Louisiana State Sen. Elbert Guillory, R-Opelousas, opposes a bill that closes loopholes in the state cockfighting ban because he says it threatens the "legitimate sport of chicken boxing.”
As it stands now the cockfighting ban specifies a certain species of chicken, which makes it difficult to enforce. The new bill will expand that language to include any kind of fowl used in cockfighting. It also strengthens penalties for those involved in cockfighting, putting them on par with dog fighting, according to the Times-Picayune.
The Louisiana Senate Judiciary Committee moved ahead with the bill on Tuesday despite contention from Guillory.
“There is a legitimate sport known as chicken boxing. It has nothing to do with cockfighting, and it is clear that this bill would interfere, would criminalize that legal enterprise,” Guillory said.
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“Instead of a blade or exposed spur, they hit each other with these boxing gloves on, which is quite safe,” he said. “There’s no blood…”
Guillory says 15th generation boxing chickens are raised in Opellousas and exported to places where chicken boxing is popular and legal.
Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, told Guillory he never heard of the “sport” but that any event that forces fowls to fight is illegal. Furthermore, he said exporting chickens to fight elsewhere is probably already illegal, comparing it to someone buying pseudoephedrine and shipping it elsewhere so it can be made into methamphetimine.
"'Chicken boxing' is just a creative excuse the cockfighters have come up with to mask their real agenda, which is to maintain the weakest penalties for cockfighting as possible,'" Humane Society of the United States Animal Cruelty Director John Goodwin told the Times-Picayune Tuesday.
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"Sometimes [sparring muffs] do look like little boxing gloves," Goodwin said. "I've seen them put sparring muffs on display to try and fool people into thinking they were using these little rubber or plastic muffs instead of knives, but it's just a ruse."
"The rest of the world looks at our state and what we do when we encourage things that are widely viewed as barbaric or backwards behavior,” Morrell said.
The bill is now heading to the full Senate for approval.