VILLE PLATTE (AP) — Is a fighting rooster a chicken?
The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1bGNNmH) the Evangeline Parish Police Jury asked the state Attorney General's Office to officially weigh in on the issue, questioning whether uncertainty over the fowl's scientific name might invalidate the 2008 state ban on cockfighting.
The state's top legal minds determined this month that a chicken is a chicken is a chicken.
At issue was whether roosters that are pitted against each other in cockfights fit the legal definition of "chicken" used in the state ban, which defines the fowl in question as "any bird which is of the species Gallus gallus."
Evangeline Parish Assistant District Attorney J. Gregory Vidrine said in a letter to the Attorney General's Office that the issue arose after a group of residents asked the Police Jury to license a cockfighting operation in the parish.
Vidrine wrote that the Police Jury had no intention of sanctioning illegal activity but that "the interested parties maintain that the 'chickens' that they intend to fight are of a species other than Gallus gallus."
After five pages of references to past court cases and scientific journals, the Attorney General's Office concluded that fighting roosters are among several subspecies that fall under the scientific name used in the cockfighting law.
"From a genetic and morphological standpoint, there is, currently, no way for a 'chicken' not to be a member of the proscribed G. gallus genus and species," the opinion stated.
The opinion went on to state that regardless of any ambiguity in the scientific name, the clear intent of the cockfighting ban is to prohibit the fighting of roosters.
Louisiana was the last state to ban cockfights, in which two roosters face off in an often deadly battle with small blades or pick-like gaffs attached to their legs or with their natural spurs. The fights were widespread in south Louisiana before the 2008 ban and still continue clandestinely.