Cockfighting- This Sankranti Sport Has Been Banned By High Court!

  • Abhishek Raje
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With the arrival of the harvest festival, Sankranti, in certain districts in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, also comes the time for some bloody cockfight arenas. This is in accordance to a tradition of cockfighting that is organised during the three-day harvest festival every year in these states.  However, last week, the Hyderabad Court upheld the ban on cockfighting and directed the governments of both states to ensure no cockfights take place during the Sankranti festival.

Birds fitted with razor-sharp blades on their legs are forced to fight each other until one of the two opponents dies while spectators place bets over the matches in cash or assets. Over hundreds of crores of rupees and assets are bet over cockfights that enjoy political patronage in the two South-Indian states; that also rank among the top three states that have the highest population of men and women being non-vegetarian (as per central government’s Sample Registration System Baseline Survey 2014).

The tradition of cockfighting that originated as a harvest festival however is becoming redundant in the age of digitisation and increasing animal rights awareness. Today, one can’t help but ask why we indulge in watching two birds fight till death under the guise of tradition but don’t indulge in dog fights or cat fights, which is largely considered barbaric? What makes watching birds kill each other as entertainment? The question gains more relevance today as the country is making postive strides and progressing towards a black-money free economy. The demonetisation bomb dropped by the Prime Minister of India is bound to hit the scale of betting due to shortage of cash, come January. The crackdown on black money and the Hyderabad High Court’s decision upholding the ban on cockfighting might prove to be a double blow to the illegal practice of betting and gambling during cockfights in January 2017. 

Image Credits: Shutterstock


Abhishek Raje

Abishek is an Honorary Animal Welfare Officer,Animal Welfare Board of India,The vegan author works for full-time with animal rights with a background as a journalist with Deccan Chronicle and the Times of India.He has conducted AWBI-authorised inspections too.

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