December 29, 2015 12:45:34 am
EMBOLDENED BY its efforts to successfully get banned the age-old kabootarbaazi (pigeon contest) in Agra, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has now set out to invoke similar prohibitions on fights involving other birds and animals organised as local sports.
In letters to the district magistrates of Lucknow, Aligarh and Faizabad, the body under the Ministry of Environment and Forests has called for statewide ban on fights involving cocks (murgabaazi) and Indian Quails (baterbaazi), terming them as “cruelty” upon the creatures.
AWBI’s co-opted member Kamna Pandey said inputs from other districts is also being collected after which the department would approach the state government to enforce the ban.
In both the contests that the AWBI has cited as examples of “cruelty”, small spears are tied to the birds’ feet with training imparted to them to kill their opponents. A common affair during the Nawabi era, such contests are still prevalent in some parts of Uttar Pradesh.
“We have specific inputs that such contests are held in Aligarh, Lucknow and Faizabad, and hence we wrote to them (the DMs) to ban these fights. We have inputs on Barabanki, too, but we will approach them only after some confirmation. We are also planning to contact the Chief Secretary (Alok Ranjan) to issue a statewide order banning such contests,” Pandey said.
The AWBI’s renewed efforts come after it managed to successfully get banned the pigeon contest in Kuberpur near Yamuna Expressway in Agra on December 26, barely a day after the six-day-long event had kicked off after a hiatus of nearly four years. The cancellation had left organisers and spectators fuming, more so because the required permission to hold the contest had been obtained.
The AWBI followed it up with emails to the three DMs on December 27, citing its previously mentioned claim that such contests violate the Performing Animals Act which makes it compulsory to obtain prior permission and registration from the AWBI.
“The contests like cock and quail fights are illegal as animal fights are banned in India as per Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Moreover, Indian Quail is also protected under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. We also have information that often the owner of the losing bird kills the injured bird as it is a matter of shame,” read part of the contents of the email to the DMs.
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