From: Josh Christensen
To: Dean Sanpei,
Date: Mon Mar 10 15:11:01 MDT 2014
Representative, Sanpei I am writing to urge you to reject SB 112S01 Gamefowl Fighting Amendments when the bill reaches the floor of the Utah House for a final vote. SB 112 is a law looking for a crime and with far reaching implications on honorable and law abiding Utah citizens. Cockfighting is not a problem in the state of Utah. This is an irrefutable fact. There are zero examples of persons being arrested, let alone from surrounding states, in Utah. Extensive conversations with Utah law enforcement by Senator Harper and others reveal that cockfighting is a "negligible to non-existent" problem. The SB 112 Fiscal note estimates that 1/2 person a year is anticipated to be convicted. There is simply no justification for legislative action. The only evidence supporters point to is a reader submitted letter to a magazine suggesting people come to Utah because it's a misdemeanor state. To base public policy on an unclaimed commentary with zero substantiation when everything says cockfighting is not a problem in Utah is not justifiable considering the consequences to average Utah citizens. And if he assertion that the reason their is no proof of cockfighting occurring is that law enforcement is hesitant to spend resources on a misdemeanor and this law changes that, there is a massive resource expenditure that is not being accounted for. How much is law enforcement going to expend putting people in prison over a chicken? There are also many people in Utah that raise gamecocks for show. Show standards require that the waddles, combs, and spurs be trimmed. The intent language in SB 112, even as amended, makes raising chickens for the purpose of fighting a potential felony. The problem? Trimming could easily be interpreted by law enforcement as proof of the intent to fight because these practices are also common among gamefowl fighting. Perfectly good people could also risk losing their property to seizure for a crime against a bird that we slaughter and consume billions of annually. We are not talking about a dog. A law addressing a non-existent issue is not worth risking a massive intrusion on liberty that SB 112 represents. It is asserted that Utah should conform to the policies of surrounding states. But think about the implications. Does this mean Utah is going to legalize marijuana like Colorado, or gambling like almost every state, or prostitution like Nevada? It makes more sense to legislate specific to the state of Utah and not concern ourselves with conforming to surrounding states. SB 112 is an attempt at making a symbolic statement to address a problem that does not exist in Utah. This symbolic statement is simply not worth the risks to personal liberty and property that the intent language. Putting this bill in place would put honest, law abiding, tax paying U.S. Citizens in an already over populated system (prison or jail), men and women in prison and their children into foster care. All ones personal property will be taken. In New York when they raided they took 3000 chickens & burned his pens and also weakens second amendment rights to keep and bear arms. Most cockfighters are business owners or have good paying jobs, also some have concealed weapons permits & some drive hazmat vehicles. If cockers were so bad they couldn't have these things, cockers don't hurt this economy but instead help it. If the state of Utah would legalize and regulate cockfighting it would be good for both parties involved. Cockfighting wouldn't be drove more underground and out of sight of public scrutiny. "Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Eagle Mountain, said the state already locks up too many people and has overburdened its court and prison system. Adding another law just drives the act into the shadows." “Only government can create a black market and it empowers the cartels,” said Madsen." In Oklahoma when cockfighting was legal this sport brought in 113 million dollars annually every year. To say this sport serves no purpose in this economy or society is just a matter of taste and stupidity. When things such as human trafficking are going on in Utah, we should put our efforts towards saving children, not put more resources on catching a handful of cockers. Poultry are excluded from the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958, which means commercial poultry do not need numbing aids when their feet are cut off and beaks are snipped for they won't fight. They are put in with thousands of other chickens where over crowding is a reality. Where the poultry get lung burn, heart burn and knee burn because of all the manure on the ground. In turn this causes injury and prolongs death and is legally protected. According to the USDA in 2008 13 million chickens were slaughtered a day in the U.S. Alone. Because it serves a purpose in society. If cockfighting was legal it would be compared to sports such as horse racing, rodeo, etc....... Then it could also serve a purpose and pay it's do's. Gamecocks live a life of luxury compered to commercial poultry, they live longer lives and are treated like kings. A big misunderstanding is that gamecocks are forced to fight, John Comerford ( penn state university professor) will tell you "it is a genetic trait in which they posses that makes them aggressive". The gamecock is it's own strain of fowl they have been breed this way for thousands years and deserve to do what they've been doing for a thousand more years. A class A misdemeanor is way to harsh a penalty for cockfighting and the reasons are: a class A misdemeanor are things such as DUI with injury, assault on a police officer, negligent homicide, theft and drug possession, all inflict with human life. There are more wrecks and car accidents from texting and drunk driving, than anything. I just ask that you use reason when this bill is in front of you, and ask yourself "should I vote yea and put innocent men and women in prison with rapist, murderers, child molesters & drug dealers because of a subject I know nothing about". "OR should I say NAY and just respect ones view and opinions on life in general and realize cockfighters haven't hurt any one in UTAH". Thank you and God bless, Joshua Christensen Sent from my iPhone