Rooster Kills Owner on Way to Cockfight
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The bird slashed the 50-year-old's throat with blades attached to its claw while trying to escape.

An Indian man died after being attacked by his own rooster on the way to a cockfight last week.

Saripalli Chanavenkateshwaram Rao, 50, was slashed in the neck from blades attached to the bird's claw as it tried to escape while heading to a competition ring in Pragadavaram, a village in southern India's state of Andhra Pradesh.

The father of three was taken to a local hospital where he suffered a stroke and died, according to station house officer Kranti Kumar in a statement to CNN.

While cockfighting has been outlawed in India for 60 years, the inhumane sport continues to be an issue, according to Gauri Maulekhi, a trustee for India's People for Animals.

"The offenses have been made very clear and explained to the district and state authorities, but they choose to turn a blind eye towards it. It is not just for entertainment that these animals are made to fight, but it is (also) due to the heavy betting and gambling that goes on in the garb of these events," she told the publication.

Maulekhi also dismissed the idea that the violent pastime could be considered a cultural tradition.

"I don't think culture has anything to do with it -- it is purely a money game and hysteria takes over, reason and logic just take a back seat such that neither the animal's welfare nor the people's welfare is enough to stop it."

Kumar reported the cockfight Rao was to attend went ahead on schedule without any police interference.

Illegal cockfighting is a problem for other countries as well. A shooting broke out at a ring in Chino, California in December of 2019. A year before saw the largest cockfighting bust in U.S. history, as nearly 8,000 birds were found on one property in Los Angeles County.

And last month, Puerto Rico went against federal law and introduced a bill to keep the 400-year-old tradition alive, arguing the sport generates an estimated $18 million a year and employs around 27,000 people, according to ABC News.

Department of Sports and Recreation Secretary Adriana Sánchez believes the activity is natural and only banned for economic reasons, not animal welfare reasons.

"Their instinct is to fight," she told the outlet. "The people who dedicate themselves care for them and train them."

But activists have challenged the notion of cockfighting in Puerto Rico as anything but animal cruelty.

"They are widely exaggerating the economic value," said Animal Wellness Action founder Wayne Pacelle. "Watching animals slash each other just for human entertainment and gambling is not judged as a legitimate enterprise by mainstream people."

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