RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Animal rights advocates said breeders in North Carolina have shipped more than 1,000 live roosters to Guam, charging as much as $2,000 for each bird in the island’s cockfighting trade.

The groups, Animal Wellness Action and Animal Wellness Foundation, on Thursday sent letters to U.S. attorneys in North Carolina, urging an investigation into animal cruelty across the state, news outlets reported.

“North Carolina has been the Eastern hotbed of cockfighting,” Wayne Pacelle, Animal Wellness Action’s president, said in a Zoom call with reporters. “We take no pride. We don’t relish the idea of people going to prison for these activities. We want them to stop.”

His group looked at shipping records in Guam over a course of several years, and Pacelle said they found 9,000 roosters were mailed there from 12 states. Shipments from North Carolina ranked in the top five, along with Oklahoma, California, Hawaii, and Alabama, it said.

Cockfighting is a felony in the state and a federal ban on the practice took effect in Guam in 2019. Pacelle said the island doesn’t have a significant industry related to roosters and alleges the shipments could only be for fighting.

Other states were also mentioned on Thursday’s call.

Drew Edmondson, a former Oklahoma attorney general, said cockfighting in Oklahoma is “worse.” He says cockfighting bans aren’t being enforced, so those who participate feel it’s “an open invitation.”