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January 14, 2015

Assam Government Directs Police to Ensure No Animal Fights take Place during Bihu

Humane Society International welcomes directive; hopeful it will prevent cruel buffalo and bulbul fighting

Humane Society International/India

  • Spectators watch as red-vented bulbuls fight during the Bhogali Bihu celebration in Hajo, about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Guwahati on Jan. 14, 2014. Photo by Biju BORO

The State Government of Assam has directed the Deputy Commissioners of all districts and the Commissioner of Guwahati to ensure that no animal fights, especially buffalo fights and bulbul fights, take place during the festival of Bihu scheduled to be held between 14th and 16th January. Humane Society International/India welcomed the directive.

In a letter addressed to the Deputy Commissioners of all districts and the Commissioner of Guwahati, the Secretary of Home and Political Department of Assam, Shri L.S. Changsan, referring to the order of the Supreme Court of India in the Animal Welfare Board of India vs A. Nagaraja case, directed them to deploy sufficient police personnel where animal fights are scheduled to take place and seize all animals found, in addition to prosecuting owners of animals and those persons who are responsible for organizing such events.

N.G. Jayasimha, managing director of HSI/India said: “We are grateful to the Government of Assam for the directions they have issued. We hope that the deputy commissioners will ensure that this is implemented in letter and spirit and that no animal is made to suffer for the sake of our entertainment”.

The Supreme Court of India, in May 2014 had passed an order prohibiting all animal races and fights, thereby directing the Animal Welfare Board of India and the government to prevent infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering to animals. The order also ensures that animal caretakers shall not incite any animal to fight against a human being or another animal.

Last week, HSI/India, along with Animal Welfare Board of India had written to Shri Tarun Gogoi, Chief Minister of Assam, urging him to take action to stop the buffalo and bulbul fights.

HSI/India is working to ensure that people who conduct this illegal and cruel practice of animal fighting are prosecuted everywhere in India. They have recently been successful in stopping illegal cockfights in many parts of India, including Odisha and Maharashtra.

Media Contact: Navamita Mukherjee; nmukherjee@hsi.org, +919985472760

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