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Tulsa World

By World's Editorial Writers

Cockfighting vote appears likely

Barring unexpected developments Oklahomans finally will get the chance to outlaw cockfighting.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court this week refused a request from the Oklahoma Gamefowl Breeders Association to block the vote. Gov. Frank Keating's office said he would place the issue on the Nov. 5 general election ballot by Tuesday afternoon.

His office indicated Keating supports a ban on cockfighting and would vote for the measure.

It has been nearly two years since thousands of Oklahomans signed petitions seeking to ban cockfighting in the state. Cockfighting supporters claimed many of the nearly 100,000 signatures were not valid but the high court ruled against them.

The cockfighters tried several legal strategies -- including vague claims that justices acted Tulsa World improperly -- but failed each time.

Oklahoma is one of three states in which cockfighting is still legal. Many states banned the activity as early as the 1800s.

The practice features specially bred and often drugged roosters, fitted with metal spurs, fighting usually to the death. Illegal wagering is reportedly common.

Is cockfighting the top issue facing the state? Should it be a priority for law enforcement if a ban is enacted? Of course not. But it is barbaric and should be unlawful. It doesn't help the state's already battered image to allow animal fighting for fun and profit.

The governor and others who worked tirelessly are due thanks for finally getting this issue before voters.