PETA India filed a petition with the Gauhati High Court opposing the Assam government’s decision to permit bulbul bird fights. The petition presents evidence from investigations showing that bulbuls were compelled to fight over food through being drugged and starved. The petition appeals to the court to prohibit these cruel spectacles and requests an interim stay to prevent further bulbul fights from taking place during the legal proceedings. These fights violate the Constitution of India; The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960; and judgements of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, including in Animal Welfare Board of India vs A Nagaraja & Ors. In addition, red-vented bulbuls, who are used in such fights, are protected under Schedule II of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. The birds are illegally captured days before these events and incited to fight, against their natural instincts.
The birds are reportedly commonly drugged with noxious substances including marijuana and fed other intoxicating herbs, bananas, black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon to agitate them, then they are starved for at least one night before the fight. During the fight, a piece of banana is dangled in front of the hungry birds, inciting them to attack each other. Each fight lasted approximately five to 10 minutes, and handlers forced exhausted birds to continue fighting by repeatedly blowing air on them.
Such fights are illegal, inherently cruel, and cause immeasurable pain and suffering to the animals forced to participate. They also contradict the tenets of ahimsa (non-violence) and compassion, which are integral to Indian culture and tradition. Allowing these events to continue is a regressive step which threatens to undo almost a decade of progress in human and animal rights.
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