France's top court has upheld a ban on building new cockfighting venues, limiting the prospects for growth of an activity that is illegal in most countries but still allowed in parts of France where it is considered an ancient tradition.
The court rejected an appeal by inhabitants of Reunion island, a French overseas department in the Indian Ocean, who are being sued for opening a new cockfighting ring in 2012. They had argued it was unfair because there is no such ban on bullfighting arenas.
But the Constitutional Court said French legislation made clear that the two types of fights, though both benefiting from exemptions to animal protection laws because they stem from a long tradition, were to be treated differently.
Cockfights, where two roosters are pitted against each other in a fight to the death, are legal in France's overseas territories as well as in the northern Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. Everywhere else in France it is illegal, with offenders risking a 30,000 euro ($33,000) fine and two-year jail sentence. ($1 = 0.9107 euros)