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Tulsa World

Yes on SQ 687
By World's Editorial Writers
10/28/2002

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 in
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.