AGDN Letter to Oklahoma Legislature

Repost

Carefully read and educate yourself on your individual liberty and human rights.

– Gameness til the End

Legalize Cockfighting in Oklahoma Sponsorship Request Letter

AGDN Call To Action- 2/1/2014 – agdnnational@gmail.com

FOR OKLAHOMA RESIDENTS

To all Oklahoma gamefowl enthusiasts,

The following letter is intended to be sent to Oklahoma State Representatives and Senators requesting bill sponsorship. The AGDN requests that you copy and paste this letter into an email to YOUR Oklahoma Rep or Senator.

  1. Find your Oklahoma legislators here: http://www.oklegislature.gov/. Remember to locate your Representatives and Senators. There’s a search at the bottom right of the Oklahoma legislature page.
  2. Email each of your legislators, reps and senators. There is a link to send them an email. Cut and paste the letter below, or write your own letter, into the body of the email.
  3. IMPORTANT – Include your contact information including name, email address and phone number.
  4. Join the AGDN email list. Send an email to agdnnational@gmail.com and you will be added to the network.
  5. Let the AGDN know of any feedback, especially any positive feedback. The AGDN will provide full support and consultation for the effort.
  6. Let the AGDN know of any feedback, especially any positive feedback. The AGDN will provide full support and consultation for the effort.

OK resident FORM LETTER (copy and paste)

To all Oklahoma Representatives and Senators,

The time has come to legalize cockfighting in Oklahoma. It is important to remember that anti-cockfighting laws have been driven by the same political forces that would ultimately like to see the end of commercial food production and sport hunting in America. The exact same core rationale asserting cruelty is advanced as an argument to abolish all of these activities. Oklahoma responded to pressure from animal rights groups in 2008 by making hunting, fishing and trapping a constitutional right. Cockfighting deserves the same protections.

Indeed, in 2008 Oklahoma amended the state constitution and added “All citizens of this state shall have a right to hunt, fish, trap and harvest game and fish, subject only to reasonable regulation as prescribed by the Legislature and the Wildlife Conservation Commission.” The threat of animal rights groups asserting the cruelty of sport hunting motivated the drive for constitutional protection explicitly based on tradition and economic benefit. Proponents argued that “the Oklahoma legislature did not allow an unrealistic fear of future litigation to deter it from adopting these essential safeguards. They know that some things, such as the long-term preservation of our hunting heritage, are more important than preventing the occasional lawsuit.” (Institute for Legislative Action, RIGHT TO HUNT, September 16, 2008). Unfortunately, cockfighting has been relegated to the shadows and hypocritically denied equal protection under state law, an explicit guarantee made by both the Oklahoma State Constitution and the US Constitution.

Cockfighting should be protected based on the exact same rationale of tradition and heritage. Cockfighting dates back thousands of years before the inception of America and the settlement of Oklahoma. Specifically, the Oklahoma Historical Society reports, “The American variant of this behavior pattern was imported early in our Colonial period from England, and records clearly indicate that it was followed by most of the landed gentry. George Washington, Jefferson, Madison and others bred gamecocks as a matter of course.” (Oklahoma Historical Society, Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, 2012)

The 14th Amendment to the US constitution requires that no state “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” In Oklahoma, equal protection is embraced and codified in the state constitution as well. If the state of Oklahoma protects hunting based on tradition and economy then cockfighting deserves the same equal protections guaranteed by both the 14th amendment and the Oklahoma state constitution.

The same rationale extends to the commercial poultry industry. It is incontrovertible that commercial poultry are treated more egregiously than gamefowl. In fact, poultry are excluded from the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958 because they are legally considered less sentient than other commercially slaughtered animals. Certainly cockfighting deserves these same protections.

The courts have clearly placed the responsibility for gamefowl policy in the hands of the legislature. The legislature has the ability to analyze an issue with more scrutiny than the court chooses to apply. The court merely looks for a rational basis for a regulation. The Oklahoma legislature has the ability to analyze cockfighting at a deeper level, revealing the obviously inconsistent and arbitrary decision to make cockfighting illegal.

It is important to understand that tradition and history have been used to protect hunting and commercial slaughter in Oklahoma from the exact same political lobby that targets cockfighting. Indeed, this nexus between cockfighting, hunting and farming is well understood by animal rights advocates. The exact elements targeting gamefowl are the same elements that ultimately want to end all hunting and animal use in America.

For example, The Humane Society of the United States, the driving force behind cockfighting legislation, envisions a world far different than the one we now live in. A world where the history and traditions that are part of our national and even human identity are extinguished. The Humane Society has clearly identified goals beyond cockfighting. Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society, has been quoted as saying; “If we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would.” (Associated Press, Dec 30, 1991). “Our goal is to get sport hunting in the same category as cock fighting and dog fighting. Our opponents say hunting is a tradition. We say traditions can change” (Bozeman (MT) Daily Chronicle, October 8, 1991). “We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States … We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped….state by state. (Full Cry Magazine, October 1, 1990).

Recognizing this ultimate goal should be part of the decision-making calculus of any policymaker considering cockfighting issues. Remember, the Humane Society of the United States has been the driving force behind the anti-cockfighting movement in America and the philosophy driving this movement would abolish hunting. In terms of hunting, Oklahoma has rejected this vision for the future. Why? Because of heritage and the economic impact of this world would be crippling across the entire country. Hunting represent billions upon billions of dollars in direct and incidental businesses. Imagine this impact on top of the recession currently in progress. This says nothing about the damage to rural culture and traditions.

Finally, specious assertions that cockfighting promotes gambling and a criminal element are patently false. The only comprehensive study concerning game-cocking in America proves that “people engaged in this recreational form are basically conservative, highly concerned with health and outdoor life, strongly patriotic and strongly in favor of obeying laws and preservation of public order.” (Professor William C. Capel, Clemson University and Professor Clifton Bryant, VA Poly-technical Institute and State University, AMERICAN COCKERS: RESULTS FROM A NATIONAL SURVEY CONDUCTED IN 1974 THROUGH 1991)

Also, gambling issues addressed within the context of regulation would be a superior alternative to embracing unconstitutional policies based on the non-unique issue of illegal gambling on sporting activities. Remember, billions of dollars are illegally wagered on legal sporting events every year. This fact has not led to the abolition of football, for example.

If there is any legitimacy to the claims of illegal gambling and a criminal element related to cockfighting in Oklahoma, then those claims are made worse by driving the activity underground where it remains hidden from public scrutiny and potential regulation. The majority of gamefowl enthusiasts are patriotic and law abiding citizens. The arbitrary legislative targeting of cockfighting only risks turning ethical Oklahoma citizens into felons and leaves the sport vulnerable to the criminal element because many law abiding citizens are being driven out of the sport.

Importantly, legalized cockfighting would generate massive public and private revenue. Regulated cockfighting elsewhere in the world proves that a regulated industry would generate millions (even billions) in revenue. This is in addition to the millions currently being generated in the United States with restrictive laws. (Lynn Marrow, Director of the Local Records Preservation Program at the Missouri State Archives, History They Don’t Teach You, A Tradition of Cockfighting, White River Historical Quarterly, Fall 1995).

Remember, on the other side of the coin is the cost of felony status for cockfighting. Certainly there are enough issues relating to strained Oklahoma state resources and institutional overcrowding that it makes zero sense to embrace a policy that magnifies this resource strain, for a nonviolent activity, even when applying the most basic cost-benefit analysis criteria.

The movement to designate gamefowl enthusiasts as a class, and cockfighting as a fundamental right, needs your help in order to protect an under-represented but no less important segment of Oklahoma’s population. Remember, gamefowl enthusiasts are a celebrated class in the pages of history, engrained in the heritage of both the US and the State of Oklahoma. The courts have clearly placed the decision in the hands of the legislature. As a representative to the people of Oklahoma, you have an opportunity to preserve the rights base of thousands of law abiding citizens and exercise the critical role all state legislator’s play in constitutional and rights based policymaking.

Sincerely,

FOR NON-OKLAHOMA RESIDENTS

All non-residents of Oklahoma,

Numerous people have inquired about how they could help Oklahoma even though they don’t live in Oklahoma. The AGDN prepared an example of a letter that could be sent to the Majority Leader of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Sending an email is simple:

1. Write your own letter, or feel free to copy and paste the provided letter, requesting that the House Majority Leader, Dennis Johnson, sponsor a bill protecting cockfighting in Oklahoma, explaining why a non-residents perspective is valid. Representative Johnson was one of five people that supported legislation to lower penalties for cockfighting.

2. Include contact information at the bottom of the letter you send, name, email, phone number.

3. Send the letter to Representative Dennis Johnson, Oklahoma House Majority Leader, dennis.johnson@okhouse.gov

OK non-resident FORM LETTER- (copy and paste into an email)

Mr. Chair,

Although I am not a resident of Oklahoma, I was hoping for a moment of your time to express concerns about the illegality of cockfighting in your state. The decision to designate cockfighting in Oklahoma as a fundamental right would result in huge economic benefits to the state’s economy and strengthen the drive for legislative relief in other states. As Majority Leader in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, you are in a unique position to protect gamefowl enthusiasts in Oklahoma. It is important to remember that anti-cockfighting laws have been driven by the same political forces that would ultimately like to see the end of commercial food production and sport hunting in America. The exact same core rationale asserting cruelty is advanced as an argument to abolish all of these activities. Oklahoma responded to pressure from animal rights groups in 2008 by making hunting, fishing and trapping a constitutional right. Cockfighting deserves the same protections.

Indeed, in 2008 Oklahoma amended the state constitution and added “All citizens of this state shall have a right to hunt, fish, trap and harvest game and fish, subject only to reasonable regulation as prescribed by the Legislature and the Wildlife Conservation Commission.” The threat of animal rights groups asserting the cruelty of sport hunting motivated the drive for constitutional protection explicitly based on tradition and economic benefit. Proponents argued that “the Oklahoma legislature did not allow an unrealistic fear of future litigation to deter it from adopting these essential safeguards. They know that some things, such as the long-term preservation of our hunting heritage, are more important than preventing the occasional lawsuit.” (Institute for Legislative Action, RIGHT TO HUNT, September 16, 2008). Unfortunately, cockfighting has been relegated to the shadows and hypocritically denied equal protection under state law, an explicit guarantee made by both the Oklahoma State Constitution and the US Constitution.

Cockfighting should be protected based on the exact same rationale of tradition and heritage. Cockfighting dates back thousands of years before the inception of America and the settlement of Oklahoma. Specifically, the Oklahoma Historical Society reports, “The American variant of this behavior pattern was imported early in our Colonial period from England, and records clearly indicate that it was followed by most of the landed gentry. George Washington, Jefferson, Madison and others bred gamecocks as a matter of course.” (Oklahoma Historical Society, Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, 2012)

The 14th Amendment to the US constitution requires that no state “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” In Oklahoma, equal protection is embraced and codified in the state constitution as well. If the state of Oklahoma protects hunting based on tradition and economy then cockfighting deserves the same equal protections guaranteed by both the 14th amendment and the Oklahoma state constitution.

The same rationale extends to the commercial poultry industry. It is incontrovertible that commercial poultry are treated more egregiously than gamefowl. In fact, poultry are excluded from the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958 because they are legally considered less sentient than other commercially slaughtered animals. Certainly cockfighting deserves these same protections.

The courts have clearly placed the responsibility for gamefowl policy in the hands of the legislature. The legislature has the ability to analyze an issue with more scrutiny than the court chooses to apply. The court merely looks for a rational basis for a regulation. The Oklahoma legislature has the ability to analyze cockfighting at a deeper level, revealing the obviously inconsistent and arbitrary decision to make cockfighting illegal.

It is important to understand that tradition and history have been used to protect hunting and commercial slaughter in Oklahoma from the exact same political lobby that targets cockfighting. Indeed, this nexus between cockfighting, hunting and farming is well understood by animal rights advocates. The exact elements targeting gamefowl are the same elements that ultimately want to end all hunting and animal use in America.

For example, The Humane Society of the United States, the driving force behind cockfighting legislation, envisions a world far different than the one we now live in. A world where the history and traditions that are part of our national and even human identity are extinguished. The Humane Society has clearly identified goals beyond cockfighting. Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society, has been quoted as saying; “If we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would.” (Associated Press, Dec 30, 1991). “Our goal is to get sport hunting in the same category as cock fighting and dog fighting. Our opponents say hunting is a tradition. We say traditions can change” (Bozeman (MT) Daily Chronicle, October 8, 1991). “We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States … We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped….state by state. (Full Cry Magazine, October 1, 1990).

Recognizing this ultimate goal should be part of the decision-making calculus of any policymaker considering cockfighting issues. Remember, the Humane Society of the United States has been the driving force behind the anti-cockfighting movement in America and the philosophy driving this movement would abolish hunting. In terms of hunting, Oklahoma has rejected this vision for the future. Why? Because of heritage and the economic impact of this world would be crippling across the entire country. Hunting represent billions upon billions of dollars in direct and incidental businesses. Imagine this impact on top of the recession currently in progress. This says nothing about the damage to rural culture and traditions.

Finally, specious assertions that cockfighting promotes gambling and a criminal element are patently false. The only comprehensive study concerning game-cocking in America proves that “people engaged in this recreational form are basically conservative, highly concerned with health and outdoor life, strongly patriotic and strongly in favor of obeying laws and preservation of public order.” (Professor William C. Capel, Clemson University and Professor Clifton Bryant, VA Poly-technical Institute and State University, AMERICAN COCKERS: RESULTS FROM A NATIONAL SURVEY CONDUCTED IN 1974 THROUGH 1991)

Also, gambling issues addressed within the context of regulation would be a superior alternative to embracing unconstitutional policies based on the non-unique issue of illegal gambling on sporting activities. Remember, billions of dollars are illegally wagered on legal sporting events every year. This fact has not led to the abolition of football, for example.

If there is any legitimacy to the claims of illegal gambling and a criminal element related to cockfighting in Oklahoma, then those claims are made worse by driving the activity underground where it remains hidden from public scrutiny and potential regulation. The majority of gamefowl enthusiasts are patriotic and law abiding citizens. The arbitrary legislative targeting of cockfighting only risks turning ethical Oklahoma citizens into felons and leaves the sport vulnerable to the criminal element because many law abiding citizens are being driven out of the sport.

Importantly, legalized cockfighting would generate massive public and private revenue. Regulated cockfighting elsewhere in the world proves that a regulated industry would generate millions (even billions) in revenue. This is in addition to the millions currently being generated in the United States with restrictive laws. (Lynn Marrow, Director of the Local Records Preservation Program at the Missouri State Archives, History They Don’t Teach You, A Tradition of Cockfighting, White River Historical Quarterly, Fall 1995).

Remember, on the other side of the coin is the cost of felony status for cockfighting. Certainly there are enough issues relating to strained Oklahoma state resources and institutional overcrowding that it makes zero sense to embrace a policy that magnifies this resource strain, for a nonviolent activity, even when applying the most basic cost-benefit analysis criteria.

The movement to designate gamefowl enthusiasts as a class, and cockfighting as a fundamental right, needs your help in order to protect an under-represented but no less important segment of Oklahoma’s population. Remember, gamefowl enthusiasts are a celebrated class in the pages of history, engrained in the heritage of both the US and the State of Oklahoma. The courts have clearly placed the decision in the hands of the legislature. As a representative to the people of Oklahoma, you have an opportunity to preserve the rights base of thousands of law abiding citizens and exercise the critical role all state legislator’s play in constitutional and rights based policymaking.

Remember, decisions made in Oklahoma can have an impact in other state legislatures. I feel compelled to ask for your support to sponsor legislation that would properly reinstate the tradition and heritage of cockfighting to its rightful place as a legally regulated and celebrated sport in America. Oklahoma’s undeniable cockfighting heritage makes it an important player in the fight for gamefowl culture generally.

Thank you for taking the time to consider the thoughts of a non-resident. I very much look forward to your response.

Sincerely,




poultry gamefowl chicken gamecock

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