Cockfighting is Legal in Puerto Rico … Sort Of

Though this is a bit late, there was some good news out of Puerto Rico late last year. Last year, a ban on cockfighting was approved by Congress and the entire cockfighting industry in Puerto Rico was on the verge of closing down resulting in throwing hundreds of people out of work

The cockfighting ban was enacted at the behest of the Humane Society (yeah, right) and other animal rights groups who have been lobbying to outlaw the sport for years. Last year, their efforts bore fruit to the despair of Puerto Ricans who have conducted cockfighting for about 4 centuries. Fortunately, Puerto Rican lawmakers banded together before the end of last year and passed a law re-legalizing cockfighting a few days prior to the ban taking effect.

Puerto Rico’s defiance of federal law has set up a court battle between the island territory and the U.S. government. However, Puerto Rico Report points out the arguments made by the U.S. Justice Department in court in defense of the ban, are citing rules that prohibited many aspects of cockfighting which have been in place for a long time but were never enforced.

I am not an attorney but, despite even the territorial clause of the U.S. Constitution, the federal government’s lack of due diligence in enforcing federal statutes related to cockfighting might weaken the Justice Department’s position and strengthen Puerto Rico’s. I do believe that, in a general sense, if laws are enacted, but not enforced over a period of time, a court can declare them invalid. If so, the federal government’s lack of enforcement could blow up the U.S. Department of Justice’s case.

If Puerto Rico loses, it might be time for Puerto Ricans to consider independence from the United States. But only time will tell. In the meantime, buena suerte Puerto Rico!

PHOTO CREDIT: Wikimedia – Puerto Rican cockfighting club, 1937