Cockfights Rage In South India Leads To Gruesome Violation Of Law


New Delhi: Cockfights, a common and age-old 'sport' looked forward to during the Hindu New Year festival of Sankranti in South India, has been in the midst of several controversies over the years.

Cockfights are a traditional ritual in the Godavari and Krishna districts which takes place for three-days. Although there is a ban on the ‘sport’, as it is cruelty against animals. Every year; businessmen and celebrities from all parts of the country, flock to Andhra Pradesh to participate in cockfights during theSankranti festival.

Many a times, political leaders including those in power have violated the Court’s order and took part in such events. Like last year only, a member of Parliament from the ruling Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh, sparked a controversy by inaugurating an illegal cockfighting event.


Therefore, this year Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu in a review meetinghas warned his party MPs and MLAs against indulging in cockfights during Sankranti.

He said such gambling sports ruin several families; hence they should not be encouraged. Asking his party men, especially those hailing from twin Godavari and Krishna districts from participating in such activities, he advised them not to bring disrepute to the party. He said those who participate in the gambling sport and damage the party's reputation would not be given a party ticket in the upcoming general elections.

Cockfight is not just an entertaining activity marking the festive occasion as sought to be portrayed by the organisers and their protagonists. 

Like Jallikattu, the traditional sport was banned due to cruel and illegal conduct of cockfights.

These cockfights are associated with gambling, betting, running into thousands of crores,and selling illicit liquor besides subjecting animals and birds to cruelty. In this, not just the animals are tortured; several families are deprived of their hard-earned savings due to betting and gambling.

Cockfights were banned in 2014 by the Hyderabad High Court, later when the order was challenged; the HC refused to stay a ban and said that the ban will continue throughout the year, not just during Sankranti in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Yet, the organisers with their social and political clout resort to gruesome violation of law. 

The political   system is a partner in crime while the administrative and the law enforcement machinery remains a passive spectator to the blatant violation of the law and the pronouncements on it by the constitutional courts. 

From the legal no-nos such as the Gaming Act, to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the police in Andhra Pradesh, especially in areas such as Krishna, Guntur, West and East Godavari districts has been clamping down hard on this bloodthirsty practice.

But according to the reports, the traditional game has been thriving 'underground' in Andhra Pradesh each year.Despite a ban, the stage is set for the traditional sport of cockfight during the festival of Sankranti, in Andhra Pradesh. Preparations are in full swing in private farms where such events are held. The fencing of the fighting arena is complete where cocks are pitted against each other.

However, the cockfights are opposed on various grounds;the arguments submitted in the petitions to the High Court clearly state these below mentioned concerns which the judiciary also sympathetically considered.  

Cockfight, a bloody and gruesome sport, causes unnecessary pain and suffering to roosters.  Cockfights violate sections 3 and 11 of the 1960 Act and Article 21 of the Constitution as Section 2(a) of the 1960 Act defines “animal” to mean any living creature other than a human being. 

  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 is made for the prevention of infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals. 
  • Human beings have no superior rights over the other species in the nature. The Indian philosophy, the Constitution and law uphold this premise in most unequivocal terms. 
  • Every species has an inherent right to live, and to be protected by law, subject to the exception provided out of necessity. 
  • The right to dignity and fair treatment is not confined to human beings alone, but to animals as well. Animals also have a right not to be tortured by human beings, and from being inflicted with unnecessary pain or suffering. 

Also, it’s worth noting here what D M Broom, Professor of Animal Welfare, University of Cambridge, says: “Behavioural responses to pain vary greatly from one species to another, but it is reasonable to suppose that the pain felt by all of these animals is similar to that felt by man,” (Animal Welfare and the Law, Cambridge University Press, 1989).

However, as mentioned this sport has been banned in several parts of India, which has affected many a spectator’s mind; the Cock owners who have spent lot of time and money on raising them are suffering. Everyone expects that there should be regulatory guidelines created, which should be followed during those fights, so that this sport can be continued.

Here Is Everything About The Cockfight Tradition of South India:

A cockfight is a blood sport between two roosters (cocks), or more accurately gamecocks, held in a ring called ‘cockpit’.

Cock fighting is said to be the world’s oldest spectator sport, dating back to 6,000 years in Persia. The sport was popular in ancient times in India, China, Persia, and was introduced in Ancient Greece at around 500 BC. For a long time, the Romans despised this “Greek diversion”, but they ended up adopting it so enthusiastically that historians complained that devotees often spent their whole patrimony in betting on cockfights.

Referred as the favourite pastime for warriors of the Tamil region, it is acknowledged as one of the “64 arts” to be mastered by scholars.

In early days, fights were arranged with the jungle fowl and its variants. Later, Chola and Pandyan kings undertook many naval expeditions to Java and Malay, due to which the local poultry of that land found its way to Tamil Nadu, which later spread too many places such as India.

A cockfighting style Vetrukkaalsevalporr meaning “naked heel cock fight” in Tamil (KodiPandem in Telugu) (KoriKatta in Tulu) is the most favourite sport of people living in the coastal regions of Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Tulu Nadu region of Karnataka in India. Three or four-inch blades are attached to the cock’s legs.

Other than this, agreement fights are usually one from the two types of cockfights conducted. Agreement fights are conducted by showing the roosters 21 days in advance by both the parties and a fight date is fixed. Typically, 21 days is fixed because a hen takes 21 days to hatch its eggs.

In these 21days, preparation procedures such as medication and stamina boosters are given orally by experts, exercise and swimming is given at regular intervals. The nail or mullu is sharpened one day before the actual day of fight.A line is drawn on the ground instead of rings and if the cock comes out of the line or falls or dies, the cock has lost the game.

Traditionally, the cocks are categorised in the following categories:

  • Dega (eagle)
  • Kaaki (crow)
  • Pearl (peacock)
  • Nemali (peacock)

But now there are a wide variety of new breeds such as the ‘Reja’ (short variety), ‘Sonatol’, ‘Calcutta Asil’, ‘Madras Asil’, ‘Kalkatiya’ (known as ‘Kadhar’ synonymous to Black Asils), The Reds (known locally as ‘Yakuth’), The Yellow Variants (PeelaAsil), The Grey (‘Java’) and its variants reddish grey as ‘Dummer’. They also have a “henny” variety cock known locally as “PettaiMaadhiri” the literal meaning is “it looks like a hen”, though this variety is said to have come from Sri Lanka. The most aggressive variety is called ‘Galva’, whose lineage possesses a moustache like hair beneath the cock’s lower beak.

How They Are Trained?

These roosters are trained for illegal knockout fights with proper diet and exercises. They are raised on a nutritious diet of almonds, cashews and minced mutton, along with a dose of muscle-building hormones and antibiotics. Their dinner ironically consists of boiled eggs, dry fruit and cereals.

And with that a veterinarian or a poultry specialist is appointed to look after the roosters 24x7, to make sure that they put on the ideal weight -- around four to five kilos. But their ultimate weapon is their limbs -- to which a sharp knife is tied, so that their blows become lethal.

According to a publication report, such a ferocious rooster is sold for about Rs 4 lakhs -- but if he wins, the owner allegedly makes 'crores' of rupees.

Now, coming back to news, the CM,N Chandrababu Naidu in the meeting also asked the MPs and MLAs to gear up for the fifth edition of Janmabhoomi programmes which commenced from this week. 

The programme will be held for 10 days. Several welfare programmes and felicitation events are being planned for these 10 days.









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