Cockfight ban to affect NMI economy, Apatang says

THE cockfight ban, which is a component of the newly signed Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, will be ”detrimental” to the economy, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang said on Thursday.

The federal ban, which takes effect in Dec. 2019, will apply nationwide including the U.S. territories such the NMI and Guam.

“There will be a major impact on our economy here and Guam’s,” he added.

The mayor’s office, which issues cockfight licenses, will lose the $120,000  fee paid by the  sole cockfight operator, Apatang said, adding that local vendors who sell rooster feed will also be affected by the law.

A five-year license was awarded to Jay Sanchez in July 2017. The federal ban will take effect in Dec. 2019.

Apatang said they still have a year to “work it out and find out how to approach the issue.”

“These [federal] people don’t understand that cockfights are part of our culture here,” the mayor added.

Territorial officials opposed the cockfight ban. In 2017, Apatang’s resolution calling for the exemption of the CNMI and Guam from H.R. 4202 or the Parity in Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act was unanimously adopted by the Association of Mariana Islands Mayors, Vice Mayors and Elected Municipal Council Members.

Apatang said discussions on the cockfight ban will be om the agenda when AMIM meets next month.

He said the ban is unlikely to stop cockfights in the CNMI or Guam.

“Some will find a way to break that law. We don’t want to see that happening, but who’s going to enforce it here?”

Source: Marianas Variety :

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