Chicken boxing, according to one Louisiana senator, is very different from cockfighting, and a bill that would seal up loopholes in a state cockfighting ban would threaten what he calls a legitimate sport.
Sen. Elbert Guillory says that chicken boxing is a much less bloody sport and isn't fought to the death; instead, the animals wear rubber gloves that cover their legs while engaging in the sport, which is much like kickboxing. Guillory says that veterinarians are always on hand to monitor the events, as well.
"Instead of a blade or exposed spur, they hit each other with these boxing gloves on, which is quite safe," Guillory said at a hearing. "There's no blood...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."
The bill that Guillory is fighting would impose tougher penalties for anyone engaged in any act of cockfighting, and that isn't limited to chickens; now included are roosters and game fowl. However, he says the bill will harm families who have raised the animals strictly for the sport.
"My concern is about the breadth of this bill," Guillory said. "It covers all chickens. I represent a rural area where people raise a lot of chickens, including chickens that are 15th- and 20th-generation fighting birds that are exported legally and legitimately to other nations."
John Goodwin of the Human Society says that there is no such thing as "chicken fighting" and that the term "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 possible."
James Demoruelle, a cockfighter for 53 years, spoke up in Guillory's favor, saying the bill would hurt someone like him since he has around a quarter of a million dollars in cockfighting paraphernalia.
“God put the gameness in the chicken, not man,” Demoruelle said. “We don’t make them fight. You can’t make a gamecock fight if it doesn’t want to fight.”
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