: The Madras High Court Bench here has directed the Animal Husbandry Department Secretary, Karur District Collector and Superintendent of Police to permit ‘cock fight' at Santhapadi and Modakoor Melbegam villages in view of the upcoming Pongal festival under the supervision of police personnel and two veterinarians.

A Division Bench comprising Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice R. Subbiah passed the order while disposing of a public interest litigation petition filed by a villager seeking a direction to ban the fight.

The petitioner alleged that the organisers intoxicate the cocks and tie small knives, dipped in poisonous substances, on their legs before letting them fight with each other.

He said that akin to ‘jallikattu' (bull fight), cock fights were also being conducted in the villages since time immemorial.

Owners of the cocks as well as members of the audience bet thousands of rupees during the cock fights which were generally conducted during temple festivals. Making the birds participate in such fights clearly amounted to cruelty to animals, he claimed. The petitioner also said that he had made two representations on December 27 and January 6 to the Animal Husbandry Department Secretary who was also the chairman of a committee constituted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 to ban such fights. However, there was no response and hence, the present public interest litigation petition.

Refuting the allegations levelled by the petitioner, counsel for the two village panchayat presidents said that the cocks were made to drink glucose water and not alcohol before letting them fight with each other. He also denied allegations that any kind of injections were administered to the birds.

“The glucose water is given only to boost the energy and strength of the cocks to fight,” he said.

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