Let's Unite to Speak up Against the Goan Sport Bill for "Dhirio"

Let's Unite to Speak up Against the Goan Sport Bill for "Dhirio"

9 July 2022
Petition to
Venzy Viegas
 (MLA, Benaulim, Goa
) and
This petition made change with 5,260 supporters!

Why this petition matters

Started by Ishwari Salgaonkar

Petition to block the “PRIVATE MEMBER BILL” passed by Capt. Venzy Viegas, MLA of Benaulim in the hopes to Legalise and preserve the supposed Goan tradition of “Dhirio” as a legal sport.

DHIRIO is a fight where two male buffaloes or two ox bulls are brought on a field to lock horns and fight each other and involves huge betting of money. The animals are forced to fight with each other which is illegal as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960 (PCA). Taking cognizance of the brutality against animals and spectator deaths the practice of Dhirio was banned by the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court in 1996 by declaring it to be “inherently cruel”. [PFA VS THE STATE OF GOA 20th DECEMBER 1996 (4) BomCR 271]

This decision was upheld by the Supreme Court and is a settled law. 

Locking horns is a natural behavior of bulls which has been misinterpreted by humans as an urge to fight which is not true at all. Fighting with other bulls is not a natural behavior for a bull. A bull will fight another male for a specific reason – to establish hierarchy or to mark territory and secure mating rights. They do not fight for sport nor do they engage to kill. The weaker animal simply concedes defeat and leaves the area. But in Dhirio, the animals are compelled to fight a violent battle for reasons unknown to the animal. This forms the core of what is wrong with Dhirio.

The bulls are forced to fight with each other by provoking them, by applying irritants in their eyes and pulling and pushing their tails to get them agitated and frightened. Fear is induced by using harsh training methods, where the bull is made to exercise for 5-7 hours daily through long speed walks on the beach and tarred village roads, while two humans control its every movement with a rope passed through the septum of its nose compelling the animal to pace its movements as desired or suffer intense pain. The process of training and fighting is extremely cruel for the animal and involves a lot of bloodshed often leading to one bull being fatally injured or killed. Dhirio bulls are administered steroids to help grow their muscles and are also given highly dangerous drugs to impair their judgment for self-preservation and to make them fight longer. The nature of the fight not only causes injuries but at times the animals can go insane and can inflict injuries to the spectators of such fights.

Bull fights that lead to killing or maiming of animals is a criminal offence both under the PCA, 1960 and the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

"Dhirio has no historic traditional roots in the Goan Society." The cultural history of Goa is full of compassion, as we call it 'Mog' in Konkani that draws the entire country and the whole world to Goa and not a cruel animal sport, that can barely raise our image in a good light anywhere. Even if Dhirios were organized once in a year by rural folk during the colonial period as a local form of entertainment, the sport today stands radically transformed by gambling. Despite of its illegality, it has become extremely popular because of betting and commercialization. Large amounts of money is traded in every Dhirio event leading to their recurrence and prevalence across the State. The increasing betting averages have had an unprecedented upward shift in both the frequencies and the brutal nature of these fights.

A cursory survey of annual data over the past 26 years confirms that on all fronts of  development, revenue and tourism since December,1996 – when Dhirios were banned – neither Goa’s tourism nor its entertainment calendar has been affected in any way by the absence of Dhirios. In fact, the Goan economy gains nothing from Dhirio, as no tourists come to Goa to watch bull fights. So pinning the future of tourism in Goa on a violent and bloody sport is illogical and inherently cruel. 

Many governments in the past have tried to present bills to Legalise Dhirio, which is Plain and simply wrong. As citizens of the country it is our duty to show compassion towards all the living creatures. We must not let such cruelty take place in our State and elsewhere. 


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