A Republican state senator from Utah said Tuesday he opposed making cockfighting a felony in the state because abortion was legal, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
"In a state where we can still allow people to kill their babies, we want to make it a felony to let chickens fight — the purpose for which they were raised," Sen. Allen Christensen said. "It’s not beautiful, it’s not wonderful or any such thing."
Organizing a cockfight in Utah is currently a class A misdemeanor. Proponents of the bill noted that cockfighting is a felony in Utah's neighboring states and the lesser penalties could make Utah attractive to fans of the fights.
"Do we really want to make it a felony and go to prison [because] two chickens were bred — which naturally want to do this thing in their lives — and we’re going to send their owners to prison for this?" Christensen added. "Yet we allow people to go ahead and murder their unborn babies? I vote no."
The legislation would make organizing a cockfight punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The bill also makes attending a cockfight a class B misdemeanor.
The state Senate passed the bill by a 19-9 vote. The legislation now heads to the state House.
Christensen angered animal rights activists and others in 2010 by proposing legislation that would require all wolves to be "destroyed or removed" from the state.