United Poultry Concerns
Promoting the compassionate and respectful
treatment of domestic fowl

PO Box 150 • Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
(757) 678-7875 • FAX (757) 678-5070

6 November 2002
Contact: Karen Davis 757-678-7875
Chickens Win Victories on November 4 & 5, 2002
Oklahoma Voters, Indiana Judge Stand Up for Chickens

Machipongo, VA - Today chicken advocates rejoice that Oklahoma voters passed State Question 687, making Oklahoma the 48th state to ban cockfighting. The ban makes cockfighting and related activities a felony offense punishable for up to ten years in prison. Oklahoma is the 27th state to adopt felony-level penalties for cockfighting. Wayne Pacelle, a Senior Vice President of The Humane Society of the United States announced today: "Voters have demonstrated they care about the protection of animals, whether the abuse involves intensive confinement on factory farms or staged animal fights." Michael Markarian, President of The Fund For Animals, proclaimed, "The law is closing in on cockfighters, and there are now only two states that allow these gladiatorial spectacles."

More good news: "Man will do time for chicken crime," Nov. 5, 2002. On Monday, November 4th, a Valparaiso, Indiana man who sexually assaulted and killed a hen in a motel room on May 27, 2001, received a 10 and 1/2 year prison sentence for his crime. Valparaiso Post-Tribune writer Frank Wiget reported yesterday that Porter County Superior Court Judge Thomas Webber "said there was sufficient evidence of animal cruelty" to warrant the penalty imposed on Michael Bessigano, who plucked and raped the hen while she was alive. In May 2001 UPC posted an Action Alert urging people to demand conviction of Bessigano. We wrote to the Porter County Prosecutor urging that Bessigano be prosecuted for felony cruelty to animals and as a habitual offender. His history of cruelty to birds dates back to 1991 when he was arrested for breaking a rooster's neck and abusing geese. We are grateful to Judge Webber for his decision.

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. For more information visit www.UPC-online.org

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