OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A former Oklahoma attorney general is asking federal prosecutors to look into allegations that local farms are trafficking birds to Guam for cockfighting.
On Tuesday, former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson announced that he was asking U.S. Attorney Brian J. Kuester to investigate the allegations of trafficking animals to Guam, illegally possessing fighting animals, and engaging in other illegal conduct.
Officials say the request comes after an investigation by Animal Wellness Action and Animal Wellness Foundation.
The organizations were able to obtain nearly 2,500 pages of avian shipping records from the Guam Department of Agriculture. The shipments indicate that the ratio of roosters to hens in the shipments was nearly 10 to 1 with some shipments being over 100 to 1.
The investigation revealed that three of the top five shippers of birds to Guam over a three-year period were in eastern Oklahoma. As a result, the organizations allege that Oklahoma “may be the cockfighting capital of the United States.”
“Oklahomans voted in overwhelming numbers to ban cockfighting 18 years ago,” said Louisa McCune, executive director of the Kirkpatrick Foundation, which supports a number of animal welfare causes. “The record of these illegal shipments indicates that we have a sizable cockfighting industry operating in Oklahoma. It’s our hope that law enforcement takes very seriously any and all crimes involving the abuse of animals, including the breeding, selling, and shipping of roosters used for an unconscionable blood sport.”
Edmondson is also asking district attorneys in Cherokee, Haskell, and LeFlore counties to investigate the allegations as well.
“The Eastern District is fraught with individuals who have been involved in the global trafficking and fighting of birds,” Edmondson said. “It is a felony under state and federal law to buy, sell, deliver or own any bird with the intent that such bird shall engage in a cockfight, and that’s clearly what we’re seeing. The three individuals identified in this investigation brazenly defy law enforcement officers. This deserves the attention of law enforcement officers and prosecutors, and that’s what we’re asking for.”
AWA and AWF announced a rewards program that provides a $2,500 reward for any individual who provides critical information that results in a successful federal prosecution of an individual or set of individuals who violate the federal law against animal fighting.