On August 17, 1999, the Oklahoma Coalition Against Cockfighting (OCAC), a group of concerned Oklahoma citizens, filed with the Secretary of State its intention to place a measure on the state ballot that would outlaw the cruel practice of cockfighting. OCAC supporters include many diverse organizations and individuals across the state and the nation who share a concern about this barbaric form of animal cruelty.
Over 480 individuals in 113 towns and cities in Oklahoma participated in the gathering of over 100,000 signatures (approximately 70,000 signatures are needed to qualify this initiative for the state ballot.)
Cockfighters - desperate to prevent a vote of the people
on this issue - challenged the validity of the signatures and made bogus
arguments that the measure is unconstitutional. After a lengthy legal
battle spanning two years, the State Supreme Court, in November 2001,
unanimously ruled to validate 90,000 of the 100,000 signatures submitted!
Additionally, we will be overseeing a campaign to urge a NO vote on State Question 698. That's the measure referred to the ballot by the Legislature at the behest of the cockfighters that would nearly double the number of signatures required to place any animal welfare measure on the statewide ballot. The measure passed in the State Senate by just a single vote, and was nothing less than a naked attempt to prevent a public vote on the anti-cockfighting measure or any other animal welfare proposal in the future.
In short, we have two issues to contend with: outlawing a despicable form of animal cruelty and preserving our voting rights. Yes on 687 and No on 698 is our battle cry between now and November 2002.