South Carolina Rep. Mace leads coalition calling for crackdown on illegal animal fighting shipments

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Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCBD)- South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace and three dozen other members of Congress have called on the U.S. Postal Service to crack down on illegal animal-fighting shipments.

In a letter sent to the United States Postal Inspection Service, Mace, a Republican, and others expressed concerns about the Postal Service’s role in transporting animals, specifically birds, for illegal fighting purposes. The letter was signed by 36 members of the U.S. House including 24 Democrats and 12 Republicans.

The call comes on the heels of a series of Animal Wellness Action investigations that revealed thousands of fighting roosters are shipped annually throughout the United States in boxes for fighting purposes. More than 10,000 birds have been shipped to Guam over the past four years.

“We need to stop the shipment of animals, for fighting purposes, via the U.S. Postal Service,” Mace said. “This barbaric and cruel practice needs further investigation and those responsible need to be held accountable. I urge the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to work more aggressively to interdict illegal trafficking of fighting animals through U.S. mail.” 

Since 2002, the U.S. has prohibited any interstate or foreign transport of animals for fighting purposes. Felony-level penalties for those crimes were established by Congress in 2007, including a provision that specifically prohibits any person from using the US Postal Service to promote or further any animal fighting venture.

“The U.S. has banned any interstate or foreign transport of animals for fighting purposes for nearly 20 years, yet the problem still persists, Illinois Rep. Mike Quickley said. “We must take action to better enforce our laws and end this immoral practice. “With evidence pointing to the U.S. mail as the primary means of transport for these animals — it is past time for the USPS to treat the illegal shipment of fighting animals as a high priority and work to end this once and for all.”

Marty Irby, executive director for AWA, applauded Mace and Quigley for taking a stand.

“We applaud Reps. Nancy Mace and Mike Quigley for their leadership and tireless work for the animals we all care so deeply about, and all of the Members who joined this effort,” Irby said. “Cockfighting is not only inhumane and unconscionable but, it’s a health and human safety threat, given the role of this blood-sport in spreading Newcastle disease, and Avian influenza — the U.S. Postal Inspector should crackdown against this form of staged cruelty.”

Those who signed the letter included: Reps. Alma Adams, D-N.C., Collin Allred, D-Tex., Don Bacon, R-Neb., Julia Brownley, D-Ca., Buddy Carter, R-Ga.,  Troy Carter, D-La., Jim Cooper D-Tenn., Angie Craig, D-Minn., Madeline Dean, D-Pa., Peter DeFazio, D-Oreg., Drew Ferguson, R-Ga., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., Mike Garcia, R-Ca., Michael Guest, R-Miss., Lance Gooden, R-Tex., Jahana Hayes, D-Conn., Sara Jacobs, D-Ca., John Katko, R-N.Y., Ted Lieu, D-Calif, Zoe Lofgren, D-Ca., Lucy McBath, D-Ga., Betty McCollum, D-Minn., Jim McGovern, D-Mass., Joe Neguse, D-Colo., Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., Chris Pappas, D-N.H., Scott Peters, D-Ca., Mark Pocan, D-Wis., Bill Posey, R-Fla., Kurt Schrader, DVM, D-Oreg., Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., Dina Titus, D-Nev., Norma Torres, D-Ca., and Fred Upton, R-Mich.

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