Humane Society Again Threatens Amazon Over Somebody Else's Cockfighting Magazines

from the sue-the-right-person dept

Last year, the Humane Society alleged was breaking the law by offering some magazines about cockfighting for sale. The magazines were being sold by a third party, which just used Amazon’s e-commerce platform, but the Humane Society said Amazon was liable for selling content which broke the Animal Welfare Act. Amazon hasn’t removed the magazines, because it says they’re not illegal, and now the Humane Society again says it’s going to sue. While the magazines in question don’t appear to be much more than objectionable or offensive to the Humane Society, their illegality is far from certain. That’s not really the issue, though: just as before, Amazon certainly appears to be the wrong party to sue, since it isn’t a publisher or content provider, it just operates a storefront which the publisher uses. If the content is truly illegal, the publisher would seem to be a much more correct target for a lawsuit — and such a move would help deflect criticism that the Humane Society’s merely trying to scare Amazon into refusing to sell such materials and act as a de facto censor to try and block legal material it simply doesn’t like.

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Comments on “Humane Society Again Threatens Amazon Over Somebody Else's Cockfighting Magazines”

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yardape6 says:

Good for Amazon

I am not a huge fan of everything Amazon does, but I agree with it’s stance here. Amazon recognizes that it should stay out of the censorship game and just provide customers a wide variety of literature, among other things. What exactly can they be sued for anyway. It is illegal to smoke marijuana, but book stores can carry copies of “High Times”. Some people have far too much time on their hands.

J.R. says:

Re: Good for Amazon

It is illegal to smoke marijuana, but book stores can carry copies of “High Times”

Terrible comparison.

HS is claiming that the material being sold is illegal. If this is true then they are completely right in going after Amazon (next up… the supplier). A better comparison for this argument would be if Amazon was actually selling marijuana – then it wouldn’t even be a debate because it is known to be illegal. If the material in question is indeed illegal than Amazon has a legal responsibility to remove the material and refuse to sell it. That is without a doubt a fact. No retailer should be selling or distributing illegal content and I don’t see how that can be debated.

If the material, as Amazon suggests, is not illegal then HS is in the wrong. Either way, they are looking to have the material removed because they don’t feel it should be distributed. Going after the supplier isn’t going to help as much as going after the distributer so their tactic makes perfect sense when you look at their objective. They don’t want it available and going after the distributer is the fastest way to make that happen.

Anonymous Coward says:

As an advocate of the Humane Society of the United States,,, anything a website or public entity does that allows the promotion of abuse to any animal should be banned.
Even though the magazines in question aren’t considered ” illegal”, there is a major movement to stop cockfighting. The fact that would allow a promotion of such animal abuse , shows that money means everything at the expense of life.
Animal abuse in ANY form should not be tolerated.
Kitty Carpenter

Mousky says:

Re: Re:

This is just another lawsuit to stifle free speech under the guise of protecting something, in this case, animals. You yourself said that the magazine is legal and it is clear that Amazon is not doing anything illegal. So why is the Humane Society wasting valuable resources suing Amazon? How is this helping animal welfare in any shape or form?

Another annon, says:

Re: Re:


While I agree that animal abuse is bad it’s not as clear as you would like. and You need to realize that wishing & good intentions are not laws.

If these magazines (regardless of how disgusting they may be) are not actually illegal then you need to refocus your attention. Not on the people selling them but the people CREATING them, if there are indeed pictures of cockfights in them & cockfighting is illegal in the state where the pictures were taken then you have evidence of a crime & can actually DO SOMETHING about the problem.

Also the blanket statement “Animal abuse in ANY form should not be tolerated. ” is an open invitation for abuse, there are people & organizations that are convinced that my feline housemates are abused animals simply because I have them as pets.


There are people in the world that consider cockfighting to be instinctual behavior in those animals and if they were “wild” they would do it anyway without humans help or betting on them.
I don’t know the truth of that and I doubt that you do either, I suspect that it’s somewhere less than what happens in the fights but the animals ARE the ones fighting so there must be some truth in it.

So again, Who gets to draw the line? You? Me? the crazy cockfighters? the crazy anti-animal anything people? Who?

Johnny Jumper says:

Re: The magazines are indeed illegal

The magazines are part of the suit too. This isn’t a free speech issue. It’s illegal to use the U.S. mail to violate the Animal Welfare Act and that’s what the magazines are all about. It’s not about them discussing an unpopular topic. They’re promoting and profiting from it. What if I put an ad in a paper offering money for someone to kill my wife? If the paper printed it, they’d be liable and so soon will Amazon.

Greg says:

Re: Re:

The roosters aren’t even forced to fight, it’s their natural instinct. If a chicken doesn’t want to fight, you’ll know. He’ll run off squawkin and you lose. In New Mexico, where it’s still legal to cockfight, the state immediently turned down bills to lower the legal alcohol content and raise fines, but they are most likely about to pass a law making it illegal to cockfight. That, my anonymous coward, is BULLSHIT.

Mike F.M says:

Amazon are innocent

It really isn’t down to Amazon to take any action here. They shouldn’t have to sensor materials. If the material is illegal, then it should be stopped at the source and the owners properly disciplined.
I am completely against harm to animals, but I still think that Amazon are completely right in what they’re doing in keeping this magazine up. More companies should fight these things, especially when their focus is so wrong.

Some people... says:

Those that do not know anything about a subject shouldnt be so quick to call it inhumane. People who make a living training cocks to fight regard their animals incredibly highly. They are prize fighters and are trained for what they do. No one can say that they would be “happier” doing something else, because there is no way to know. It is unfortunate, even to the trainer when a fight cannot be stopped in time to save the animal. Some exhibition type fights even require the use of “gloves.”

I personally do not condone cock fighting, but I disagree with current belief that just because one group thinks something is wrong (and is perhaps ignorant to it) that it should be banned or called illegal.

People in the world need to start worrying about themselves and their own families. Feed your kids, stop suing amazon and everyone else that does something you don’t “agree with”

Joe (user link) says:

I've got an idea...

BEGIN SARCASM HERE>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Hey.. that gives me an idea for a magazine…

I’ve always wanted to start a “toddlerfighting” magazine.. I know there’s these secret “toddlerfights” where parents bring their 2-4 year olds and put them in a ring full of squishy balls and watch them beat each other up. Yeah, it can get dangerous and bloody (dangerous that social services is always breathing down their necks), but isn’t it worth the pleasure?

I didn’t think there would be a forum to sell my magazine, but heck, Amazon… you’re my kind of place!
END SARCASM>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

What gives a corporation the ability to get away with “hey, we’re just providing the place for the market”. Can the owners of a flea market turn a blind eye to one of their vendors selling illegal substances? NO~! Can a porno shop sell pornography of illegal acts, justifying it by saying “I’m not the creator of the content, just the distributor”… NO!

Just because an online entity is “virtual”, doesn’t mean their following the law is “virtual” either!

While I’m for an open and free market, and I enjoy eating creatures (I’m a member of “P.eople E.ating T.asty A.nimals”), Amazon is just wrong in stating they have no legal obligation here….


PhysicsGuy says:

Shrodinger's Cat...

Take a cat, a box, a hammer, poison in a bottle, and a hammer release mechanism based on sort lived radio active decay. place the release mechanism and hammer in the box and position the poison so the hammer will descend upon it. take the cat, place it into the box and quickly tape the box shut.

since, the atoms undergoing radio active decay will be in a superimposed state and won’t be defined until you open the box, you can rest assured that when the humane society comes and opens the box it will be entirely their fault the animal did or didn’t die, thus relieving you of any fault whatsoever and entirely within the rights to sue the humane society for the inhumane act of killing your cat 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Shrodinger's Cat...

interesting thought… but, couldn’t the hammer release mechanism act as an observer and act upon the observation that alpha or beta or gamma or whatever particles are being given off? though, honestly, the humane society would probably try to ban the possible harm of theoretical cats so they’d probably sue you before they opened the box. or at least they probably would if it was a chicken in the box instead. what did Schrödinger have against cats anyway?

Paul says:

Anyone who thinks cockfighting is ok is a moron. its not a matter of whether the chicken would be happier. its a matter that chickens still get brutally beaten. that’s the problem here. i don’t care what kind of regard their trainer has them in. its brutal. you’re forcing animals to fight whether they want to or not. moron.

dorpus strikes again. child porn is definitively illegal. therefore you can’t sell it. you’re analogy doesn’t work.

if the magazines *are* illegal then they shouldn’t be sold. its illegal to SELL illegal goods. now, if its just a magazine with content that you believe shouldn’t be tolerated, but isn’t actually illegal, then you’re fighting the wrong fight. you should be fighting to get laws made that *would* make it illegal.

and if they’re suing for money, they’re idiots. if they’re suing to get them to stop selling the magazines, then it has nothing to do with who has the bigger pockets. it may be as simple as the creators of the magazine aren’t in the US.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: Illegal Sales

> if the magazines *are* illegal then
> they shouldn’t be sold.

The magazines aren’t illegal. Even the Human Society isn’t claiming that the magazines themselves are illegal. Any such law would be void as an unconsitutional violation of the 1st Amendment anway.

The Humane Society is citing some obscure portion of an Animal Cruelty law that prohibits using the U.S. Mail to promote actions that are cruel to animals. Even this law is on shaky constitutional ground and would probably fail if it were ever challenged but none of that even matters because Amazon gives customers the choice of a variety of shipping methods, only one of which is the U.S. Mail. So as long as the sellers are shipping their cockfighting magazines via UPS or FedEx or DHL, then there is NO VIOLATION OF THE LAW WHATSOEVER.

i need a hug says:

I think the point is that HUMANS DONT KNOW if animals are happier being fed constantly and trained and fought. Just because some people think they might not like it doesnt mean they dont. I dont see how a grown man can like getting his melon crushed by the heavyweight champ, but apparently they do (or are their trainers forcing them to compete against their will?).

I agree that being cruel to your pet is wrong. But i dont call my steak a pet. I can have a pet steer (and if I did eating him would be wrong to me) but that doesnt stop me from enjoying my pan-milk fed veal.

If chickens were smarter (and maybe they are and we are just too dumb to communicate with them) they would probably be the ones in the corner of the boxing ring shouting “go get em ROCK”

Kitty Carpenter (not) says:

What the Humane Society really needs to be doing is suing the government. Somewhere the government maintains a list of magazines and issues and, by doing so and making that list known, they are disseminating and promoting cockfighting.

Then the Humane Society needs to sue you all, every last one of you who’s ever purchased a book at Amazon or payed taxes to the government, because by supporting those two entities you’ve been supporting illegal cockfighting.

Evil you are, every last one of you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The Humane society is joke please you are the people that destroyed budweiser commericals ohh look a frog is on acommercial we should sue them, please its all CGI people. Not too mention sueing people has become everybodies answer, hell its so easy a caveman could do it!!!!!!. People need to grow up and recognize what these rediculous organizations actually do. That is BULLy others. They are no better than the RIAA

Anonymous Coward says:

Hmm, animal abuse in any form should not be tolerated? How about human abuse? Plenty of rape victims floating around out there you know, along with physically and mentally-abused women in all walks of life. And don’t forget racism and gang wars. You want to talk abuse? I think you should worry about your own species which actually has intelligence (although I’m beginning to doubt that statement these days).

No, I do not support abuse of animals in any way. All I’m saying that a lawsuit like this is such extreme nitpicking. You should focus your efforts and resources on something more productive. has not broken any EXISTING laws, and they are certainly not to blame for any content sold by third parties through them. In fact, I think there are existing laws that prevent such lawsuits against companies like that where you cannot sue them because they do not provide the content themselves. If you wanna sue somebody, for cryin’ out loud sue whoever makes the magazine in the first place. They’re the ones doing the abusing, not Amazon.

Common sense is all but lost of the idiots of today’s world.

PETA (People for Eating Tasty Animals) says:


what rights to animals have? I mean, we didn’t have “rights” for the longest time. What did we do? We revolted! So I say, if the animals have a problem, let them revolt. Once Besty the cow, Charlie the chicken and Frank the flounder come knocking at my door with M16s and some RPGs and such, then I may have to change my stance. Until that time it’s not my problem.

Also, I know of a few sports where the object is to hurt your opponent. Bleeding, broken bones/teeth, bruises and even death occour from theese sports. Why then aren’t boxing, UFC, martial arts and wrestling banned? Aren’t we as humans “animals” too? Why doesn’t the HS go after this as well?

Ok, TechIssue part

How far does the illegality of an action carry? If you sold the box to hold the cookware to be used by someone who eats before commiting a crime, are you responsible? I mean you provided the offender with the means to commit the offense, right?

So, is cockfighting illegal? In the US and many other nations I believe it is. Is it illegal to write about said cometition? I believe it isn’t. Is it illegal to offer, via 3rd party, said written commentary on said illegal act?

Anonymous Coward says:

focus on the actual subject

just a note… the actual issue here isn’t about a group trying to destroy our freedom of speech. that’s an indirect effect, but that’s not their goal. thats like saying the argument that its illegal to scream fire in a crowded theatre is destroying our freedom of speech. yes, its in essence taking away a right, but its also making something potentially dangerous an illegal act.

so, if you want to focus on the actual issue… do so. the subject is the HS trying to say its illegal to sell magazines that promote cruelty to animals.

and again… whoever is using the argument that “we fight, so why isn’t that illegal”… keep in mind if you force a human to fight, it is illegal. its the choice that makes it legal. therefore, thats where the cruelty comes in.

and to be clear, animals actually do have certain rights. not the same rights as humans, but they do have rights, at least in the US.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: focus on the actual subject

> so, if you want to focus on
> the actual issue… do so. the
> subject is the HS trying to say
> its illegal to sell magazines that
> promote cruelty to animals.

No, that’s not what the Society is claiming. The Society is claiming that it’s illegal to use the U.S. Mails to ship material that promotes cruelty to animals. The law they cite has nothing to do with selling the material. Even the Humane Society recognizes that if these people were selling their cockfighting magazines on a street corner to passers-by, there would be no violation of the law whatsoever.

And as I said before, since Amazon allows its customers to choose between a variety of shipping methods, the sellers of these magazines aren’t violating anything if they choose FedEx, UPS or any other private delivery service. Just so long as they don’t use the U.S. Postal Service to ship them they’re fine.**

**And even if they do use the Postal Service, they’d have a pretty good case for challenging the actual statute itself on constitutional grounds.

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