Yes on SQ 687
By World's Editorial Writers
It's time to ban all animal fighting
The Tulsa World's most recent Oklahoma Poll shows Oklahomans favor
banning cockfighting by large margins. Oklahomans are thoughtful and
reasonable people who, like citizens elsewhere, find the idea of staged,
deadly animal fights repugnant.
The poll found that 55 percent of those surveyed feel cockfighting
should be banned; 32 percent were opposed to a ban and 13 percent
were undecided. Voters will decide on Nov. 5 whether to ban cockfighting
Oklahoma, one of only three states that still allow the practice.
The support for banning cockfighting cuts across party
lines. Fifty-four percent of both Democrats and Republicans favor
a ban on cockfighting. The strongest support for a ban came from independents,
64 percent of whom believe the activity should be outlawed.
But approval of the ban isn't necessarily assured.
An aggressive advertising campaign by the game-fowl breeders will
result in some
confusion and misunderstanding.
Cockfighting enthusiasts are trying to paint their
opponents as wild-eyed animal-rights activists with a radical agenda.
Of course there
are extremists involved in most political causes, but the majority
of people working to ban this barbarism are Oklahomans. Remember,
nearly 100,000 citizens signed petitions to get the issue on the ballot.
Cockfighters claim their activity is a harmless tradition
that brings millions of dollars into the state. The cultural claim
is baseless; many
age-old traditions have become unacceptable over time. There also
is little evidence for the economic claims. Even if there were, any
economic benefit cockfighting generates will soon shrink because of
new federal bans.
The cockfighters also suggest that proposed penalties
are too severe. But they are identical to those for dogfighting, and
no one has
suggested those should be changed. There's no reason to believe a
ban would fill our jails with illegal cockfighters, since that hasn't
happened under the 20-year-old dogfighting statute.
In the end, all the cockfighters' arguments are easily
shot down. There can be no justification for this brutal activity.
But to end it, voters
must do their part on Nov. 5: Vote Yes on State Question 687 to ban
cockfighting in Oklahoma.