Reality Check India

Next : Sevalkattu (Cock fights) ban on doubtful reasoning

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on June 7, 2014

The Jallikattu judgment was the culmination of ignorant posh activism by PETA India , followed up by  muddled often conflicting arguments from AWBI and Jairam Ramesh. Now, Hindu villagers in southern Tamilnadu and their beloved bulls are in for dark days while the state has prepared a review petition.


Image credit : Reuters (D.Siddique) Left/India Today right.

Image credit : Reuters (D.Siddique) Left/India Today right.

Today,  we see the same pattern repeated with the Madras HC effectively banning Sevalkattu (Seval = Rooster in Tamil) – an ancient cock fighting game, prevalent in southern Tamilnadu, Karur, and Salem districts.

A petition filed by one S. Kanan on April 4th plead the holding of cock fighting in the  Arulmigu Muniyandi Temple in Virattipathu.

The petitioner requested permission for the event in the local Muniyandi temple, which was denied by a Division bench of the Madras High Court.  The logic is identical to that of the Jallikattu ban. Sample this:

Right to exist at par with human beings is conferred upon animals through legislation. When the rights of animals are infringed, it is only through human intervention that such rights could be extended to them. It was such a case where judiciary was fit to intervene for “poor animals which could not plead and initiate action by themselves.”

The court said, “After all, we human beings are also one of the creatures of God along with other living creatures in the world. Though man is considered to be the supreme form of God’s Creature, whether the supreme creature has got any right to injure intentionally, torture deliberately, cause pain and mental torture make the birds to fight unnecessarily? Certainly not”.

Source; Livelaw


The basic argument is that a Speciesism standard be applied to interaction with animals. I have explained why this is approach is untenable in the Jallikattu blog. The reason this is unsustainable is worth repeating.

If animals have same rights as man, then the doctrine of necessity should also be the same as that for man. Today, one man can legally kill another man only in self defence. And that must be the same rule for animals.

In both the Jallikattu and the Cock Fighting cases, the Speciesism standard is mixed with an inconsistent reading of the  Doctrine of Necessity that includes slaughter and pre-slaughter conduct – such as transportation and preparation for slaughter. It is bizarre because an exact analogy would disallow one human from chaining another, except if the final purpose of the chaining is murder ! You have to drop species-ism for this to make sense.


There is plenty of online material for you to research on Google. I just want to quickly state some key  points here.

  • The Sevalkattu rooster is an exotic type of fowl  ; there are about 6-10 different varieties which have an immediate danger of extinction pursuant to this ban.
  • Like the Jallikattu bull, the cock is a status symbol. The breeders house them in luxury typically in a large dog kennel. They are fed dry fruits, cashews, and other high nutrition products.
  • They are trained for both strength and stamina. Swimming exercises are also given.

The actual event could be a bit hard , but I hope you are able to to zoom out and see the large picture.

  • The actual game is usually a deathmatch. The winner takes both the cocks – generally the winning cock is treated medically and recovers. The losing cock ends up as biriyani.
  • The well organized ones – restrict the fight to about 1 hour. So there is a possibility of a tie.
  • A winning cock is treasured and used for breeding and usually lives out its natural life of about 10 years.
  • The interaction between the trainers and the animals are typically Indian Hindu. Urbane recently westernized may not understand how one can be  intimate with many of the cocks being assigned names and therefore having an individual personality. You may ask, C’mon now – Is this a “necessary” conduct ? Who are you and I to decide? Is burning  wood and ghee and rice in smoky polluting Yagnas a necessary conduct ?

Granted that unlike Jallikattu , where the bulls are NOT EVEN INJURED, this event results in one of the cocks dying.  Even so, it cannot be denied that the roosters live a life of inherent dignity and die a death worthy of a warrior.

Lets turn our attention to the life of the Sevalkattu roosters cousins.

The life of a broiler chicken

Have you wondered why the meat is called “chicken” in stores and not “hens and roosters” ?

That is because the broiler chicken you eat is actually an immature baby hen/cock. They are only six to eight weeks old. Compared to a Sevalkattu rooster who is probably a 3-4 year old young adult with a good chance of living out his natural life.

  • Broilers parent stock introduced by US/UK companies to India
  • Designed to be a genetic mutant and unviable bird. Rapid growth with accumulation in thigh and breast
  • Debeaked and declawed at birth.
  • Confined in tiny cages stacked on top of one another indoors in warehouse like settings for the entirety of their short lives.No room for any natural behaviour including simple pleasure of spreading their wings.
  • Rapid growth of fat tissue without bone development – means they cant walk for more than 4-5 steps. Observe this at your local chicken shop this week.
  • In India unlike the west, slaughter occurs close to consumer.  So they are transported in the most horrendous and unhyeginc conditions. It is a common sight in India to see jam packed chicken lorries parked out in 42-deg sun with stacks of filthy cages. No food no water.
  • The last mile is usually on a bicycle hanging upside down, legs broken, and tied up to front and rear. Getting their faces rubbed against the sidewall of tyres.

I am not a Indian Veggie Nazi. By all means, lets enjoy our  Tandoori chicken, but when  you PROHIBIT age old sports and a kind of pagan interaction with animals – you’ve crossed my line.

Since we are pretending that fowls are humans.

Ask if a broiler chicken if he’d like to be a Sevalkattu rooster ?