Andhra Pradesh Breeders Dope Fighting Roosters with Steroids for Annual Cockfights

With birds weakened by disease, enthusiasts turn to Viagra and hormones ahead of banned competitions

With the annual cockfighting competitions in Andhra Pradesh just days away, organizers are taking extreme measures to ensure their prized roosters are ready for the brutal fights.

A viral disease has rapidly spread through the region’s poultry, leaving many birds sick and weak. Determined to have their champion roosters compete, some breeders have turned to giving them doses of Viagra and other steroid-containing drugs to artificially boost their strength and stamina.

Cockfighting has long been an integral part of the Makar Sankranti festival celebrations in rural parts of Andhra Pradesh. Though banned by the Supreme Court in 2018, enthusiasts still illegally hold major competitions with betting totaling crores of rupees.

This year’s fights are slated for January 14th-16th with thousands of arenas already prepared across the state. Participants bet heavily on the birds they think will be victorious in the fight-to-the-death matches.

Veterinarians have warned the hormone-boosting drugs could cripple the roosters long-term and potentially cause mutations. There are also serious health risks for humans consuming chickens doped with such substances.

While breeders are hopeful the treatments will energize their birds ahead of the high-stakes battles, experts say it remains unclear whether these untested methods will actually make the roosters stronger competitors.

With the clock ticking down to the controversial events, organizers seem willing to try anything to field their top birds, resorting to risky shortcuts to compensate for the viral disease hampering their preparation. The competitions may go on as planned, but at what cost to the animals and people involved?

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