The Supreme Court may have endorsed a ban on cock-fighting in 2014 on the grounds of putting an end to cruelty to animals. But as numerous reports show, this has done nothing to stem the popularity of the event in Tamil Nadu and other south Indian states.
The latest episode in this issue comes in the form of a video of a cockfighting event taking place in Kambam in Theni district.
The video shows a fight between two roosters, supervised by two men organising the event, while about 50 or 60 people are gathered in a circle around them watching the action.
According to media reports, the event in Kambam involved over 50 roosters, brought in by participants from a number of villages in the district. As the Pongal festival approaches, more such events are anticipated, as this is the season for cockfighting events in the state.
These events are popular as they also form the basis for high-stakes gambling, with stakes reportedly ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. Some events also receive patronage from politicians and police, the report adds, and in such cases, stakes can even rise to crores.
According to Vinod, a member of the Animal Welfare Board of India, cockfighting and any other sports that pit animals against each other for entertainment, have been prohibited by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, which was endorsed by the Supreme Court in 2014. But the sport continues to thrive because of a lack of will to implement the law. â€œIn the Jallikattu case, the order by the SC says that no two animals should fight against each other. But because authorities do not enforce these provisions, animal rights organisations have to repeatedly take these cases to court."