Louisiana is the last state to outlaw cockfighting, and animal advocacy organizations applaud the closing of the final legal venue in the United States for a blood sport they view as cruel and barbaric.
Cockfight aficionados argue that the new law, which went into effect Friday, will merely drive cockfighting underground, like dogfighting rings. There is also a sentiment among cockfighters that being sanctioned for their pastime by those who dine on chicken from factory farms is hypocritical.
They raise their roosters for two years, vaccinate and feed them and say the birds at least have a fighting chance of remaining alive. Enthusiasts insist they simply perpetuate the inherent nature of the species, that it would be impossible to stop this jungle breed from fighting. To prevent carnage in the yard, the birds must be tethered apart.
In 33 states, cockfighting is a felony. Virginia recently toughened its law to make even attending organized fights a felony.
The sport, still popular in countries including Mexico and the Philippines, remains legal in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa.