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Treating the Territories Unfairly

Floor Speech

Date: May 17, 2018
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. PLASKETT. Mr. Speaker, I rise to strongly oppose the Roskam amendment to the Agriculture and Nutrition Act.

This amendment is deeply unfair to territories in the United States and contrary to the original intent of the Animal Welfare Act of 1976. That intent was to aid State and local law enforcement in jurisdictions where gamefowl events were prohibited from transport from jurisdictions which allow it.

Mr. Speaker, cockfighting, like horse racing, is a longstanding recreational activity in the U.S. Virgin Islands with historical and cultural significance. It is regulated in the Virgin Islands along with Puerto Rico.

I understand the concerns of those opposed to this sport and believe regulatory processes and educational outreach are the best means within those jurisdictions to address them.

Outlawing cockfighting in the U.S. territories will only create underground industries, which will prove problematic and create criminality, particularly for men of color.

Mr. Speaker, to pass an amendment that solely affects the territories that none of the Delegates from the territories support is pejorative, paternalistic, yes, colonialist, and downright wrong. The territories have always been treated unfairly under numerous important Federal laws and programs, and this amendment, sadly, is yet another example.

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