Rep. Steve King defends the right to watch dog fighting

By David Edwards
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 16:04 EDT
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Rep. Steve King via Flickr
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Iowa Rep. Steve King (R) is standing up for the rights of Americans who want to see dogs and others animals pitted against one another in fights that often result in the animals’ deaths.

During a tele-townhall event last week, King complained about an amendment to the farm bill that would criminalize attending organized animal fights and would impose additional penalties on people who bring children to the events.

“When the legislation that passed in the farm bill that says that it’s a federal crime to watch animals fight or to induce someone else to watch an animal fight but it’s not a federal crime to induce somebody to watch people fighting, there’s something wrong with the priorities of people that think like that,” the Iowa congressman said in a video of the event that was published on Tuesday.

Think Progress’ Scott Keyes pointed out that King’s claim that lawmakers were hypocritical for not banning human fights didn’t make sense because “animals don’t have a choice in the matter.”

“Manny Pacquiao chooses to step into the ring,” Keyes wrote. “Michael Vick’s dogs did not. Similarly, when a human boxer loses a fight, he is not ritually executed after the fight. The same is not always true in dogfighting.”

Humane Society President and CEO Wayne Pacelle earlier this month said that new legislation was necessary because of loopholes that allowed fight organizers to continue to profit even though federal laws had been strengthened in recent years.

“Spectators are participants and accomplices who enable the crime of animal fighting, make the enterprise profitable through admission fees and wagering, and help conceal and protect the handlers and organizers,” Pacelle explained in a statement. “Federal investigators who raid large-scale animal fighting operations may soon be able to prosecute the entire cast of characters who sustain dogfighting and cockfighting.”

Watch this video from Rep. Steve King, uploaded July 31, 2012.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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