The Governor of Oklahoma Kevin Stitt recorded a video that played at a rally on 12th November 2023 which has raised concerns due to his apparent support of the cruel bloodsport of cockfighting. In the video, he showed support for the cockfighting community and signalled he’d support their efforts in the upcoming legislative session. He also said the Oklahoma Game Foul Commission brings an exciting sport to the state. He stated in the video “We need to protect the thousands of game foul farmers in Oklahoma and lift our rural and municipal economies.”
It is currently a felony to engage in cockfighting in the state, but the cockfighters are trying to change this. This year, lawmakers tried to reduce its penalties, but the bill failed.
Wayne Pacelle, the president of Animal Wellness Values, said, “I have worked on cockfighting issues for thirty years and have been very active in Oklahoma. There has been an effort to decriminalize cockfighting… We have also conducted a number of investigations and have labelled Oklahoma as the cockfighting capital of the United States… These American cockfighters are dealing with cartel and other organised criminals who control the venues.”
Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 US states, the District of Columbia, and all US territories, but the last state to ban it was Louisiana in 2008. However, states differ on how severe an offence of illegal cockfighting is. In February, Animal Wellness Action and the Center for Humane Economy called on Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama to make organising cockfighting a felony in his state, as already is in 42 states, and is a federal felony.
Although it has been banned in many countries, it is still legal in France, Spain (only in the Canary Islands), Nicaragua, Honduras, Colombia, Mexico (in most states), Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Peru, Panama, Philippines, Madagascar, Indonesia, Thailand, and others.