While cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states, a recent amendment to federal legislation created added penalties for those caught transporting items associated with the so-called sport, including the sharp blades sometimes attached to a bird’s feet, across state lines. The development drew the wrath of a group the Humane Society of the United States labels “cockfighting enthusiasts,” which responded by challenging the amendment creating those penalties as unconstitutional limitations on their ability to sell birds and freely travel, court records show.

Those plaintiffs, who filed suits against the federal government in federal district court in Ohio in 2008, include people who sell fowl and feed and claim their businesses have suffered because legitimate customers fear being prosecuted under the new law. The plaintiffs also claimed that the law limited their ability to travel to territories, including Puerto Rico, where cockfighting remains legal.

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