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Oklahoma State Question 687 (2002)

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Oklahoma State Question 687 (Initiative #365) was on the November 5, 2002 ballot in Oklahoma. It passed with 565,967 voters in favor and 441,220 in opposition.

The objective of the measure was to ban cockfighting.

The official ballot summary reads:

This measure amends Sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 of State Question 687. State Question 687 made cockfighting illegal. This measure changes the penalties contained in State Question 687. A first offense is a misdemeanor. The fine could not be more than $1,000.00. A second offense is a misdemeanor. The penalty could be a fine, jail or both. The fine could not be more than $5,000.00. The jail term could not be more than 1 year. A third offense is a felony. The penalty could be a fine, prison, or both. The fine could not be more than $10,000.00. The prison term could not be more than 3 years. The penalty for a spectator is a fine. The fine could not be more than $500.00.[1]

Background

WASHINGTON—The animal protection movement scored a series of major ballot measure victories on Election Day, winning five of six contests in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, and Oklahoma. In Florida, voters approved a ban on the intensive confinement of pigs in "gestation crates." While in Oklahoma, voters made that state the 48th to ban the inhumane and barbaric practice of cockfighting.

90,748 signatures were filed to qualify it for the ballot. Elections officials in the state determined that not enough of the signatures were valid. The supporters filed a lawsuit, and in the case of Oklahoma In re Initiative Petition No. 365, the Oklahoma Supreme Court overruled elections officials, placing the measure on the ballot, and it passed.[2]


Support

Voters rejected a counter measure in Oklahoma by cockfighters and other groups that would have effectively barred animal advocates from using the initiative process.

"The people of Oklahoma have outlawed the barbaric practice of cockfighting," adds Michael Markarian, president of The Fund for Animals, a leading national animal protection organization that strongly backed all of the animal protection ballot measures. "The law is closing in on cockfighters, and there are now only two states that allow these gladiatorial spectacles."[2]


Status

OKLAHOMA: State Question 687—VICTORY—56.2% to 43.8%. SQ 687 passed handily, making Oklahoma the 48th state to ban the cruel practice of cockfighting. Only Louisiana and a few counties in New Mexico remain as legal havens for cockfighters among the 50 states.


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