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U.S. Senate candidate speaks at pro-cockfighting rally

U.S. Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin’s itinerary listed a Saturday’s morning event at The Arena in Corbin as a “states rights rally,” but event organizers say the sole purpose was to build support to legalize cockfighting in Kentucky.

Bevin addressed the crowd of about 700 people at the event, which was closed to the media.

“The movement is about changing the law, not breaking the law,” said Michael Devereaux,  Director of the Gamefowl Defense Network, the organizer of the event. He said the entire rally dealt with how to use the democratic process to do so.

Under current state law, cockfighting is illegal and is a misdemeanor offense and is seen by advocates as one that is not enforced enough.

After attending the 66th Annual Lincoln Day Banquet later in the evening, Bevin said he did not realize the event had anything to do with cockfighting.

“I was the first person to speak and then I left,” Bevin said. “They knew I was here. They asked if I would be interested in speaking. I’m a politician running statewide, any chance I get to speak to a few hundred people I’m going to take it.”

Bevin, a businessman from Louisville, is challenging incumbent U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in the Republican Primary. McConnell serves as Minority Leader in the Senate.

Bevin said it was his understanding that the gathering was focused on “state’s rights” and the concern by Kentucky citizens that the federal government has become overreaching.

Organizers say there was never any ambiguity about why they were meeting.

Devereaux said a new federal spectator law criminalizes not only those who participate in cock fighting, but any spectators at the event.

However, wording in the federal law states that if cockfighting is legal in the state and none of the fowl have crossed state lines, the federal law is moot.

“The basic argument is that the people of Kentucky have the right to determine how this issue is dealt with in their state,” Devereaux said.

Very clearly, the state doesn’t want to crack down,” Devereaux said, noting several attempts to amend Kentucky Law to make cock fighting a felony have failed.

Devereaux said those who raise fighting cocks have done a poor job advocating their position to the public and telling their story. As a result, public perception equates cock fighting to dog fighting.

The largest issue is that while dogs are raised to be companions to people and dogs are not predisposed to fight one another, more than 8 million chickens are consumed in the United States, annually.

“Commercial poultry lives about six weeks as opposed to two years for a game fowl,” Devereaux said.

In addition, because of breeding, Devereux said gamecocks are predisposed to fight if they get near each other, similar to male beta fish that are put into the same tank.

Devereaux said gamecocks are not just thrown in the trash. The fowl are edible. In addition the feathers are used for fly-fishing lures and for decoration.

Advocates don’t just want the state to legalize cockfighting. Devereaux said they want the state to regulate all aspects of it, including the health of the fowl the process, and, especially the gambling.

“Once you regulate it and bring it out of the shadows, you eliminate the other issues such as the drugs that are sold at some of the events,” Devereaux said.

Devereaux said the movement has at least one friend in the Kentucky Legislature.

State Rep. Richard Henderson, D-Mt. Sterling, attended the event and offered his support on the legislation.

While there is no bill in the 2014 legislative session, Devereaux said those at the event and those who support the effort are asked to contact Henderson to thank him for his support and to contact their own legislators in an attempt to generate a bill and support for that bill in the 2015 legislative session.

“Let's send a thousand emails and make a thousand calls and show Representative Henderson that we are willing to vocally stand up and fight for our rights using the democratic process,” Devereaux stated on the American Gamefowl Defense Network Facebook page.



Adrian Peralta (April 02, 2014) Reply

very good article!!!!!!!!

Leslie Moore (April 02, 2014) Reply

In my opinion I believe that cockfighting should be legalized in the state of Kentucky and my husband and myself are for everyone that is helping us get this bill sent through the 2015 legislative session so that we can get it legalized. I want to thank everyone personally for helping us get cockfighting legalized in the state of Kentucky.

Charley VanHoozen (April 02, 2014) Reply

....Not to mention, the 14th amendment, "equal protection under the law". It is perfectly legal to kill a chicken by whatever means one desires and make a sandwich out of it; poultry being excluded from the humane slaughter act; yet allowing them to fight is a federal crime? How hypocritical shall we allow this world to become? The rules and laws of farming should be left up to the farmers, not the urbanites. This is clearly a matter of urban vs. rural, and nothing more.

mrs. smith (April 02, 2014) Reply

When this was legal my family had responsibly raised and shown gamefowl.We never seen any drugs nor prostitution the lies about what really goes on has clouded this sport with negativity. You cant raise gamefowl and be a bad citizen it simply takes too much time and most of these families were good honest people. The laws changed and people were forced to hide or quit. The money we spent raising these majestic fowl and the care we gave for them made this sport very special to us. For years they "hsus" said that we were criminals and drug dealers and that couldnt be farther from the truth.

Kentucky Fan (April 02, 2014) Reply

Very good article. I think it's about time we get this legal. The HSUS has be pushing us around long enough. Kentucky should not allow HSUS dictate out state and take our rights away.

Kentucky Fan (April 02, 2014) Reply

Very good article. I think it's about time we get this legal. The HSUS has been pushing us around long enough. Kentucky should not allow HSUS dictate our state and take our rights away.

Arizona (April 02, 2014) Reply

It is unfair that gamefowl breeders are seen as criminals. I don't understand why the government is trying to stop cockfighting all together. Not only does it keep people occupied with a hobby and out of trouble, but it also could generate a ton of money. I'm tired of hearing all the negative accusations such as drugs and crime, when in reality it used to be a way for families to bond. I am in favor of making cockfighting legal. As Abraham Lincoln once said, "'Ma'am, as long as the good lord allows civilized men created in his own image to fight wars and kill each other while the civilized world stands by and watches, it's not my place to deny the lowly chicken the same opportunity."

Dstrick44 (April 03, 2014) Reply

I know exactly how you feel,brother. My family bonded over skinning puppies for generations then the government had to stick it's nose in and make that activity illegal. I said, "Study it out. Its just nature. Watch how puppies are in the wild. Study it out." We got some really nice belts and ladies shoes from all those puppies too. My family made a ton of cash making puppy hide coats for rich ladies. When they made it illegal, the whole family fell apart. Some of my cousins started getting in trouble and we all lost touch with Grampa. I hear he died or something. Anyhow, people should just mind their own business. Making two animals fight to the death is just profitable entertainment for the whole family. Leave these decent folks alone and go solve a bank robbery or something.

georgia fan (April 02, 2014) Reply

It's about time common since Americans woke up. There are to many other things destroying this country other than gamefowl!

Fave Dave (April 02, 2014) Reply

I'm so happy you goobers are riled up for cock fighting. I guess that's what happens when you marry your cousin. Bwaaahahaha!

the law (April 02, 2014) Reply

Hell there's good and bad people in every walk of life there's catholic prests thats child molesters that don't mean they all are so if u don't like what we do with our roosters just don't do it nobody is making u watch or participate in our heritage its my life and I'm not changing for anyone

steve white (April 02, 2014) Reply

Its time for Americans to stand up for their rights. It don't matter if you agree with cockfighting or not, Its a freedom you should have in this country. Whats going to be the next right we loose? It maybe something that afects you and your way of life! We need to stand for something or we will fall for anything.

michael smith (April 02, 2014) Reply

That Bevins is a liar he doesn't need any ones vote at all,i am with you all and hope we can stand up and get our rights back,god bless.

jessie (April 02, 2014) Reply

If people had a better understanding of what gamefowl is I believe there would be a far more torerant towards the activity. Instead of taking anything the HSUS says to heart....learn on your own as to exactly what gamefowl is. While watching a lion eat its prey is certainly not something everyone cares to watch...its certainly no less natural for gamefowl to kill each other. Its a special breed of fowl that can only continue to exist through natural selection duplicated through cockfighting. Research it yourself and try not to show bias...your findings may suprise you.

Sweet Home Alabama (April 02, 2014) Reply

This is about the most asinine article I have EVER read! Thank the good lord above that I moved out of Corbin! COCKFIGHTING?? Really?? Do you all have n-o-t-h-i-n-g better to do? Let me give you some ideas....get a job, read the Bible, go to school and get your HS diploma that you don't have! DO SOMETHING constructive!!(that word means do something meaningful!) I am ASHAMED that you people would advocate for something so unbelievably ridiculous!

caset butch (April 03, 2014) Reply

I have a job I have a degree and proud to say I am a cock fighter so I am glad you left

Steven buster (September 19, 2014) Reply

We can go fight for or country and may die but we can't decide what happens with are on live stock we have to much government already in are state and affarirs so I hope all cockers stand together and let the government no we're tired of it.

tommy dunham (April 02, 2014) Reply

Sir, Mr Alabama, you know not of what got are speaking. I could introduce you to several high end people that raise and show gamefowl. I understand you have a right To Your opinion,but before you give it,do a little research before you pop off. In this free country,we should not have our rights taken by people that put animals above humans,and would kill a human over an animal. If that makes since to you while there are 100's of people killing each other every day over drugs. I think our people in Washington should worry about that problem a lot more.

tommy dunham (April 02, 2014) Reply

Sir, Mr Alabama, you know not of what you are speaking. I could introduce you to several high end people that raise and show gamefowl. I understand you have a right To Your opinion,but before you give it,do a little research before you pop off. In this free country,we should not have our rights taken by people that put animals above humans,and would kill a human over an animal. If that makes since to you while there are 100's of people killing each other every day over drugs. I think our people in Washington should worry about that problem a lot more.

my homes n alabama (April 02, 2014) Reply

Sweet home alabama i love the sport of cockfighting have a college education, i am a christian evanglist, if you would read your bible sir you would know that the bible speaks of the hsus, peta, aspca, etc etc..... as teaching a doctrine of the devil yes they are doing the devils work. It would be nice if you knew what the blble says before you speak and tell others to read and by the way it does not say anything about cockfighting what it says is as a man i have dominion over all animals and fowl and fish and bugs etc etc.... need i say more other than good luck Kentucky.

Buisiness Owner (April 02, 2014) Reply

People who raise game fowl are from all walks of life. They are Doctors, lawyers, teachers, carpenters, construction workers, coal miners, buisnisess owners such as myself and healthcare industry. Above all else we are patriotic taxpayers that love our traditions, heritage and cultural beliefs. We lobe our families and yes our game fowl. The Hsus has placed so much negative stereotypes against the game fowl industry and our family. Lets show some truth.

Kentucky Gamefowl Breeder (April 02, 2014) Reply

I've been raising gamefowl for 35 years right here in Kentucky. For someone who grew up farming, and knows the ways of animals, cockfighting is just an organized form of the natural behavior seen between two roosters on the farm. It's normal for roosters to fight each other. Roosters fight, that's what they do. It's about passing on their DNA to the next generation - survival of the fittest. People from the farm know this - they are informed by the power of first-hand observation. We understand how nature works - animals fight for breeding rights, animals eat each other, and man eats animals... yum! Most of those who are against cockfighting are from an urban environment. What they know of animals has come from the meat counter at Krogers, TV-shows like Animal Planet, and from anthropomorphic versions of animals spoon-fed from Disney movies. About 6,000 years ago Chinese literature begins to describe organized cockfighting, and the fascination of man with these magnificent fowl has never ended. The sport is thought to have originated in southeast Asia when the the natural aggressive tendencies of the native jungle fowl were observed. Man captured them and began to selectively breed them for his own enjoyment. The sport and its participants have been studied by anthropologists and sociologists and it has been documented to occur in most countries in the world. Some countries have attempted to outlaw it, but have had limited success. Laws have not and cannot stop it - it's worldwide and will always be. So, the question becomes one of priorities... and the rights of individuals to have freedom to engage in activities that do not impede on the rights of others. Should law enforcement allocate significant resources to arrest these otherwise law-abiding, tax-paying citizens? Should our courts and jails be filled with people who enjoy watching and gambling on two roosters fighting? Are we, as taxpayers, willing to fund this enforcement effort while at the same time eating some delicious fried chicken? Should the uninformed urban majority dictate public policy and resource allocation (tax payer dollars) at the expense of their rural cousins? Cockfighting is the national sport in the Philippines (if you doubt this, spend some time with Google). Every municipality has at least one licensed cockpit, and the government regulates the activity (The Philippine Gamefowl Commssion was created by Presidential Decree 1802 in 1981). In return, the sport generates hundreds of millions of dollars of revenues for the local, regional and national economies of that nation. It's not just the Philippines - several countries in Asia and in Latin America allow cockfighting and many have tapped into the sport as an additional revenue stream, allowing them additional resources to invest into education, infrastructure improvements and other services. Kentucky is predominantly a rural state and the sport is deeply entrenched from one end to the other. Laws against cockfighting are akin to strangers from town telling us how to live our lives... and we have been merely following the tradition of our fathers and grand fathers and great grandfathers - and in many cases we are feeding aand competing with the direct decedents of the same fowl our family cared for so many years ago. We just want to live our lives in peace, raise our chickens, and get together with our friends and watch them do what they are bred to do.

SandyCreek (April 02, 2014) Reply

Sweet Home Alabama, I Thank God that you moved out of Corbin Ky also and for that matter I Thank God that you moved out of Ky all together, I'm just sorry that Alabama ended up with you because I like a lot of people in that State also. As for getting a job I am a lifetime resident of Ky and have had a full time job for 25 years. I have a high school education, I have evidently read the Bible much more than you as I know to love thy neighbor as thyself and to judge not lest ye be judged. My only regret at this point is that you stopped in Alabama instead of leaving the United States completely.

James Bozian (April 02, 2014) Reply

Make all the excuses & use all the different wording you want, cockfighting is completely unacceptable. There's a reason why it's illegal almost everywhere in the United States. A lot of other rotten things have been legal in the past as well so forget the b.s. culture/tradition argument. Cockfighting is a disgrace.

TransQ (April 02, 2014) Reply

James Bozian, I would rather breed gamecock and fight them to test them than to plant and smoke marijuana. ... Stop meddling in other people's lives. Live your life to the fullest and let others live theirs.

sammy (April 02, 2014) Reply

Who are you to decide whats acceptable or not for me? Should I come to your house and tell you how to run your own home? If everyone would worry more about themselves and less about what others are doing this country would be a much happier place.

Richard Gozinya (April 03, 2014) Reply

So, do you feel the same about same sex marriage? How about abortion? Prostitution, marijuana? How far does your belief in individual rights actually go?

cigar hunt (April 02, 2014) Reply

part of heritage and family tradition. thank you for your time.

Dan (April 02, 2014) Reply

Good for you Kentucky. Time to stop HSUS before we have no rights over our own animals. Roosters are personal property what right does anyone have to say what someone else does with their own property!!

TransQ (April 02, 2014) Reply

Amen brother. I couldn't have said it better.

Texas best (April 02, 2014) Reply

It's funny how the gamefowl enthusiast are on here being friendly well mannered not disrespecting anybody at all, then you see the comments from the anti cock fighting people calling us gamefowl breeders names putting us down saying we sleep with our family members and livestock etc and how sorry we are as people, and yet we gamefowl breeders are the so called bad ones and don't belong in society ????? **** this don't make sense to me but what do I know I'm just a 4th generation gamefowl breeder from tx that's married with 3 kids that are all honor students o and by the way I have a clean record and a high school diploma.

You don't have to trust your Gov to love your country (April 03, 2014) Reply

This country has become the land of the losers with so called education. If you had the education you say you have then History should be one thing you know of. The HSUS has destroyed this country with sick ideas and money pushed bills. Even the loser CEO Wayne stated in Cal. he would go from state to state using the ballot box to take our rights, the only thing he hasn't lied about. A time is coming when he will have to take a count far his actions. Cover your ears and open you eyes to the truth, cock fighting is made to be a blood sport when in fact the HSUS kills more animals in 1 month then cock fighters do combined in a year. The HSUS puts these sad TV ads on showing these poor animals and if you donate they are saved, well, here is a history lesson far you so called smart educated members of society, they HSUS has already killed every animal you see on there and the money is used to fill their pockets and pass un just laws, unless you like being a plant eater you better start checking out sites as and stop donating to losers that lie on TV with misleading promises and get away with it. My question is who are the true criminals and remember, if you donate to the HSUS your in bed with the 1 and only group that kills more animals and do more harm then cock fighters, again research your History

Jim Demoruelle (April 03, 2014) Reply

When a politician supports a law against a citizen on behalf of an opinioned group of people then He has violated the constitution of the United States. The Constitution guarantees the right of self determination. Shame on the politician who would vote to destroy our system of government by making a person a criminal to please another.

Sidro (April 03, 2014) Reply

It's a shame what the Hsus has gotten away with. The brain washing of the public through massive amounts of false advertising, supported by money that the people thinks is going to help animals but is not.The majority of people live in suburbon areas, and have no clue about rual lifestyle. They think that meat and most all food stuff is made in big box stores. Anyhow cockfighting is a God given right that no organization has the right to take from another person.

SandyCreek (April 03, 2014) Reply

Re: Richard Gozinya, You know it is ironic that you would pick those 4 issues, Prostitution is legal in several rural counties in Nevada, Marijuana is legal for recreational purposes in two states, Colorado and Washington, Same Sex Marriage is legal in at least 18 states and many courts have ruled that other states have to recognize the union even if the state does not allow the ceremony and Abortion is legal in all fifty states and where human babies are killed daily and on top of that the sale of alcoholic beverages is legal in all fifty states and in many places it is sold in grocery stores and gas stations where little children move freely around it and it is quite possibly the number 1 killer in the United States. What's ironic is that with all of these things going on in the United States the Federal Government would pass a law and tie up the resources of the tax payers to lock someone up for watching to Gamecocks fight.

Fred Fnord (April 03, 2014) Reply

"Anyhow cockfighting is a God given right that no organization has the right to take from another person." Yes, yes, but we're talking about rooster-to-rooster combat, not your personal sexual proclivities.

Alex (April 03, 2014) Reply

C'mon, these fine folks just want "to bring back the simple civilized pleasure of watching two animals fight to the death": via Wonkette596

Tanya (April 04, 2014) Reply

I was raised by a cock fighter.alsi me an my husband raise game chickens now.i can remember when my brothers was teenagers when other boys was doing drugs and getting girls pregnant my brothers was worried bout there prize winning cocks and how to breed them better .this was something we do as a family and have a lot off great memories of cockfighting the hopes ofvthis fowl you raised and took care of as a family winning and showing how welll your family breed is.I have never been so mad at the goverment i fill like my children won't ever get to have those memories that the goverment is ripping away my memories .cockfighting is a family sport i would rather raise my kids around cockfighters then letting them be boared and getting in trouble .and i have a college degree i am a christian and i belive in the lord so people qho say cockfighters are not don't no me judge ye be judge

Dona Marina (April 04, 2014) Reply

A "gamefowl" event closed to the press and Bevin was "unaware?" Come on, Kentucky, you can do better than that.

billy (April 09, 2014) Reply

All that goes to these fight's are dopers and disabled welfare recipients of the state ,cut their checks off to fund this abusers

Texasrebel (April 05, 2014) Reply

It's really funny that all the people cutting down Rooster men about animal rights... Right now they are sitting down for a Steak dinner, fried chicken, or bacon and eggs depending on the time of day? Sliding on those leather boots, mink lined jackets, alligator hide dress shoes, leather purses, and sitting in their BMW's with leather seats!!!! Where the hell you think all that leather, steak, chicken, mink comes from, think those animals committed suicide!!! It's okay to kill them for you to follow a fad, and dress like a movie star????? But people raise hundreds of fowl every year, thousands spent on taxes but what do you give back you P.O.S's GET A LIFE!!!

animal lover (April 05, 2014) Reply

What is wrong with you people that think this is okay! If you feel this is a good thing you should be put in a cage with a large tiger that hasn't eaten in days!

Texasrebel (April 12, 2014) Reply

animal lover, Q&A: 1. What makes you judge and jury, over which animals get to die and how? 2. Lipstick/lip balm is made from animal fat, do you use it? 3. Are you a vegan? 4. Do you own leather? 5. Goose down pillows or jackets? Take a look in the mirror, we breed them, raise them, and give them a fighting chance... YOU DON'T!!!! Do you think they follow the geese around with a bag waiting for the feathers to drop natural NO!!!! They get ripped out of the skin, have you been skinned lately.... The 2lb. burgers you eat came from cows than were killed by Aliens? Nice leather boots, came from cows with a death wish? You set in a sports bar watching to HUMANS in a CAGE beat their brains out for your viewing pleasure... They are humans with families and kids...They fight because you and others pay to watch them... LIKE I SAID LOOK IN THE MIRROR!!!!

Texasrebel (April 12, 2014) Reply

animal lover, We save thousands of roosters yearly for breeding purposes, pets, and yard art... They are taken care of and pampered for the rest of their lives.. NOW, tell me just how many Boxers, UFC fighters, wrestlers, How many of those do you personally take care of for your past viewing pleasure? A couple cows were killed to provide you and your family with meat, clothes, leather, and foot ware... Now how many cows did you replace for that one?

Chris (June 18, 2014) Reply

I was raised by a rooster man and I was a rooster man up until 3 yrs. ago. I live in the state of KY and am honestly almost ashamed to admit it. This state has passed so many new laws against anyone from the rural areas and all outdoors men and women it is becoming pathetic. If anyone is not aware, it is now illegal to hunt with a gun and a dog at the same time in the state of KY. that means to me that the state government here has bowed down to the animal rights groups and gladly accepted their money in return for their laws to be passed. there are also new laws on the books against gathering shad and skip jack from the OH river and other public waters for fishing bait. I also have been a big fan of fishing pay lakes my entire life and now its gotten to the point where they are getting run out of business slowly by new legislation and regulations on big blue cats and shovel heads because the guys who fish for them on the Mississippi river, KY Lake etc... dont want the pay lakes to have access to stocking them. but there are not any regulations against commercial fishing for the big cats to be slaughtered for food but in all honesty the farm raised channel cats are by far the best eating of any catfish that there is but its getting to where if yoyu can not afford to buy a $20,000 - $50,000 boat then yoyu are not allowed to enjoy the sport of fishing whether it be for catfish or bass. what do I tell my son when he gets older, Daddy is sorry he cant afford to buy a boat so you cant get to go fishing and have a good experience and equal chance to catch a trophy fish and enjoy the outdoors? I love the sport of cockfighting and hope and pray that we get it legalized in KY especially since the coal industry is in turmoil due to the Government so we can use the tax monies from cockfighting to help cover the huge shortfall in the state budget. Without ways to replace all the tax money from coal who is going to suffer, OUR CHILDREN thats who!!! Education is state funded but sadly we now have OBAMA CARE that pays for junkies to go to a methadone clinic byt we can not fight our chickens?? THATS B.S. but urban America knows how to tell rural Americans how they have to live their life, the world can't let us rural Americans live our lives the way we were raised or the way we choose!!

Doug Underwood (June 21, 2014) Reply

More power to you guys. I live in Oklahoma, and since it was outlawed here, the depressing course this country is taking has become even more clear. Oklahomans didn't outlaw it, the HSUS did by having its members come into the state, claim that they were residents, and sign the petition. The judge that heard the state Supreme court challenge upheld the ban because he and his wife are major HSUS and PETA supporters. I hope you guys get justice, because we sure as hell didn't. Hell, I may even move to Kentucky then. I did my basic training at Ft. Knox and loved the state. Good luck brothers and sisters!!!!!

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