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110th Congress                                             Rept. 110-27
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                     Part 1

======================================================================



 
          ANIMAL FIGHTING PROHIBITION ENFORCEMENT ACT OF 2007

                                _______
                                

 March 1, 2007.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Conyers, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 137]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 137) to amend title 18, United States Code, to 
strengthen prohibitions against animal fighting, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
with an amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do 
pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
The Amendment....................................................     2
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     2
Committee Consideration..........................................     2
Vote of the Committee............................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     3
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     3
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     4
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     4
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................     4
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     4
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     5
Dissenting Views.................................................     8

                             The Amendment

    The amendment (stated in terms of the page and line numbers 
of the introduced bill) is as follows:
    Page 4, beginning in line 13, strike ``or animals, such as 
water-fowl, bird, raccoon, or fox hunting''.

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 137, the ``Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act 
of 2007,'' strengthens the Federal prohibitions against animal 
fighting ventures. Under current law, animal fighting 
violations are misdemeanors under title 7 of the U.S. Code. 
H.R. 137 makes the buying, selling, or transporting of animals 
in interstate commerce for participation in animal fighting 
ventures felonies to be charged under title 18, with maximum 
prison sentences of 3 years, increased from 1 year under 
current law.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    Prohibitions against knowingly selling, buying, 
transporting, delivering, or receiving an animal in interstate 
or foreign commerce for the purposes of participation in an 
animal fighting venture were added to the Animal Welfare Act in 
1976, with misdemeanor penalties of up to $5,000 in fines and 
up to 1 year in prison. Since then, Federal authorities have 
pursued fewer than a half dozen animal fighting cases, despite 
receiving numerous tips from informants and requests to assist 
with state and local prosecutions. The animal fighting industry 
continues to thrive within the United States, despite 50 State 
laws that ban dogfighting and 48 State laws that ban 
cockfighting. Numerous nationally circulated animal fighting 
magazines still promote these cruel practices, and advertise 
fighting animals and the accouterments of animal fighting. 
There are also several active websites for animal fighting 
enthusiasts, and paid lobbyists advocating animal fighters' 
interests.
    In 2002, Congress amended these prohibitions to extend them 
more fully to live birds. Previously, none of the prohibitions 
had applied to live birds if the destination was a State in 
which their use in fighting was not a violation of that State's 
law.
    While the 2002 amendments also increased penalties 
slightly, from a potential fine of $5,000 to one of $15,000, 
they were left at the misdemeanor level. By increasing 
penalties to the felony level, H.R. 137 will give prosecutors 
greater incentive to pursue cases against unlawful animal 
fighting ventures, and strengthen deterrence against them.

                                Hearings

    The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security 
held a hearing on H.R. 137 on February 6, 2007. Testimony was 
received from two witnesses: Wayne Pacelle, President & CEO, 
The Humane Society of the United States, and Jerry Leber, 
President, United Gamefowl Breeders Association.

                        Committee Consideration

    On February 6, 2007, the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, 
and Homeland Security met in open session and ordered H.R. 137 
favorably reported, without amendment, by voice vote, a quorum 
being present. On February 7, 2007, the Committee met in open 
session and ordered the bill favorably reported by voice vote, 
with an amendment by Mr. King to make more general the 
exception for using animals in hunting, by voice vote, a quorum 
being present.

                         Vote of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that there 
were no recorded votes during consideration of H.R. 137.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee reports that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable because this legislation does 
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax 
expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, H.R. 137, the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                 Washington, DC, February 16, 2007.
Hon. John Conyers, Jr.,
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 137, the Animal 
Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Mark 
Grabowicz (for Federal costs), and Page Piper/Bach (for the 
private-sector impact).
            Sincerely,
                                           Peter R. Orszag,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 137--Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007

    H.R. 137 would make buying, selling, or transporting 
animals for participation in animal fighting ventures (defined 
as any event which involves a fight between at least two 
animals and is conducted for purposes of sport, wagering, or 
entertainment) a Federal crime. The bill also would prohibit 
any person from using certain forms of communication in 
interstate commerce to promote an animal fighting venture. 
Because those prosecuted and convicted under this legislation 
could be subject to criminal fines, the government might 
collect additional fines if the bill is enacted. Collections of 
such fines are recorded in the budget as revenues, which are 
deposited in the Crime Victims Fund and later spent. However, 
because of the small number of cases likely to be involved, CBO 
expects that any impact on revenues and direct spending would 
be insignificant.
    In addition, CBO expects that any increase in Federal costs 
for law enforcement, court proceedings, or prison operations 
also would be insignificant and subject to the availability of 
appropriated funds.
    H.R. 137 contain no intergovernmental mandates as defined 
in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no 
costs on state, local, or tribal governments. H.R. 137 would 
impose private-sector mandates, as defined in UMRA, but CBO 
expects the cost of complying with those mandates would be 
small and well below the annual threshold for private-sector 
mandates ($131 million in 2007, adjusted annually for 
inflation).
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Mark Grabowicz 
(for Federal costs), and Paige Piper/Bach (for the private-
sector impact). This estimate was approved by Peter H. 
Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
purpose of the bill, H.R. 137, is to curtail the interstate 
transport of animals and related instruments for purposes of 
engaging in an animal fighting contest.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds the authority for 
this legislation in article I, section 8 of the Constitution.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 137 does not contain any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(d), 9(e), or 9(f) of rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    The following discussion describes the bill as reported by 
the Committee.

Sec. 1. Short title

    This section sets forth the short title of the bill as the 
``Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007.''

Sec. 2. Enforcement of animal fighting prohibitions

    This section makes it a felony under chapter 3 of title 18, 
United States Code, for any individual to knowingly exhibit, 
buy, sell, deliver, or transport a bird, dog, or other animal 
in interstate commerce or foreign commerce for participation in 
animal fighting ventures.
    Additionally, this section makes it a felony for an 
individual to use the Postal Service or other interstate 
instrumentality for promoting an animal fighting venture or for 
selling, buying, or delivering in interstate or foreign 
commerce a knife, gaff, or other sharp instrument attached or 
intended to be attached to the leg of a bird for use in an 
animal fighting venture.
    This section expressly provides that this legislation will 
not supersede or otherwise invalidate any State, local, or 
municipal legislation or ordinance relating to animal fighting 
ventures. As a special rule with respect to fighting ventures 
involving live birds in a State where they would not otherwise 
be in violation of the law, this legislation provides that the 
prohibition against the knowing sponsorship or exhibition of a 
bird in a fighting venture applies only if the person knew that 
any bird in the fighting venture was knowingly bought, sold, 
delivered, transported, or received in inter-state or foreign 
commerce for the purpose of participation in the fighting 
venture.
    The section provides that any person who violates it shall 
be fined under title 18 or imprisoned for not more than three 
(3) years, or both, for each violation.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

TITLE 18, UNITED STATES CODE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



PART I--CRIMES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


              CHAPTER 3--ANIMALS, BIRDS, FISH, AND PLANTS

Sec.
41. Hunting, fishing, trapping; disturbance or injury on wildlife 
          refuges.
     * * * * * * *
49.  Animal fighting prohibition.
     * * * * * * *

Sec. 49. Animal fighting prohibition

    (a) Sponsoring or Exhibiting an Animal in an Animal 
Fighting Venture.--
          (1) In General.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), 
        it shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly 
        sponsor or exhibit an animal in an animal fighting 
        venture, if any animal in the venture was moved in 
        interstate or foreign commerce.
          (2) Special Rule for certain States.--With respect to 
        fighting ventures involving live birds in a State where 
        it would not be in violation of the law, it shall be 
        unlawful under this subsection for a person to sponsor 
        or exhibit a bird in the fighting venture only if the 
        person knew that any bird in the fighting venture was 
        knowingly bought, sold, delivered, transported, or 
        received in interstate or foreign commerce for the 
        purpose of participation in the fighting venture.
    (b) Buying, Selling, Delivering, or Transporting Animals 
for Participation in Animal Fighting Venture.--It shall be 
unlawful for any person to knowingly sell, buy, transport, or 
deliver, or receive for purposes of transportation, in 
interstate or foreign commerce, any dog or other animal for 
purposes of having the dog or other animal participate in an 
animal fighting venture.
    (c) Use of Postal Service or Other Interstate 
Instrumentality for Promoting Animal Fighting Venture.--It 
shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly use the mail 
service of the United States Postal Service or any 
instrumentality of interstate commerce for commercial speech 
promoting an animal fighting venture except as performed 
outside the limits of the States of the United States.
    (d) Violation of State Law.--Notwithstanding subsection 
(c), the activities prohibited by such subsection shall be 
unlawful with respect to fighting ventures involving live birds 
only if the fight is to take place in a State where it would be 
in violation of the laws thereof.
    (e) Sharp Instruments.--It shall be unlawful for any person 
to knowingly sell, buy, transport, or deliver in interstate or 
foreign commerce a knife, a gaff, or any other sharp instrument 
attached, or designed or intended to be attached, to the leg of 
a bird for use in an animal fighting venture.
    (f) Penalties.--Any person who violates subsection (a), 
(b), (c), or (e) shall be fined under this title or imprisoned 
for not more than 3 years, or both, for each such violation.
    (g) Definitions.--For purposes of this section--
          (1) the term ``animal fighting venture'' means any 
        event which involves a fight between at least two 
        animals and is conducted for purposes of sport, 
        wagering, or entertainment except that the term 
        ``animal fighting venture'' shall not be deemed to 
        include any activity the primary purpose of which 
        involves the use of one or more animals in hunting 
        another animal;
          (2) the term ``instrumentality of interstate 
        commerce'' means any written, wire, radio, television 
        or other form of communication in, or using a facility 
        of, interstate commerce;
          (3) the term ``State'' means any State of the United 
        States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of 
        Puerto Rico, and any territory or possession of the 
        United States; and
          (4) the term ``animal'' means any live bird, or any 
        live dog or other mammal, except man.
    (h) Conflict With State Law--The provisions of this section 
do not supersede or otherwise invalidate any such State, local, 
or municipal legislation or ordinance relating to animal 
fighting ventures except in case of a direct and irreconcilable 
conflict between any requirements thereunder and this section 
or any rule, regulation, or standard hereunder.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                              ----------                              


                  SECTION 26 OF THE ANIMAL WELFARE ACT


                            ANIMAL FIGHTING

    Sec. 26. (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    [(e) Penalties.--Any person who violates subsection (a), 
(b), or (c) shall be fined not more than $15,000 or imprisoned 
for not more than 1 year, or both, for each such violation.]

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    On February 7, 2007, the House Committee of the Judiciary 
passed by voice vote H.R. 137, the ``Animal Fighting 
Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007.'' I believe the Committee 
erred in their judgment and subsequent approval of H.R. 137.
    H.R. 137 seeks to make it a three-year federal felony to 
transport a chicken across state lines for the purpose of 
exhibiting it in a fight. Currently, 48 states already have 
laws on the books to address this issue.
    H.R. 137 is being driven by animal rights activists. Issues 
involving animals belong before the Committee on Agriculture, 
not the Committee on the Judiciary. Yet, animal rights 
activists have crafted this legislation to take jurisdiction of 
animal welfare concerns from the Agriculture Committee, which 
has jurisdiction over Title 7, and put it in Title 18, which is 
under jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee. This maneuver 
gives animal rights activists the ability to ruin animal 
agriculture in the United States through poorly drafted laws 
that purport to be for animal welfare. In reality, these laws 
seek to over regulate animal agriculture in the United States, 
bit by bit. This will ultimately hurt animal agriculture in the 
United States and put family farms out of business. The 
Agriculture Committee, not the Judiciary Committee has the 
resident expertise in animal welfare. The Agriculture Committee 
is competent to ensure that our federal laws prohibit all 
animal cruelty.
    More importantly, I believe that it diminishes human life 
if we make it a felony to transport animals for fighting, but 
it is not a felony to take a girl across a state line for an 
abortion. It is a strong conviction of mine to fight for the 
sanctity of life, and while I believe that it is important that 
we are humane in how we treat animals, I do not believe that we 
should put their welfare ahead of unborn humans.
    I oppose making animal fighting a three year felony because 
it degrades the value of human life. Until we provide a higher 
standard of protection for human life, I will oppose making 
interstate transportation of animals for purposes of animal 
fighting a felony. In the U.S., we are faced with the alarming 
practice of people taking a minor girl across state lines for 
an abortion to avoid their own state's laws that require the 
minor's parents to be notified. Federal legislation, CIANA--the 
Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, would make this 
abhorrent activity, which exploits a young woman and kills her 
child, a misdemeanor. This legislation has still not become law 
yet, but it is a step forward in the right direction toward 
protecting innocent human life.
    I believe that we should not value animal life over human 
life. It makes no sense that killing a person is a misdemeanor 
if transporting animals to a fight is a felony.
    My home state Iowa is an agricultural state. We understand 
the importance of animal husbandry and being good stewards of 
our animals. However, we also understand that animals are less 
important than humans. Animal rights activists seek to place 
heifers and hogs on the same level as people. I disagree.
    I strongly opposed this legislation because animals should 
not be put before humans and animal welfare concerns belong 
before the Agriculture Committee.
    For these reasons I disagree with the action of the 
Committee today which is why I voted No in the voice vote to 
report H.R. 137 from Committee.

                                                        Steve King.