Rooster fights eclipse jallikattu !

Harish Murali,TNN | Jan 6, 2014, 02.56 AM IST

TRICHY: For these roosters, Darwin holds a lesson-survival of the fittest.

At a time when the traditional bull-taming sport of jallikattu is staring at an existential crisis due to a slew of restrictions, several villagers have turned to training roosters and are holding duels, though in a hush-hush manner.

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As permission from courts is mandatory for holding rooster fights, enthusiastic villagers are cautious in responding to demands to hold them.

In several villages across Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Madurai and Karur,rooster fights are big draws. As for jallikattu, the world’s oldest spectator sport, it is set to begin with Pongal, the harvest festival. of Pongal.

Venkatesh R, a big name on Eda Theru near Palakkarai, owns 15 roosters, each one specially bred for duels. “The popularity of the sport in my childhood attracted me to rooster fights,”said Venkatesh, 35. He has been in this business for the past decade and is a roaring envy to his rivals. Not a surprise when rooster cages at his house at Kunjakulai, 10 km from Trichy city, are guarded by dogs and bulls. He was recently robbed by a rival gang, that stole 15 of his roosters were stolen.

Ever in anticipation of a duel, Venkatesh keeps his flock ready, and raring to go at the drop of a hat. The first match of the year will begin in Thanjavur soon. A trainer from Palpannai brings sparring partners for his roosters. The legs of trainee roosters and their partners are tied with a cloth, so that they don’t hurt themselves. Training methods aims to strengthen their legs and boost stamina, the critical mass to completely knock out an opponent. Roosters are also given breathing exercises in water.

A well-trained adult rooster fetches anywhere between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000. Roosters are initiated into training just a few months after their birth.they are hatched.

Venkatesh’s five-member team will be visiting Thanjavur soon, where the opening duel begins on January 19. There are roughly will be at least 30-40 rooster fights every year, They are conducted by associations or by rooster owners themselves.the team members said.

The mere stature of skillful these skilled roosters and their proud owners in the circuit draws ardent fans to duel venues. “Unfortunately, spectators do not understand the value of these birds. Hence, they are killed for meatThe birds are raised on eggs and meat and are grown in the toughest conditions. They weigh at least five to six kg,” Venkatesh said.

In a typical rooster cock fight, people place bets and the duel usually gets ugly. That’s why rooster fights have earned unbridled criticism from animal lovers, who are seeking a total ban on this much-loved sport.

This is a news article reproduced from ‘The Times of India’, (Trichy – Online).

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