Christian leaders are joining with animal rights advocates to try and toughen legislature against the blood-sport of cockfighting.
They say that the practice of watching roosters forced to fight to the death, with spectators betting on the outcome, totally defies Christian values.
"Christians should stand up and speak out against this barbaric practice which horrendously abuses God's creatures," said president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Dr. Richard Land.
Land encourages Christians to join him on the fight to ban cockfighting, calling it "a pornography of violence."
His efforts combined with the socially conservative Palmetto Family Council's campaign against cockfighting, are currently focused on South Carolina, where maximum punishments currently are not tough enough to deter spectators.
In South Carolina, and 11 other states, cockfighting is only punishable as a misdemeanor, with the maximum fine paling in comparison to some of the earnings being made in illegal betting.
"We don't have the right to cause (animals) needless pain for frivolous reasons," Land said. "The reason that being cruel to animals is inconsistent with Christian teachings is because the Bible tells us that God made a covenant between himself and every living thing. We are to respect every living thing."
He added, "As a matter of state pride, we must strengthen our laws now," said Oran Smith, Palmetto Family Council executive director. "Wonton cruelty toward animals is frankly unbiblical and unchristian."
PFC recently created a video praising the Human Society's strong standpoint against cockfighting. In the video, Land says we need to "respect every living thing…Cockfighting is a pornography of violence. People who watch it are going to be brutalized by it."
The Humane Society president, Wayne Pacelle, is also calling on religious leaders to make a stand against cockfighting. "Their voices can help guide the nation toward better decision-making and behavior when it comes to our treatment of animals," he said.
Despite recent efforts in the U.S. against cockfighting, the blood-sport still remains popular in countries such as Mexico, Puerto Rico and in a number of European countries.