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Okla. Politician Wants to Put Gloves on Roosters

Thursday, January 27, 2005; Page D02

An Oklahoma state senator hopes to revive cockfighting in the state by putting tiny boxing gloves on the roosters instead of razors.

The Oklahoma legislature outlawed the blood sport in 2002 because of its cruelty to the roosters, which are slashed and pecked to death while spectators bet on the outcome. But state Sen. Frank Shurden, a Democrat from Henryetta, Okla., and a longtime defender of cockfighting, said the ban had wiped out a $100 million business.

To try to revive it, he has proposed that roosters wear little boxing gloves attached to their spurs, as well as lightweight, chicken-sized vests configured with electronic sensors to record hits and help keep score.

"It's like the fencing that you see on the Olympics, you know, where they have little balls on the ends of the swords and the fencers wear vests," Shurden said. "That's the same application that would be applied to the roosters."

Janet Halliburton, president of the Oklahoma Coalition Against Cockfighting, which led the drive for the 2002 law, said Shurden is really seeking to loosen the ban. "What this is going to do is make a platform for him to continually try to amend the existing ban," Halliburton told the Oklahoman newspaper. The state senate will consider Shurden's proposal next month.

-- From News Services

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