Society takes Amazon to court
From the New York Times see
The Humane Society has filed
suit against Amazon over sales of The Gamecock magazine.
The online bookstore sells subscriptions to two cockfighting magazines,
The Feathered Warrior and The Gamecock, even though cockfighting has
been declared illegal in all states (until Louisiana’s ban takes effect
next summer, the activity remains legal in parts of the state).
After trying in vain to persuade Amazon to stop selling the
publications, the Humane Society filed a civil lawsuit in District of
Columbia Superior Court asserting that the Web company violates animal
cruelty laws and that the magazines, which run advertisements for blades
that attach to birds’ legs, are effectively catalogs for illegal goods.
But Amazon says the suit amounts to censorship. These materials are
legal to sell, and we do not believe we should act as a censor because
their message is objectionable to some people, said Patty Smith, a
spokeswoman for Amazon, adding that her company sells subscriptions to
more than 90,000 magazines. With our incredible selection of titles,
we’re bound to sell something that someone will find objectionable.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society, said his organization
would never hinder free speech. We think that Amazon should have the
right to sell magazines with pro-cockfighting editorial, ...BUT...
they cross the line when they advertise the sale of contraband.
Mark Pollot, a lawyer based
in Boise, Idaho who represents Verna A. Dowd, publisher of The Feathered
Warrior, said that while federal law prohibited promoting cockfighting
or shipping birds or gear across state lines, the advertisements
themselves were aboveboard. The Humane Society itself laments that
because of loopholes, possessing cockfighting paraphernalia is legal in
39 states, while possessing fighting birds is legal in 17.
The bottom line is as long as its legal someplace, you’re not
advertising an illegal activity, Pollot said.