Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is getting blasted by animal rights activists and fellow lawmakers for displaying overwhelming help for cockfighting.
In a video submitted for the annual assembly of the Oklahoma Gamefowl Fee Sunday, Stitt propped up gamefowl farming as very important for the agricultural economic system and aligned himself with the group whose mission is to legalize the inhumane sport.
“I want I may very well be with you for the Sport Fowl Fee’s annual legislative assembly, however I wished to take a second to cheer you on from the sidelines,” Stitt mentioned.
The second-term Republican governor applauded the fee for “preserving” Oklahoma’s heritage of cockfighting, which he claimed was a product of the state’s “spirit of competitors and camaraderie.”
Stitt acknowledged cockfighting can be a predominant driver for the state’s economic system, regardless of being made unlawful in 2002.
“We have to defend the practically 5,000 sport fowl farmers throughout Oklahoma and carry up our rural and municipal economies. I can’t wait to see what we completed collectively within the subsequent legislative session,” Stitt mentioned.
The fee is predicted to push for cockfighting legalization to be re-examined within the 2024 session — lawmakers didn’t move such a regulation in both the state Senate or Home of Representatives.
Animal rights activists — together with a former Oklahoma governor — slammed Stitt for brazenly supporting the abusive sport, which is thought to contribute to different underground crimes akin to medication and playing, in addition to assist unfold the avian flu.
“Cockfighting is barbaric and certain up with different crimes,” former Oklahoma Legal professional Common Drew Edmondson, who served from 1995 to 2004, said in a statement.
“Governor Stitt is associating himself with lawlessness, and that’s not a correct position for any statewide elected official.”
Former Governor Frank Keating accused Stitt of being out of contact along with his constituents, pointing to 2023 polling proving that lower than 10 % of Oklahomans assume cockfighting needs to be authorized and practically 90 % of voters favor the present statewide ban that makes cockfighting a felony.
“It is a humiliation to me that any elected official seeks to show again the clock on this morally settled concern. Speak of decriminalizing cockfighting is poisonous to the thought of financial improvement and ahead progress for our nice state,” Keating mentioned.
Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Motion, mentioned anti-cockfighting is a usually unanimous entrance for Oklahoma lawmakers.
He accused the state’s sheriffs of largely turning a blind eye to experiences of gamers within the Oklahoma Gamefowl Fee persevering with the game, which is taken into account a felony.
“Gov. Stitt’s barely hid embrace of cockfighting is each jarring and distinctive in American politics,” Pacelle mentioned. “No different governor in any state throughout my 30 years of engaged on this concern has ever signaled help for staged animal combating. Any politician supporting it embraces animal cruelty and lawlessness.”