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16 Apr 2024, Edition - 3199, Tuesday

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Cockfights on despite SC ban?

Umar Sharieff


Despite the SC ban on cockfighting in 2014, the bloodsport continues to be popular across Tamil Nadu with patrons who say it’s part of traditional sports. 

The Supreme Court of India banned the traditional sport of cockfighting in May 2014 on the grounds of cruelty to animals, in accordance with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. It banned this in Andhra Pradesh also, citing betting as a possible reason. However, representatives from the Animal Welfare Board of India said the game continues to take place in many parts of Tamil Nadu despite this ban. 

Recently, news about the sport taking place was reported from Press Colony in Coimbatore, the AWBI representatives alleged though they didn’t show any proof for this. However, they said they have complained to the District Collector. 

High stakes involved

According to the AWBI, cockfighting takes place often in rural areas and the events attract bidders who place bets ranging from a few thousand rupees to lakhs on their favourite roosters! The bidders organise such events illegally and earn money through gambling. “Besides, cockfighting is widely supported by politicians, which is why the practice continues unabated,” said Kalpana Vasudevan, State Animal Welfare Officer. 

In fact, earlier in February this year, Minister for Transport MR Vijayabhaskar announced at Karur that cockfights would be organised and that the court had given permission for it. This bloodsport could be witnessed in districts of Karur and Dharmapuri often, a source claimed.  

Pradeep Prabakaran, District Animal Welfare Officer who explained a bit about the sport, said breeders played their best roosters in a game. The fights are usually held inside a fenced arena. Sharp blades are tied to the roosters’ legs. This causes grievous injuries to the fighters but greatly increases chances of victory for the breeders. 

Sale of liquor at the events reportedly helps organisers bring in bigger audiences. These events were largely ignored by the police unless there was a law and order situation, the source added. 

While on the one hand, betting stakes go up to lakhs, on the other, the demand for the Kizhi Mooku Vaal Seval and Visiri Vaal roosters is always high. A few Facebook pages in and around Tamil Nadu have even posted about the sale of such roosters, drawing strong opposition from animal rights’ activists. 

This sport continued to thrive because of lack of awareness among the people and organisers, said Kalpana. “We have been creating awareness among students and the general public about cockfighting. The Animal Welfare Board of India is strongly against any sport that harms animals,” she added. 

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