Cockfights Must Also End After Supreme Court’s Landmark Ruling, Says PETA

For Immediate Release:
9 May 2014

Sachin Bangera +91 9820122561; [email protected]

PETA and Animal Welfare Board of India Fought and Won Long Battle to End Animal Racing, Fighting Abuses Nationwide

Delhi – The official order of the Honourable Supreme Court of India, which passed a landmark judgment in favour of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and government advisory body the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) earlier this week stating that bulls must not be used in any type of performance, including races, bullfights and jallikattu, is now public and also makes clear that cockfighting or any other staged fights between animals or between humans and animals for entertainment must end. PETA was represented in court by leading counsel Raj Panjwani.

“Everyone knows that cockfighting causes injury, fear, suffering and distress for birds as well as a very painful death”, says Dr Manilal Valliyate, PETA India’s director of veterinary affairs. “The Supreme Court has made it clear that criminal cruelty to animals must never be tolerated and that the government is expected to act to stop cockfighting and all other staged fights with or between animals for depraved human entertainment. We agree with the court’s ruling that such cruelty has no place in a civilised society.”

Cockfighting takes place in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab and elsewhere, even though it is illegal under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, which states that it is illegal if anyone “treats any animal so as to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering … or being the owner permits, any animal to be so treated” or if anyone “solely with a view to providing entertainment … organises, keeps[,] uses or acts in the management [of] any place for animal fighting”.

The Supreme Court order directs the AWBI and state governments to “take steps to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on the animals” and directs the AWBI to ensure that “the person-in-charge or care of the animal shall not incite any animal to fight against a human being or another animal”. It also says that the governments and the AWBI must protect the “five freedoms” of animals: freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; freedom from fear and distress and freedom to express normal behaviour.

During cockfights, two birds are incited to fight. One of them may die during the event, and both are often critically injured. The birds may also have metal spurs or knives tied to their legs in order to injure the other bird. For more information, please visit