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Amarillo Globe

Web posted Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Editorial: Future of cockfighting comes home to roost

State Question 687 will settle the cockfighting issue once and for all in Oklahoma.

Gov. Frank Keating signed an executive order Aug. 19 putting the so-called sport of cockfighting on the November general election ballot.

Keating's signature finally brought to an end an exhaustive process that began in 1999 and included an initiative petition by cockfighting opponents and numerous legal maneuvers by cockfighting proponents to keep the public from having its say.

And if predictions of the public's disdain for cockfighting prove accurate, this activity, based more on gambling than competition, will be coming to an end as well.

This is why cockfighting supporters opposed so vehemently giving the public the right to determine whether Oklahoma should remain one of only three states, including New Mexico and Louisiana, that permit this betting battle to the death.

Cockfighting supporters pulled out all the stops to prevent the issue from going before the public, from challenging the authenticity of signatures on the initiative petition to claiming a ban on cockfighting would result in the next logical step, a ban on hunting and fishing.

It is difficult to justify this correlation, and voters probably will not buy it.

Cockfighting is an activity that results in the death and often extreme suffering of the birds used as combatants, and if the truth be known, this barbarism is only part of cockfighting's allure.

Gambling is cockfighting's main attraction.

We tend to doubt the activity would garner significant support if not for the opportunity for spectators to profit from an animal's death.

Ultimately, disregarding individual opinion or bias, it is hard to argue with the fairness of letting the people decide whether cockfighting should remain in Oklahoma.