Several animal rights organizations are launching a new campaign to fight animal abuse in Oklahoma after they said private investigations revealed serious problems.
The campaign, called "Cruelty Isn't Ok,” is being launched by several organizations and people, including former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson.
Edmondson said investigations by groups like Animal Wellness Action, Animal Wellness Foundation and Grey2k USA found that both cockfighting and live lure dog training, where rabbits are dangled in front of greyhounds, are serious issues in Oklahoma.
The group is calling for a statewide taskforce that would include state legislators to improve both state and federal laws for animal cruelty. The organization has also forwarded documents and private videos to state and federal prosecutors.
They said a private investigation this year revealed Oklahoma leads the country in illegal cockfighting and that thousands of birds are being shipped illegally from Oklahoma to places like Guam and the Philippines.
"Oklahoma needs to turn the corner on the issue of animal cruelty,” said Wayne Pacelle, Animal Wellness Action President. “The state has so many attributes. This is marring its reputation and obviously it's causing countless distress to countless animals."
The group is also trying to sway lawmakers to ban the private ownership of big cats and exotic animals in Oklahoma.
It's a topic that has gained attention worldwide through the Netflix series Tiger King, and later this week, Big Cat Rescue owned by Carole Baskin, takes control of Joe Exotic's former zoo in Wynnewood.