Cockfighting is New Mexican tradition

By Tony Parra

Lawmakers have once again decided to consider banning cockfighting.

Why?

The sport is a Mexican-American tradition, and a New Mexican tradition. New Mexico and Louisiana are the only two states in which cockfighting is legal, but that’s no reason to ban it.

Animal-rights activists contend cockfighting is a form of animal cruelty. More cruel than killing chickens for Sunday dinners?

If the ban is successful, why should activists stop there? How about a ban on branding cattle? That probably hurts the cattle. Maybe a ban on the removal of horns from cattle?

I don’t buy the argument of Rep. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, that cockfighting is too closely associated with gambling. By Wirth’s logic, should we ban football and basketball, too?

Many of our law-enforcement agencies are already understaffed, while focusing on robberies, homicides and other violent crimes. If cockfighting is banned, that’s one more crime they’ll have to be on the lookout for.

Wirth seems to oppose gambling in the state of New Mexico. So why isn’t he complaining about state-run lottery games or the casinos and horse races that bring in big dollars from tourists?

It seems like we are letting a minority dictate how the majority should feel. These are people, I am sure, who have never participated in our state’s traditions; yet they insist our traditions align with their morals.

Case in point: Actress Pamela Anderson asked Gov. Bill Richardson to outlaw cockfighting in New Mexico. She wrote, “The whole country is watching, especially Hollywood, which your office actively courts for the film business.”

Does that mean if New Mexico doesn’t pass the ban, none of Pamela Anderson’s quality movies will be filmed in New Mexico? Cinematic triumphs like “Barb Wire,” “Baywatch: Forbidden Paradise” or “Baywatch: River of No Return”? You’ll have to pardon me for my lack of trepidation.

I think we New Mexicans will be just fine without Anderson or Hollywood dictating how we live our lives.

Animal-rights activists contend people who practice violence against animals are likely to practice violence against people. Where is their proof? Is it a common practice to check the criminal records of those who follow cockfighting?

My point is simple. If we ban cockfighting, it should be because we as New Mexicans decide to do so, and not because of our standing with Hollywood or animal-rights activists.

Tony Parra is a staff writer for the Portales News-Tribune. Contact him at 356-4483 or by e-mail:
Tony_Parra@link.freedom.com