Oklahoma Legislature Looking To Ease Punishment For Cockfighting
In a piece of legislation that is 100% pure "What's good for the goose is good for the gander," Oklahoma State Representative Justin Humphrey is trying to loosen the penalties for what the news media is sensationalizing as "cockfighting," but in reality, he's trying to make it easier for Oklahoma breeders to sell their roosters.
If you spend enough time driving around this state, odds are you'll eventually run across a curious sight. Seemingly endless rows of blue and white barrels in the middle of a field. If you've seen it and not figured it out yet, those are gamecock farms. The places where beautiful and terrifying roosters are bred for various reasons, some less savory than others.
If you didn't know, Oklahoma was once the center of cockfighting in America. Even after these events were prohibited by law, the practice lived on in the Sooner State... It was such a problem as recent as the turn of the century, the legislation aimed at curbing this odd industry made it a felony, punishable for up to ten years in prison for breeders, even if it was the next owner down the line doing all the illegal stuff.
Even though these chicken fights are somewhat interesting, compelling to the naturally curious side of most people that have hardly even heard of such a thing, the fighting of any animal is inhumane. Doesn't matter if it's chickens, cats, tigers, or the one that somehow slipped through the system, the state-licensed fighting of domestic dogs vs coyotes... Call it hunting all you want, it's just legalized dogfighting.
So why would Rep Justin Humphrey want to loosen the restrictions and liability on rooster farmers? Well, it all calls back to when Oklahoma voted to reduce punishments for drug possession and theft across the state from felonies to just misdemeanors...
If it's good for the goose, it's good for the gander.
Humphrey and his supporters in the industry say this legislation will ease the liability on game cock producers in the event of a chicken escape... and Humphrey's opponents say it will lead Oklahoma back into the thick of back-alley cockfighting... I'm sure the truth is somewhere in between the varying opinions, it's just not entirely clear just yet.
If you were curious, the average price of a regular baby rooster is about $3... "Fighting" gamecocks average up to $100... but like what happens in most animal breeding circles, there are prized breeds and registered bloodlines that can fetch upwards of $800 on the low end, and several thousand for "show" birds. Yeah, it's a thing in that particularly small social circle.
Call it whatever you want, it's most likely too stupid to get all worked up about.