Arizona Citizens Against Cockfighting and Missourians Against Cockfighting won major victories for chickens at the polls on November 3rd. Voters in both states told the cockamaniacs and crow-magnons to try peace instead. The Arizona and Missouri campaigns demonstrate what targeted, tough-minded, fact-filled compassion can accomplish. When Arizona Citizens president, Jamie Massey, was considering a campaign to ban cockfighting a few years ago, he wondered if chickens stood a chance in Arizona. And no wonder. In 1996, the Arizona House Judiciary Committee voted 8-3 to reject a bill that would have made cockfighting illegal, while cockfighters rehashed the old cruelty formula: "blankety-blank has a long tradition and cultural ties."
In 1996, Frank Celaya, a Phoenix cockfighting supporter and Vietnam veteran, took off his artificial leg and held it out to the committee, hollering, "If this is not enough for my country, to be able to come and fight chickens whenever I want to fight chickens, then what is this country coming to?"
To its senses?
The victories in Missouri and Arizona are not only major but unique: never before in any state has there been a ballot measure banning cockfighting. Jamie Massey (AZ), Sandy Mickelson (MO) and their troops who won these ballot battles, illustrate the famous paradox, "All great ideas degenerate into hard work." And the equally important paradox, "Only hard work can make a great idea come true."
United Poultry Concerns was pleased to provide our full support from beginning to end in the form of information about the normal social life of chickens, Action Alerts, financial assistance, and letters to the editor. As the campaign to ban cockfighting nationwide pushes on to other states such as Oklahoma and Louisiana, let it be proclaimed: cockfighting is a strictly human activity. (See Jamie Massey's excellent fact sheet, "What Cockfighters Don't Understand.") If cockfighters would simply imitate the rooster in his natural condition, this would automatically eliminate cockfighting.
For more information, call AZ Citizens Against Cockfighting (Tucson: 520 722-0129, Phoenix: 602-392-4272); and Missourians Against Cockfighting (St. Louis: 314-644-7070).