A man has died in India after he was stabbed to death with a knife fitted around the foot of a rooster belonging to him.
The incident occurred during a practice session for an illegal cockfight.
The deceased was identified as Thangulla Satish, 45. Satis died of excessive loss of blood after the rooster repeatedly stabbed him in the groin with a three-inch knife that had been tied around the animal’s leg; the Insider reports quoting the Associated Press.
The man was among 16 people organizing the cockfight in the village of Lothunur in the Indian state of Telegana. Reports say authorities in India are currently searching for the other 15 organizers, who could be charged with manslaughter. If convicted, they each face up to two years in prison as cockfighting is banned in India.
This is not the first time a man or bird handler has been killed by a fighting cock.
In 2020, a 55-year-old Indian man from Andhra Pradesh died after a gamecock slashed him in the neck and abdomen. The incident happened during a match held to mark the Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti. Also, in 2018, a 34-year-old man from Rajavaram, India, bled to death after a rooster gaff pierced his thigh and testicles.
Insider reports that animal rights activists say the sport is especially cruel; because it takes advantage of the birds’ natural survival mechanisms in forcing them to fight. To make matches gorier, some cockfighting trainers fit their birds with what’s known as a “gaff”. A gaff is a long, dagger-like knife attached to the animal’s foot. Further, bIirds often will have many of their feathers plucked out before matches to make it more difficult for their opponents to attack.
In addition, they are sometimes drugged with methamphetamines to enhance their aggressiveness. Even birds that win their matches often suffer injuries so severe that they, too, are killed.
Despite India’s Supreme Court outlawing the practice in the 1960s, cockfighting continues to be popular in many of the country’s southern states.
In the US, cockfighting is considered a felony in 42 states, though federal authorities continue to regularly break up fighting rings around the country. In August 2020, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department busted a ring with more than 2,000 birds, USA Today reported. Authorities in New York — in a 2014 sting they dubbed “Operation Angry Birds” — arrested more than 70 people. They also confiscated more than 3,000 birds, the New York Post reported.