PARIS (AP) — France's top court has ruled that a law aimed at ending cockfighting in France is constitutional, rejecting an appeal by supporters of the tradition.
The Constitutional Council confirmed on Friday the ban on the creation of new cockfighting rings — called cockpits.
The law, dating back to 1964, aims to gradually get rid of all cockpits and therefore, cockfighting.
It was recently challenged by two French citizens who wanted to open a new ring in the French island of Reunion.
Cockfighting is legal only in regions where it's considered a deeply-rooted tradition, especially in northern France and the French territories Reunion, French Guyana, and French Antilles.
Otherwise, it is considered animal cruelty and is punishable by up to two years imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 euros ($33,000).
The practice consists in two roosters fighting against each other and is often ending in the death of one of the combatants.
Cockfighting fans argue that the law is unfair, drawing a parallel to bullfighting.
Bullfighting is legal in southwestern France, where the tradition is still gathering huge crowds, and the construction of new arenas to practice it is not banned.
Both practices are sharply criticized by animal protection movements.
In its decision, the Constitutional Council said that cockfighting and bullfighting are "different situations."
Cockfighting is a common practice in Southeast Asia and parts of Latin America, but is illegal in most Western countries.