If bullfighting is cruel, stop fights between humans in sports: Goa Cong MP

by IANS |

Panaji, Jan 12 (IANS) Defending the banned sport of bullfighting, locally referred to as 'dhirio', South Goa Congress MP and former Chief Minister Francisco Sardinha on Wednesday said that if bullfights are banned because of cruelty to animals, then sporting fights between human beings should be stopped too, by the same logic.

Sardinha, who was addressing a press conference in South Goa's Margao town, also said that if the sport of bullfighting was cruel to beasts, then oxen should not be put to plough hitched to a cart by the same logic.

"If humans can fight, why cannot animals be made to fight to establish the champion among the animals," Sardinha said.

"You think it is cruelty? Then you stop these (human) fights also, if you think it is a cruelty. You can allow cruelty to human beings and you want to stop cruelty to animals? Stop harnessing animals to ploughs and carts. It is also cruelty. It (bullfighting) is not cruelty at all. The owners take care of these animals more than human beings," he said.

Although a banned sport, traditional bullfights or dhirios are an "open secret" in Goa, with several such fights organised in the coastal open areas and paddy fields.

Unlike Tamil Nadu's 'jallikattu', which involves men chasing bulls, the sport of dhirio is about two bulls fighting in an arena, until one emerges victorious. Bulls often receive bloody injuries or cramps during the ordeal which sometimes lasts up to half an hour.

The issue of legalising dhirios, which are popular in Goa, especially along the coastal belt, often crops up ahead of the state Assembly polls.

Sardinha, as a Congress MP in 2009 had also moved a private member's Bill in the Lok Sabha demanding legalisation of bullfighting, but was forced to withdraw it by the treasury benches.

Sardinha has now said that the members elected to the state Assembly in the upcoming polls, should pass a unanimous resolution seeking legalisation of bullfighting, following which the Lok Sabha MP said he would once again raise the issue in Parliament.

"If it comes from the Assembly, you can say all Goans want it. That is the reason I want it to be approved by the Assembly and as an ambassador, I have two years four months (to move it in Parliament)," Sardinha said.

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