Two men were killed by roosters who had knives tied to them in separate cockfighting incidents that took place in India this week, according to local reports.
Both men — an unlucky spectator and the owner of one of the fighting cocks — bled to death after they were slashed by the roosters, who had sharp knives strapped to their legs by their handlers, New India Express reported.
Both incidents occurred Sunday in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh during celebrations for the Hindu Makar Sankrati festival, according to the outlet.
Cock Slashed One of the Men After It was Startled by the Crowd
In the first incident, Gande Suryapraksha Rao, 43, had tied the blades to his fighting rooster prior to a fight with another bird — and was fatally slashed when the cock got spooked by the crowd, flew into the air and landed on him.
Rao's leg was slashed so severely that he bled out and was pronounced dead despite being rushed to a local hospital, the outlet said.
In the second freak accident, a cockfighting spectator in the East Godavari district, identified by the Express as K. Padmaraju, was slashed across the hand and also bled out.
Cockfighting in India
Cockfighting was made illegal in India in 1960 but fights are still relatively common in rural areas of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh with many falling around the festival of Sankranti. It also continues to remain popular in underground gambling dens.
Bids on the roosters range from 10,000 rupees ($120) to 500,000 (near $6160), with prices to buy the fighting birds going from 8,000 ($100) rupees to 20,000 rupees ($250) per each cock.
This is not the first cockfighting-related death to occur in the country. In February 2021, a cockerel that was armed with a knife impaled its owner in the groin with the weapon. The man died on the way to the hospital due to blood loss.
In 2020, a man in Andhra Pradesh died after he was hit in the neck by a blade attached to his bird. According to CNN, the owner was taking his animal to a cockfight when the incident occurred.