LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Hundreds of protesters from the United Gamefowl Breeders Association (UGBA) eclipsed a cordial visit from U.S. Senators Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell and Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer at Wildcat Harley Davidson Monday afternoon.
“To borrow a phrase from Japan in World War II, they’ve awoken a sleeping giant,” said Craig Davis, director of the Kentucky Chapter of UGBA and head of the protest. “We’re fed up and worn out. We’ve been backed into a corner here in Kentucky.”
Davis, with approximately 200 protesters hailing from Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, North and South Carolina, Mississippi and Missouri began arriving at Wildcat Harley Davidson as early as 1:00 p.m.
Not a single parking spot was to be found at the Wildcat Flea Market, where the protesters were instructed to relocate after disturbing employees at the motorcycle dealership.
“To be honest, some of our staff was made uncomfortable with their presence in our parking lot,” said Wildcat Harley employee Shannon Melton. “We had to ask for them to be removed.”
The protesters arrived in the wake of the Agricultural Act of 2014. While, nationally, most farmers have positively received the bill, Davis and other protesters saw it as an attack on the breeding, raising, and fighting of game fowl or roosters, an activity commonly known as “cockfighting.”
While the activity has been an obscure tradition for centuries in neighborhoods throughout the world, it is now illegal in all states and a felony in 40. In Kentucky, the latest legislation would see that number increase to 41.
Hailing originally from Grayson County, Ky., Craig Davis claims he has represented the interests of the UGBA in Washington D.C. for years, spending $20,000 of his own money in the process. Other protesters raised concerns over increased regulation regarding other types of livestock.