No more cockfights in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, says high court
The Hyderabad high court on Monday upheld the ban on cockfighting, directing the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments to ensure that no cockfights take place during the Sankranti (Pongal) festival in January.
The court extended the ban on cockfights throughout the year and not just during the Sankranti festivities, the period during which a large number of people take part in the ‘sport’ in the name of tradition.
The HC ruling comes against the backdrop of a growing clamour in Tamil Nadu against the ban on the bull-taming sport of Jallikattu.
Cockfighting is a blood sport, during which razor-sharp blades are tied to the claws of two rosters. They are then made to fight each other to death while people place bets on them. The cockfighting betting ring in Andhra Pradesh often runs into crores.
The common HC for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana passed the orders on the petitions filed by the Animal Welfare Board of India, Humane Society International (HSI), India, and People for Animals.
The petitioners brought to the notice of the court that cockfighting was being conducted every year on Sankranti in violation of the ban imposed by courts in the past.
“Cockfighting is not only cruel to animals but also encourages gambling and child labour. A practice that glorifies so many illegal activities should have no place in a civilized society,” HSI India’s managing director NG Jayasimha said.
Gauri Maulekhi, government affairs liaison for HSI India, said people had largely ignored the social and economic repercussions of cockfighting. “From betting on lives of animals to child labour and sale of illicit liquor, the practise of cockfighting leaves every opportunity open to exploit humans and animals alike. We expect the state to strictly follow the orders and ensure that people responsible for organizing cockfighting are booked under the law,” she said.