HONOLULU (KHNL) - When it comes to cracking down on animal fighting, Hawaii is among the worst in the nation. That's according to a report The Humane Society of the United States just released.
State lawmakers are now taking action.
Cockfighting is a cultural past time that, for years, has taken a controversial foothold in Hawaii.
"There are those in our community who say this is their cultural right but really, how can this be an honorable sport when you have people who are making thousands of dollars out of the suffering of animals," said Kawehi Yim of the Hawaiian Humane Society.
Animal protection leaders say Hawaii's penalties for animal fighting is just a slap on the wrist.
Cockfighting on Oahu is a misdemeanor. The Honolulu Police Department says violators face up to a year in jail, or up to a $1,000 fine.
To beef up the law, the Hawaiian Humane Society has launched a legislative campaign to make it illegal to possess gaffs, like the ones a Louisiana man was caught smuggling in at the Honolulu International Airport in February of 2007.
Gaffs are blades tied to a fighting birds feet.
A national report shows the Aloha State has some of the weakest animal fighting laws in the nation.
According to The Humane Society of the United States, Hawaii ranks number 46 for cockfighting laws, and dead last for dogfighting laws.
"Dogfighting to me boils down to, for me, blatant cruelty to animals and the way they prepare these animals to fight. They let these dogs attack cats, smaller dogs, even rabbits," said Representative John Mizuno.
The national findings have triggered a fresh political push to crack down on dogfighting statewide, with Mizuno and Senator Suzanne Chun leading the way.
The Humane Society of the U.S. says Hawaii is one of only two states that doesn't have penalties for those who attend a dogfight.
The agency says there's also no penalty to possess fighting birds.