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KTUL - NewsChannel 8

Senator's Bill Would Overturn Cockfighting Ban
2002-12-05

Game Fowl Breeders Ready For Round Two

Breeders, Animal Rights Activists At Odds Over Cockfighting

Oklahoma City - State Senator Frank Shurden is proposing a bill to overturn a recent ban on cockfighting in most of Oklahoma's 77 counties.

Oklahoma voters passed State Question 687 to ban cockfighting in November, but Shurden says only 20 of the state's counties voted for the ban. Shurden introduced a bill Thursday that would keep cockfighting legal in the 57 counties that didn't support the ban.

Shurden also proposed a mechanism that would allow the other 20 counties another vote on the ban.

Shurden calls the state question a "badly written law" and says he is strongly opposed to making it illegal for Oklahomans to raise poultry or livestock. If passed, his bill would also look to change cockfighting penalties from a felony to a misdemeanor and would remove the penalties for raising the game fowl.

Janet Halliburton led the drive to get the issue on November's ballot. She calls Shurden's proposition "an attack on the democratic process and the policy of decision-making by a majority vote."

State Question 687 passed by more than 120-thousand votes, but since then, enforcement has been blocked in numerous eastern Oklahoma counties after lawsuits were filed.

Shurden's bill won't be taken up by lawmakers until at least February, when the Legislature reconvenes.