BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — An effort to close loopholes in Louisiana's 2008 ban on cockfighting is nearing final legislative passage.

The House voted 69-18 Thursday for the proposal by New Orleans Sen. J.P. Morrell, a Democrat, to tighten the ban and put it in line with state laws that prohibit dogfighting.

The bill would broaden the definition of "chicken" in the current law to include roosters, game fowl and other birds.

It also would criminalize the possession, manufacturing, buying and selling of spurs, gaffs and knives if there is evidence the paraphernalia is being used to fight chickens.

And it would toughen the penalties for anyone convicted of cockfighting.

Morrell's proposal returns to the Senate for approval of House changes.

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