Cockfighting rooster kills man in India

Cockfighting, although illegal in India, is still regularly organised at it attracts high-stakes gambling.
Cockfighting, although illegal in India, is still regularly organised at it attracts high-stakes gambling. Photo credit: Getty

A man has died after a rooster attacked his abdomen with blades during an illicit cockfight in Andhra Pradesh, India.

Pragadavaram villager Saripalli Venkateswara Rao, 55, was a spectator at an inhumane cockfighting tournament, which still regularly take place across the region despite their illegality, New Indian Express reports.

A competing rooster, armed with blades tied to its claws, attempted to escape its handler - piercing Rao's chest in the process. The 55-year-old bled to death.

The blood sport, which was banned by the Indian Supreme Court as part of the 1960 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, frequently attracts high-stakes gambling. Roosters battle to the death when set against one another.

In rural India, cockfighting is still largely viewed as a traditional part of the yearly Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti.

"The money we earn in organising cockfights lasts us an entire year. Why would we let go of it?" one organiser told New Indian Express.

According to the newspaper, local police have been cracking down on cockfighting, filing a total of 540 cases against organisers during the three-day Sankranti festival in the Krishna district as of Friday (local time). A reported 1494 people were taken into custody for participating in the illegal sport.

"This inhumane blood sport is simply unacceptable and must end," World Animal Protection Australia's head of campaigns, Ben Pearson, told 7 News.

"Roosters are not entertainers, yet this is how they are treated as part of these cruel performances."

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