Amazon.com says it will keep selling two magazines about cockfighting, despite a lawsuit by the Humane Society of the United States accusing the company of illegally promoting animal fighting.
The online retailer said, however, that it was again removing videos that depict dogfights, months after the issue was originally raised by Humane Society officials.
The Humane Society filed the civil lawsuit Thursday morning in District of Columbia Superior Court. The organization originally threatened to sue Amazon.com Inc. last July, saying the company was violating the federal animal cruelty laws by offering The Feathered Warrior and The Gamecock, two cockfighting magazines.
The society’s lawsuit also targets the producers and distributors of the cockfighting magazines and dogfighting videos.
Seattle-based Amazon.com said the magazines are legal and would continue to be sold on its Web site. Refusing to sell books or magazines simply because their messages may offend is censorship, spokeswoman Patty Smith said.
“The customer is the best judge of what is and isn’t appropriate for their reading habits,” she said.
The Washington, D.C.-based Humane Society maintained the cockfighting magazines and the dogfighting videos violate federal animal cruelty laws.
“The company has not been willing to give up the blood money from dogfighting and cockfighting,” said Michael Markarian, a Humane Society vice president.
Last June, Amazon.com was among the companies that pledged to remove a DVD — “Hood Fights 2” — from its Web site after complaints that the video showed scenes of dogs fighting, along with street fights between people.
That case was different than the cockfighting magazines, Smith said, because the video depicted actual violence. Cockfighting is legal only in Louisiana and New Mexico.
A check of Amazon.com by The Associated Press on Wednesday found that “Hood Fights 2” and similar videos were back on the site. Smith said the videos in question were being removed.
Such items can be offered for sale over Amazon.com by third-party suppliers, and the company can’t block certain titles from hitting the site, she said.
In De Queen, Ark., Feathered Warrior owner-editor Verna Dowd, 77, said the Humane Society’s legal threats were too heavy-handed.
“The Humane Society are crazy people,” Dowd said Wednesday. “They want total control, evidently, over everything people do or think or says, or anything. I don’t know what’s wrong with them.”