Governor Keating asks voters to decide on cockfighting ban

Tuesday, August 20th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A proposal to ban cockfighting has been placed on the November ballot.

Gov. Frank Keating signed an executive order late Monday calling for a statewide vote on the proposed cockfighting ban.

State Question 687 will ask voters to decide whether they support a ban on cockfighting, which is illegal in 47 other states.

Keating said continued legal battles over the ban prompted the order.

``The initiative petition calling for a vote of the people on this matter has met a long series of court tests and it is time for the people to decide,'' Keating said.

Keating says he supports a ban on the bloodsport.

``Cockfighting is cruel, it promotes illegal gambling and its simply embarrassing to Oklahoma to be seen as one of only a tiny handful of locations outside the third world where this activity is legal,'' Keating said. ``I will vote yes for State Question 687, and I encourage all Oklahomans to do the same.''

Keating's order comes after the Oklahoma Supreme Court denied the latest bid on behalf of cockfighting supporters to delay a vote.

In its brief order, the Supreme Court rejected without comment a request that it reconsider its decision not to disqualify itself from the case.

The Oklahoma Gamefowl Breeders Association has said it has been denied a fair hearing before the court and implied that justices were biased against cockfighting.

Oklahoma is one of only three states where cockfighting is legal. The others are New Mexico and Louisiana.

A petition drive to ban cockfighting was launched in 1999 by Janet Halliburton, former general counsel of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.