3, 2005: Members of the Society for the Preservation
of Poultry Antiquities stepped up to oppose legislation
that could damage small flock owners in South Carolina.
Although the bill is still under consideration, they
feel their efforts helped turn votes against it.
“We are in this fight for the lives of our fowl,”
said Dr. Everett.
The proposed anti-cockfighting law, H3344, would allow
any game fowl to be confiscated without a warrant and
destroyed. SPPA Secretary-Treasurer Dr. Charles Everett
was there on Monday, April 18, 2005 for the Judiciary
Committee that was considering sending the bill to the
full House for consideration.
John Foley submitted a written statement opposing the
“I beg for mercy for the lives of the hens, chicks
and roosters and their eggs,” he wrote.
Cock fighting has been against the law in South Carolina
for 120 years. The proposed law, adapted from an existing
law against dog fighting, makes cock fighting a felony
punishable by up to $5,000 fine and up to five years
in jail. It allows the confiscation and destruction
of all game fowl, on the assumption that they cannot
be safely kept and are kept for the purpose of cock
Many breeders and small flock owners keep game fowl
for preservation and exhibition purposes. Those breeders
never cross paths with cock fighters.
Dr. Everett, who has never had any connection with
cock fighting, made several arguments against the proposed
Agriculture is the second-largest industry in South
Carolina, and broilers are the single largest contribution
to the industry. Small flock owners and breeders who
keep game fowl are maintaining the repository of valuable
genetic stock that may well be needed to infuse vigor
and disease resistance to commercial meat and egg flocks
in the future. Those game birds would be at risk if
this law is passed.
Game fowl breeders would be subject to unannounced
search and seizure of their birds, regardless of whether
they ever had any contact with cock fighting.
The extreme penalties in the proposed law, up to $5,000
fine and five years in jail, would introduce disparity
of law into the state. A first offense drunk driving
charge carries only a single night in jail.
The bill was passed out of committee to the full House
on an 8-5 vote. Before Dr. Everett spoke with some of
the Representatives on the Judiciary Committee, the
bill had only one opponent on the committee.
“My recommendation is that if they want to send
a message about cock fighting, they should leave it
a misdemeanor and increase the penalties,” said
Dr. Everett. A $500 fine and a night in jail would make
the state’s opposition to cock fighting clear
without endangering game fowl breeders and their valuable
“I’m really concerned about maintaining
heirloom flocks of birds,” he said. “Game
fowl were the common, everyday bird that most farmers
in our history kept. They are vigorous and healthy,
and their genes are in most of our domestic fowl today.
Preservation and exhibition flocks need to be protected.”