GOP Governor Slammed by Activists and Lawmakers for Supporting Cockfighting

(ReliableNews.org) – Every state in the US has banned cockfighting because of its cruelty. Cockfighting is a sport where two roosters are placed in a ring and encouraged to fight until one of them dies. A governor is now being accused of supporting the deadly sport — but he’s denying the allegations.

The drama began when Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R) made a video supporting the annual meeting of the Oklahoma Gamefowl Commission. The group has reportedly donated more than $70,000 to politicians in the state, including $2,000 to Stitt, in an attempt to have lawmakers decrease the penalties for people who break the law and participate in cockfighting. Chance Campo, the district director of the commission, was arrested in August for participating in cockfighting. He was charged with a felony after police found him in a barn with about 200 others where a fight was taking place.

In the video, Stitt said he wanted to “take a moment to cheer [the organization] on from the sidelines.” He spoke about the state’s “storied history with gamefowl” and said residents “remain dedicated to the spirit of competition” that runs through their communities.

The governor’s comments were widely condemned. According to reports, former Governor Frank Keating (R), who was leading the state in 2002 when the sport was banned, sent a letter to Wayne Pacelle of the Animal Wellness Action stating it was “an embarrassment […] any elected official seeks to turn back the clock on this morally settled issue.” Drew Edmondson (D), the attorney general in 2002, called the Oklahoma Gamefowl Commission a “band of criminals” and said he was surprised to see Stitt join them.

Pacelle said he’s never witnessed a governor “associate himself […] with the cockfighting community and cheer them on.”

A spokesperson for Governor Stitt told KOCO News that the Republican supports many agriculture groups in the state. They went on to say it wasn’t illegal to raise gamefowl in the state and that the governor is not a supporter of animal cruelty.

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