Is Tulare County the new animal cruelty capital of North America? The brutality of rooster fighting in our rural areas has become widespread. Recent legislation passed by Los Angeles County (Los Angeles Municipal Code 10.38.010) limits the number of roosters an individual can have to 10 birds. Up to 25 roosters can be kept if the owner obtains a license to run an animal facility, these “animal facilities” are subject to regular inspection. This municipal code does not pertain to commercial ranches which produce eggs or meat for sale, these are regulated by the USDA. It also does not limit the number of chickens. People raising chickens to feed their families are not affected. People who engage in legitimate poultry husbandry with roosters as a hobby are not affected by this code as individuals can have up to 10 birds.
The keeping of roosters is often falsely portrayed as simply a hobby or only for show. Some rooster owners even claim that the roosters are needed for egg production (they’re not), an FFA or 4-H project or some other false premise. Make no mistake that the keeping of roosters in large numbers is for the perverse blood sport and gambling pleasure of the criminal element. These operations generate gambling profits but do not pay taxes, as my business must do, to the county, state and federal tax authorities. It is not unusual for these illegal operations to be associated with narcotics trafficking, illegal guns, child endangerment and the theft of utilities, according to the Associated Press. Recent arrests for, “unlawful possession of animals for an animal fighting venture” by the US Attorney in Fresno, show that often times animal cruelty goes hand in hand with other serious crimes.
I would encourage the County of Tulare to pass an ordinance like the one adopted by the County of Los Angeles. I would further encourage an ordinance requiring anyone who keeps more than 10 roosters to submit their tax returns and operating budget as financial proof that a reasonable budget exists for the feeding and care of the animals and to show that appropriate business and sales taxes are paid on any revenues. Yes, there is an enforcement cost, but the other animal species we share this planet with deserve our cooperation and respect.
The Dairymen of California
This letter to the editor is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.