 in cash. Clear evidence of high stakes gambling. The news report does not just include that astonishing figure, it includes this quote, as its own stand alone paragraph the revelance of which is left tellingly vague:
"Police said many people involved don't speak English."