Action Alert

Good News For Chickens

Oklahoma Voters Ban Cockfighting

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. New Mexico is being targeted next in the campaign to outlaw cockfighting in every state in the union. Cockfighting is now legal only in Louisiana and parts of New Mexico. In Virginia, however, the law needs tightened to make cockfighting itself illegal and not just the gambling aspect, as is now the case.

Indiana Judge Sentences Hen Rapist

On November 4th, a Valparaiso, Indiana man who sexually assaulted and killed a hen in a motel room in 2001 received a 10½ year prison sentence for his crime. 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 2001 UPC posted an Action Alert urging people to demand conviction of Bessigano. We successfully urged the Porter County Prosecutor to prosecute Bessigano 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.