RSS - Regulations, Statutes and Standards TMC Sued Over Sale of Cockfighting Mags

August 27, 2007

The undebatably reprehensible sport of cockfighting is banned in virtually all of the U.S.

Yet in an arguably inconsistent series of policies,  possessing cockfighting paraphernalia is legal in 39 states, while owning fighting birds is legal in 17.

This incongruity fuels a suit the Humane Society has filed against

The Humane Society is more than quite annoyed that Amazon sells subscriptions to two cockfighting magazines, The Feathered Warrior and The Gamecock. The Humane Society of the United States says that since the magazines advertise behavior that facilitates a practice that is illegal throughout the U.S. except Louisiana, that Amazon should stop selling subscriptions to these publications.

Yet here in the U.S., we have this thing called Freedom of Speech. It is protected for the First Amendment.

First Amendment grounds are implied in what Amazon spokesperson Patty Smith tells The New York Times' Andrew Adam Newman.

“These materials are legal to sell, and we do not believe we should act as a censor because their message is objectionable to some people,” Smith tells Newman, adding that Amazon sells subscriptions to more than 90,000 magazines. “With our incredible selection of titles, we’re bound to sell something that someone will find objectionable.”

Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society, said his organization would never hinder free speech. “We think that Amazon should have the right to sell magazines with pro-cockfighting editorial, but they cross the line when they advertise the sale of contraband," countered Humane Society president Wayne Pacelle.

As an ardent First Amendment advocate but also one who is more than totally put off by cruelty to animals (see my anti-Michael Vick screed here) I'm trying to decide where I stand on this issue.

What do you think?

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