Oklahoma State Senate Communications Division
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 30 For Immediate Release: May 29, 2003 Clip
Senator Frank Shurden
Changes on Cockfighting Penalties on Hold Until 200 Senator Frank Shurden has decided to hold his bill proposing lesser penalties for cockfighting until the 200 session. Senate Bill 3 calls for a vote of the people in August of 200 on proposed changes.
Currently, all violations are classified as felonies. Under SB 3, a first offense would be a misdemeanor and a second would be a felony.
Opponents have argued that the people already stated their will on this issue when they voted to ban cockfighting back in November. But the fact is, they were not given a choice about the severity of the penalties. Since that election, poll after poll has shown the overwhelming majority of Oklahomans think the penalty is too harsh, said Senator Shurden, DHenryetta.
Animal rights groups have criticized SB 3 because it contains no minimum penalties for violating the ban on cockfighting. But Senator Shurden pointed out that there are far more serious crimes that have no minimum penalty under Oklahoma law.
I would certainly argue that kidnapping someones baby is a far worse crime than owning a chicken. But kidnapping has no minimum penalty. Maiming another human being has no minimum penalty neither does manslaughter, partial birth abortion, forcible sodomy or bestiality. All of those terrible crimes have no minimum penalty. Yet these animal rights extremists think we need a minimum penalty that would mandate prison time for owning a chicken? It defies reason, said Shurden.
This was just the first session of the 9th Legislature. Im hoping that between now and the next session we can interject some common sense into this debate, listen to the people who actually live and work in Oklahoma and stop caving in to these outofstate animal rights activists.