Following a complaint by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India that despite a ban on cockfighting in the country, hundreds of arenas have been built for cockfighting in Andhra Pradesh, the central government statutory body Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has fired off a letter to the state’s director general of police, demanding more vigilance and action against offenders and to stop such illegal events.
In its letter addressed to Gautam Sawang, DGP, Andhra Pradesh, the AWBI also warned that if directions and declarations of the Supreme Court banning animal fights, including cockfights, are not effectively complied with, disciplinary action must be taken against the erring officials so that the objectives and purposes of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, can be achieved.
The AWBI further cautioned that granting permission or conducting such events would tantamount to contempt of court.
“Roosters used in cockfights are fitted with razor-sharp spurs and knives that tear through flesh and bone, causing agonising and fatal injuries to them as well as sometimes to handlers and spectators,” says PETA Chief Advocacy Officer Khushboo Gupta.
“PETA India is calling for everyone responsible for these animals’ misery to be held accountable for their crimes for a safer society. Research shows that people who are cruel to animals often move on to become human victims.”
According to PETA India, thousands of arenas are being readied for illegal cockfights in East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, and parts of Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh, in violation of orders of the Supreme Court and the High Court at Hyderabad. Inciting and organising animal fights are punishable offences under Sections 11(1) (m) (ii) and (n) of the PCA Act, 1960.
During cockfights, two birds are incited to fight. Roosters raised for fighting are often kept in cramped cages and tormented in practice fights. Their eyes may be gouged out, their wings and legs broken, their lungs punctured, or their spinal cord severed. One or both of them may die from the event, and both are often critically injured. Last year, a cockerel who had been fitted with a knife for an illegal cockfight accidentally killed his handler in Telangana.
Other vices like gambling and liquor consumption are also common at such events, the animals rights organisation stated.