Voters in Florida, Oklahoma, Arkansas cast ballots on animal welfare issues

Published on December 01, 2002
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On Nov. 6, Florida voters passed an amendment to the state constitution that prohibits the confinement or tethering of pregnant pigs in such a manner that the pig is prevented from turning around freely. According to the final results, 2,611,011 Floridians or 54.8 percent voted in favor of the amendment and 2,157,047 or 45.2 percent voted against the measure. Animal rights groups are hailing the measure as a victory against factory farms, while Florida farm groups say the measure will have little effect in a state with few pig farms. To learn more about the Florida sow housing amendment, read the Oct. 1 JAVMA News story on the amendment.

In Oklahoma, voters approved a ban on cockfighting. At the final count, 56 percent of Oklahoma voters supported the ban and 44 percent voted to keep cockfighting legal in the state. The measure makes cockfighting and related activities illegal in Oklahoma, with penalties of up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000 for offenders. Oklahoma was one of three states that allowed cockfighting; the practice continues to be allowed in Louisiana and parts of New Mexico.

According to early reports, Arkansas voters have rejected an amendment that would have upgraded some forms of animal cruelty from a misdemeanor to a felony. With 92 percent of precincts reporting, 65 percent of voters cast ballots against the measure and 35 percent voted in favor of toughening anticruelty laws. Opponents of the measure said the law was too vague and could have subjected farmers, hunters, or scientists to undue prosecution. Supporters said the measure excluded those groups.

For the latest information on the Arkansas amendment, click here and use the legislative tracking function to track Proposed Initiated Act 1.