The Hawaii senator is the only member of Hawaii’s congressional delegation to support the legislation, which has support in the House and Senate.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono has added her name to a growing list of politicians who support legislation that seeks to crack down on illegal dogfighting and cockfighting. 

Earlier this week, Hirono signed on to a bipartisan bill, known as the FIGHT Act, that would ban the simulcasting of animal fights for gambling and allow citizens to file lawsuits against animal fighters. 

The legislation would also strengthen asset forfeiture provisions by allowing the federal government to seize property where animal fights occur. 

A House version of the bill was introduced in April just days after a deadly shooting at a cockfight in Waianae that claimed the lives of two people. The next month an identical bill was introduced in the Senate. 

While dozens of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle had signed on to the legislation, not a single member of Hawaii’s four-person congressional delegation was named as a co-sponsor. 

In a statement, a Hirono spokesperson said the senator signed on to the FIGHT Act to “help prevent animal cruelty and protect communities in Hawaii and across the country from violence that can stem from cockfighting rings.”

Hawaii has a complicated history with cockfighting. It’s one of the few states in the U.S. that considers it a misdemeanor rather than a felony. And while there are many who consider it to be an act of animal cruelty, there are others who contend that cockfights in the islands are social events that hold cultural significance.

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