Although banned, 5-6 buffalo-fights are allowed by the Himachal Pradesh government at the annual Sair Fair held during September at Mashobra and Arki, on the outskirts of Shimla. Rs 35-40,000 is spent on the upkeep and training of each buffalo which is recovered during the fights. Ironically the buffaloes are reluctant to fight. Their front legs are therefore tied with thick ropes and pulled by men from the back, while goading them to fight by twisting their tails. It’s cruel and painful. BWC has written to the Chief Minister more than once but these illegal fights continue to be held every year. Let’s hope that such illegal fights will end soon.
Jharkhand is known for its traditional buffalo-fights that are some times also conducted by tribal organisations at Patamda and Palashbani in December. After agricultural activities are over, a buffalo fight is annually organised in some of the state villages like Shukla. The villagers claim it is a traditional entertainment for them in which the buffalo’s strength and fitness is showcased reflecting on how well the owner has cared for the animal – up to 10 youth work on preparing the animal for the fight by feeding and exercising it.
Dhirio Becomes History
In Goa there is a ban on bull-fights called Dhirio in which specially reared and trained bulls are made to fight and gore each other to death. The ban materialised as a result of a 1996 High Court judgement upheld by the Supreme Court which was obtained by the organisation, People for Animals. BWC had created much awareness and obtained support especially from foreign organisations working for animals.
When a MP moved an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 to make bull-fights legal, BWC had supported upholding the ban. Eventually, in December 2009, the MP was asked by no less than the Union Minister of Environment & Forests to withdraw his bill from the Lok Sabha.
With the Government’s July 2011 Notification prohibiting bulls from being performing animals, Dhirio became history and illegal bull-fights easier to stop.
Bully-Kuttaa vs. Bully-Kuttaa
In 2012, illegal dog-fights involving betting was an increasing trend in Haryana and was spreading to Punjab. Dogs that ferociously fight each other (some times to death) are called Bully Kutaa and are similar to the vicious pit bulls that were bred specially to fight and have been banned in many parts of the world due to their killer instincts and actions. The mastiffs are common in Pakistan (like the Kohatie Gul Terr) from where they are smuggled into India via border districts of Haryana and Punjab, particularly Fatehabad and Hisar districts of Haryana. Some might also be bred and sold in India. (BWC’s investigations into greyhounds had led to the discovery of pit bulls in Punjab too at Moga, Surewala and Kotkapura.) These “dangerous” dogs are kept by people in farmhouses. Suffering is an integral part of the dog fighting event – dogs suffer both physically and emotionally, whereas humans suffer due to the bets they place and lose. The Police need to quickly crack down on all such dog-fights at Gurgaon, Fatehabad and other parts of the state, before they get uncontrollable.
Unth Laddi for a Lady Camel
Called unth laddi, male camels are made to fight each other at the Pushkar Fair, Rajasthan. Not much goading is required to make them fight because a female camel in heat is led in front of them and tethered nearby to encourage the males to fight for her. It is considered as much a sport as the camel races.
Our Fight to Finish…
As stated above, fights between two of a species are widespread even though Section 11(1)(n) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act forbids it. Umpteen complaints citing cruelty and illegality have over the years been sent to the Government of India by Beauty Without Cruelty. We therefore hope that after the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court reaffirmed in August 2014, and the more recent Hyderabad High Court and Bombay High Court judgements of 2016, that cock-fights were illegal, no more animal and bird fights will take place any where in India. The earlier Supreme Court order (May 2014) further strengthened the hands of the government administration and police force.
Therefore, all that is required is withdrawal of political patronage and a firm political will to stop the fights.