Animal Rights FTW India

Animals In Sports: Rights v/s Rituals


Sports which involve animal, birds and insects have always given rise to a furious debate- are cultural traditions more important than animal rights? It is this very debate which came to the limelight during the Jallikattu protests in India. While we all know about this bull-taming festival, little do we know about other such sports which are being conducted in the remote areas of the country. These sports then becomes a source of entertainment and earning money. Sadly, at the cost of endless pain and suffering for the animals.

Here’s a list of sports which you might be not aware of: 

In India, cockfights are common in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It is more like a gambling activity which is popular during the festival of Sankranti. Simply put, cock or rooster fight is a bloody fight between 2 cocks which takes place in a cockpit. In some cases, sharp objects like knives are attached to the birds as well. While not all the birds die, but they are left in a pathetic condition suffering physically and mentally. Of course, a sport like this completely violates the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Despite the sport being banned by the Supreme Court, it is still illegally conducted in the coastal state of Andhra Pradesh.  

Kambala is an annual buffalo race which is organized by the farming community to please the God for a good harvest. The 300-year-old traditional sport in which male buffalo are forced to run on muddy paddy fields, controlled by competing farmers or landlords.  In a bid to win, the bulls are whipped to make them run faster and ropes are tied in their nostrils to control the animal. Result of which, they are seriously injured at the end of the race. Animal activists and organisations like PETA have cited evidence to show how cruel this sport is and thus illegal. Although the sport was ordered to be stopped in 2016, it was re-legalized in 2017.

While we all know about the inhuman Yulin festival in China, little do we know about the crimes against dogs in India. The cruel and bloody dogfights take place in the outskirts of states like Haryana, Punjab and Delhi. Obviously, they are conducted secretly as nor the sport, neither betting legal in India. To make the dog aggressive, they are drugged, kept starving and locked up in a cage. The most aggressive dog is likely to win the game. And the prize which is somewhere between Rs. 1-10 lakhs is claimed by the selfish owner. The breed, which is mostly Pitbull, are trained for this fight. To make them stronger they are made to pull SUV tyres. The dogs in these fights land up seriously injured or even die. Despite, fights between animals and causing injury to the animal is illegal under the animals law and the Indian Penal Code, the popularity of the sport has not decreased.

These fights are conducted at the temples in Assam and are considered as an intrinsic part of the temple traditions. They are also an important aspect of the Magh Bihu festival. The temple priests were all up in arms when the court prohibited this sport. The temple management was of the opinion that the birds were taken care of and were released after the game. But what they do not realize is that they are left with severe injuries and their crest is shaved off so that they do not enter the competition again provoked before the fight by drugging and starving them. Once let loose with the other bird, hunger forces them to attack each other.   


Bullfighting in India has been banned since 1960. However, the government in Goa has been striving hard to uplift the ban and make it legal. The sport was banned after a spectator was killed by an angry bull. Bullfighting not only is harmful for the bulls but compromises public safety as well, especially as they are held in the open without any barricades. Compared to other animals, bulls are peaceful animals. A lot goes on behind the scenes to make them aggressive. They are made to run with heavyweights around their neck and their horns are filed sharp enough so that they are able to deeply wound the component.  

What’s the point of entertainment which comes at the cost of endless suffering and torture of animals? On paper, all these spots are banned- partially and fully- but yet they are being organized in the remote areas. Despite having comprehensive animal laws, lack of implementation and amendments makes enough room for the offenders to get away with abuse against animals.

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