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Punching poultry: Louisiana lawmaker claims 'chicken boxing' is a sport

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A Louisiana lawmaker insists their is a humane version of cockfighting - chicken boxing. (AP)

Ever hear of "chicken boxing?" Didn't think so.

Yet, when Louisiana state lawmakers sought Tuesday to sharpen language in the state's 2008 ban on cockfighting, an unexpected debate arose over poultry pugilism, with Sen. Elbert Guillory holding court for befuddled colleagues.

Chicken boxing, the Republican explained, is a sport where the combatants don "gloves" instead of barbaric blades used in cockfights that end in the death of a chicken. Guillory wanted to make sure that laws aimed at ending cockfighting did not also ban what he considers a more humane version.

"Leather spur covers and plastic spur covers, um, that are used in the legitimate sport of chicken boxing might be considered paraphernalia," Guillory reportedly told the chamber.

"Wait, wait, wait ... chicken boxing?" Democratic state Sen. J.P. Morrell, sponsor of the new legislation, responded.

"Yes, chicken boxing," Guillory said, according The Advocate of Baton Rouge reported. 

Morrell's bill, if enacted into law, would also make it a felony to possess paraphernalia, such as razors, spurs and leather spur covers, which are commonly associated with cockfighting. 

"I appreciate your passion for your constituents, (but) I have no knowledge whatsoever on chicken boxing, so I cannot speak to that," Morrell reportedly continued. "If chicken boxing ... I can’t even speak on chicken boxing. Honestly, I have never heard of that. It sounds like something to circumvent cockfighting."

Guillory then explained the distinction between cockfighting and chicken boxing, claiming the latter was not a blood sport and should not be illegal. 

"Just as dueling is a blood sport, two men fighting each other with swords is a blood sport that is illegal," Guillory reportedly said. "Similarly, two men with boxing gloves on can box each other as a sport that is legal. This is the same distinction between chicken boxing and cockfighting."

One of Guillory's fellow legislators, Republican Sen. Robert Adley, was quick to express his confusion over the sport.

"I would be very interested to find out how some chicken stands on two legs while it boxes," Adley said, according to the newspaper. "I understand how humans do it, but I’m trying to figure out how it happens with a chicken. That would be interesting to determine."

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