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Tulsa World

Judge's ruling misses the point
2002-11-20

A state district court judge probably will issue an injunction stopping, at least temporarily, the recently-approved ban on cockfighting from taking place.

Judge Willard Driesel's ruling which left a temporary injunction in place affects three counties in the far southeastern corner of the state. The ban on cockfighting is being challenged in several other counties in eastern Oklahoma.

Rulings in these cases would affect only eight of Oklahoma's 77 counties. It is not an accident that public sentiment favors cockfighting in these counties. Who says elected judges are not affected by public opinion?

It is more than likely the cockfighting issue will wind up before the state's Supreme Court. Regardless of what the district court judges decide, their decisions will be appealed to the high court. Perhaps this inevitability is what allows the judges to rail against cockfighting. They know their decision will not be the final word.

Judge Driesel nevertheless raised a good question in his comments from the bench after a hearing in which a permanent injunction was requested.

The judge noted a contradiction. He said cockfighting opponents object because the practice is cruel to the roosters, but noted all the fighting cocks would be killed if cockfighting is banned. Wouldn't this be cruel, asked the judge.

Without debating that issue, it misses the point. No reasonable person is worried about killing a few chickens. Millions of chickens are killed for food daily.

Cockfighting should be banned, not because it is cruel to chickens, but because it is demeaning to people. People who like to watch dumb brutes kill each other are the problem.

A society which encourages such a practice has a problem. If it weren't for some fancy legal shenanigans years ago, cockfighting would not have been legal in Oklahoma.

If cockfighting can't be banned, then dog fighting can't be banned. And what about letting dogs bait bears, or terriers kill rats, or any number of blood matches allowed?

Cockfighting is not about killing chickens, it is about what a blood sport does to the soul of humans and their society.