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January 9, 2015

Tarun Gogoi Urged to Stop Illegal Buffalo Fights and Bulbul Fights Scheduled during Bihu

Humane Society International/India

  • People watch a buffalo fight in progress at Ahatguri, some 80 kms away from Guwahati, the capital city of India’s northeastern state of Assam on 15 January 2014. The buffalo fight is organised on the occasion of the harvest festival 'Bhogali Bihu' in Assam. PHOTO/ Biju BORO

In a letter addressed to the Chief Minister of Assam, Shri Tarun Gogoi, Humane Society International/India urged the Government of Assam to bring a stop to the illegal practices of buffalo fighting and bulbul fighting. The event is scheduled to take place during the festival of Bihu, held between Jan. 14 and 16, 2015 in various districts of Assam, mainly Sivsagar, Nagaon Morigaon and Kamrup.

Hundreds of buffaloes are forced to participate in fights for a reward of Rs 10,000 or more. Ahatguri, a village in the Morigaon district of Assam, is known to be a popular place where buffalo fights have reportedly been taking place in large tournaments since 1972 as means of entertainment where the buffaloes bleed profusely and are severely injured.

Bulbuls or “songbirds” as they are known, protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, are reportedly captured from the wild by villagers who then train them by intoxicating their food with marijuana and starve the bird a night before the fight.

N.G. Jayasimha, managing director of HSI/India and member of the Animal Welfare Board of India, said: “The illegal practice of animal fighting, be it with buffaloes or bulbuls, involves immense cruelty that ultimately results in distress, injury and painful death of most of these animals. It is a blatant violation of Section 11(1) (m)(ii) and (n) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960. These are nothing but gambling events at the expense of the lives of these animals and we urge the State Government to take an urgent action to prevent and punish the organizers to set an example for any such future events”.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India had already 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.

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, 91-9985472760

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