(GFR Media)

Washington – Without a last-minute moratorium in Congress, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Juan and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General (OIG) will be tasked with enforcing the law that extended ban on cockfighting to Puerto Rico and other territories by midnight next Friday.

"When the ban goes into effect, we will take appropriate measures in accordance with the public policies of the Department of Justice," the prosecution said yesterday in a statement.

In Washington, the OIG of the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed that it has jurisdiction over the implementation of the ban, which last December was included in the federal agricultural law, with a one-year grace period.

Until yesterday, however, the Puerto Rico Veterinary Services Endorsement Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture had not been tasked with collaborating on potential interventions against those who participate in events organized to promote cockfighting.

"We don’t have any kind of mission regarding this issue," said Dr. Fred Soltero, in charge of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Veterinary Services.

If the U.S. Attorney´s Office decides to create a task force to intervene with cockfighting events, Soltero anticipates that they will seek the collaboration of veterinarians from his office.

According to Soltero, the U.S. Justice Department can, in addition to imposing penalties on those who participate in organized cockfighting, seize the animals, including the option of euthanasia.

The Asociación Cultural y Recreativa del Gallo Fino de Pelea has questioned whether the federal government can ban cockfighting in Puerto Rico because it considers it cruel, but at the same time, it can kill animals seized in operations.

In Congress, the Association has been promoting a one or two-year moratorium on the implementation of the ban, and an order to conduct a study on the economic impact of this federal statute on the island.

Jeohvanni Nieves, president of the Asociación Cultural y Recreativa del Gallo Fino de Pelea, insisted that the ban will leave thousands of families without income and can have a negative economic impact of up to $ 65 million.

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