View the Ken Cuccinelli Ad
(October 24, 2007)—Less than two weeks before Election Day, the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) is asking Fairfax County voters what incumbent Senator Ken Cuccinelli has in common with admitted dogfighter Michael Vick. The animal welfare group launched an advertising campaign today opposing Cuccinelli’s reelection because of the lawmaker’s support for animal fighting in the General Assembly.
The full-page ads are running this week in the Fairfax Connection, Fairfax Station Connection, Centre View South, Centre View North, Springfield Connection and Burke Connection. The ad features images of cockfighting and the headline, "Who could support animal fighting? Ken Cuccinelli." Click here to view the ad.
"Sheriffs and humane societies throughout the Commonwealth want to crack down on illegal cockfighting and the crimes associated with it, but Ken Cuccinelli has sided with animal fighters," said Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. "Ken Cuccinelli is soft on crime and hard on animals. He is out of step with the mainstream values of Fairfax County."
Cuccinelli voted in February against legislation to upgrade penalties for illegal cockfighting. In fact, he was one of only two senators who took that extreme position and sided with animal fighting interests. The vast majority of senators—a bipartisan group of 17 Democrats and 21 Republicans—supported Senate Bill 1190 to put a stop to this cruelty. The legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 38-2.
At a cockfight, two roosters are placed into a pit to slash each other to death. Razor-sharp knives are strapped to the roosters’ legs, and the birds are pumped full of drugs to heighten their aggression. A fight may last minutes or hours, until one of the birds finally dies from blood loss, broken bones, punctured lungs, gouged eyes, and other injuries. All for the amusement of spectators and illegal gambling.
Virginia's anti-cockfighting law is the second weakest in the country. Of all 50 states, only Alabama has a weaker statute against cockfighting. In Virginia, it's currently a class 3 misdemeanor, and only if associated with illegal gambling—meaning the maximum fine is $500 and there’s no jail time. These weak penalties have not been enough to deter cockfighters from engaging in this lucrative, underground activity. When animal fighters can earn tens of thousands of dollars wagering on a single fight, a slap on the wrist is considered just a cost of doing business. And because neighboring states like North Carolina and Maryland punish cockfighting as a felony, Virginia has become a magnet for illegal cockfighters and the crimes associated with them.
Animal fighting not only fosters unspeakable cruelty to animals, but also spawns other criminal activity, such as narcotics traffic, illegal gambling, public corruption, and violence toward people. At a recent cockfighting raid in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, on the North Carolina border, 122 people were arrested—including illegal aliens who were members of the Mexican Mafia and MS-13 gangs.
HSLF is a nonpartisan organization that evaluates candidates based only on a single criterion: where they stand on animal welfare. HSLF does not judge candidates based on party affiliation or any other issue.
Media contact: Heather Sullivan: 301-548-7778, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. On the web at www.hslf.org.
Paid for by Humane Society Legislative Fund and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. HSLF, 519 C Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002.