OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A group of advocates against cockfighting have responded to House Bill 2530 and discussed how it could affect Oklahoma.

HB 2530 would reduce the cockfighting punishment from a felony to a misdemeanor. The bill failed by one vote in the House on Monday.

Animal advocates held a conference on Tuesday to discuss cockfighting and why the bill should be voted down if brought to another vote.

“I am concerned about the violence that would result, not just to the roosters themselves, but to children, to neighbors, to people that they don’t even know.” said former attorney general Drew Edmondson.

According to Edmondson, those involved in Oklahoma’s cockfighting usually travel to areas like Oklahoma City and Tulsa just to participate. The act of cockfighting also goes hand-in-hand with other activities such as drug use and other crime, officials say.

“This is like Al Capone coming in and saying ‘I want to reduce the penalties for racketeering’. If this happens, it’s going to hurt tourism and it just, it’ll be never-ending and it will increase crime.” said Steve Hindi, president of Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK).

“Any tourism that it helps are tourists we don’t want to see.” responded Edmondson.

Animal advocates say cockfighting has the potential of bringing in organized crime to the state. According to officials, illegal gambling, guns, drugs and violence are bound with cockfighting as well as other crime like kidnapping.

“…this is mafia-type crime that’s going on, drug cartel crime going on and cockfighting is in the center of it all.” noted Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy.

HB 2530 did not pass the House with a vote of 50-47, needing 51 to pass. Former AG Edmondson says he hopes that legislators will continue to vote the bill down if the it reappears.

Oklahomans overwhelmingly approved the state question making cockfighting illegal and a felony in 2002.