The one-time face of dog fighting, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, is coming off the bench to help in a campaign to win support in the farm bill to bar spectators from attending animal fights and also make it a crime to bring a juvenile to a fight.
The provision Vick, recently sidelined as the team's starting QB with an injury, is lobbying for would essentially end dog and cock fighting by turning off the spigot of cash from spectator entrance fees and bets.
Vick, who spent nearly two years in jail after being convicted in 2007 of operating a dog fighting ring, is helping the Humane Society of the United States get the anti-spectator language in the farm bill. Sources said that House and Senate members are near agreement on the language.
Vick told Secrets that as a child he witnessed animal fighting, and it likely impacted his path toward cheering dog fights.
“We need to break this cycle and change the culture of violence,” he said in an email to Secrets.
“It starts with protecting children. I was 8-years-old when I first witnessed a fight, which had a huge impact on me. It's wrong and it's a dead-end street. Children should be taught to make positive choices and treat animals with kindness and respect. I support the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act.”
Since being released from prison, Vick has become a spokesperson in urban communities for the anti-animal fighting efforts led by the Humane Society.
Explaining the provision in the farm bill, Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle told Secrets, “Animal fighting is disgrace, and the only way to eradicate it is to hold accountable the entire cast of characters involved in these sickening enterprises. That’s why we need to pass this federal bill to make it a crime to attend or to bring a child to a dogfight or cockfight.”Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.