Cock-Fights: A Social Evil

In Orissa, an annual cock-fight festival becomes an excuse for gambling and alcoholism.

When we spoke to her about this video, Sarita was very vocal in her objections against the phenomenon of cock fighting that is part of the tribal culture of her village. “There are many things wrong with this,” she says, “but the thing I hate the most is that whatever money these men win from the fights, they spend on alcohol. They don’t buy food for their families. They just drink it all.”

The festival lasts about six weeks and there are 30-40 cock fights in a day. Sarita says that after watching a few, her stomach turned because it was so gruesome. “There was blood, the cocks get badly hurt. I am against animal cruelty. I even stopped eating rooster meat after watching this.”

What makes it even more hateful, Sarita explains, is that it is a men’s event. The roosters, which had until then been primarily reared and looked after by the women, are taken to participate in the festival, even if this is against the women’s wishes. A rooster, which would fetch at least Rs.250 in the local market, is hence gambled away sometimes at the price of Rs.10.

The roosters are trained beforehand by instigating them with sticks and stones, and hitting them on the beak with sharp objects to make them aggressive and react violently. Before each match, a sharp little knife is tied to one claw and it has poison on it, which seeps into the bird’s body and further antagonises them. Sarita says that these birds are sometimes killed and eaten or sold later and the people aren’t aware that they could be consuming poisoned meat. In short, there is nothing positive about this event and Sarita hopes it will officially be banned and this ban enforced.

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