Animal rights activists had several dogs in yesterday’s election fight, including a statewide ban on cockfighting in Oklahoma (approved), a bid to expand gaming at greyhound racing tracks in Arizona (not approved), and a measure to turn vaguely-defined animal “cruelty” into a felony in Arkansas (defeated).

The agenda of Arkansas animal rights activists was stopped in its tracks last night, largely due to the investment of time and money by a coalition of farming and animal industry groups called “Arkansans For Responsible Animal Laws.”

But the most watched battle on the animal-rights radar screen was a heavily funded and

Ironically, the election season is not quite over for Farm Sanctuary, the national animal rights group that donated over $465,000 to this campaign. On November 14 and 15, the Florida Elections Commission will hear evidence that Farm Sanctuary

News coverage of this story so far has missed the boat completely. The Reuters news wire, for instance, claimed last night that “the measure will have only limited effect,” since only two Florida farms currently use the now-banned “gestation crates.”

But animal rights activists are already looking ahead to the next series of battlegrounds.

Shortly after the votes were tallied, Farm Sanctuary issued a press release predicting that “the Florida victory will lead to similar reforms across the nation.” The radical group In Defense of Animals is saying in its e-mail newsletter that it will “have far-reaching influence in other states.” And individual activists are reading yesterday’s tea leaves, claiming that this is just “the very, very beginning of future moves” toward their goal of “total animal liberation.”

After talking to Florida Farm Bureau spokesperson Frankie Hall, the Associated Press concluded that “the passage of the amendment was not surprising, as supporters actively campaigned and the opponents did not.”

Hall summed up the animal rights political climate nicely: “You’ve got millions of dollars going into the campaign on one side and none on the other. What do you expect?”