Much to the dismay of animal rights activists, two bills have been presented in Oklahoma that would weaken legislation to protect elephants and chickens. Justin Humphrey, Oklahoma State Representative for District 19, has presented these two bills: House Bill 3281 would take the use of bullhooks off the list of things that can’t be used to prod elephants, and House Bill 3283 would “demote” cockfighting from its current felony status to a misdemeanour. Both bills were presented the first week of March 2022 to seek approval from the floor to be sent to the Senate.
A bullhook is a tool used by many elephant handlers in zoos, circuses and temples. They may be used behind the ears andaround the eyes where the skin is thin, and on the feet, trunk and around the mouth which are highly enervated. All these areas are very sensitive to the touch of the sharp metal stick, so the elephants would feel pain when bullhooks are used on them.
The bill related to cockfighting also removes this sentence from the official definition of this illegal bloodsport: “and includes any training fight in which birds are intended orencouraged to attack or fight with one another.” Therefore it would be more difficult to prosecute anyone involved in cockfighting unless they are caught in the act of staging a fight.
A PETA spokesperson said: “Animal protection bills seem to be under attack in Oklahoma, contrary to public sentiment which doesn’t support abusers beating elephants with weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end, or fitting birds with sharp spurs that tear through flesh and bone and forcing them to fight to the death in cockfights. PETA reminds state legislators that they have a responsibility to honor the public’s wishes and to protect the most vulnerable among us, not to weaken our laws and send us back to the dark ages.”