The bullfight is trying to catch back its roots in Goa with the high level of persuasion from its stakeholders which is haunting the Goa government. Recently our Chief Minister also had sung in the similar tune to support the bullfighters from his constituency, and his statement became controversial when he said “government is considering seriously calling for the legalization of the traditional bullfights, Dhirios, keeping in the mind rules and regulations under the law.”
According to the sources, Dhirios have huge ‘profitability’ and which can be measured by the act of one of the bullfight enthusiast, who brought the champion bull for 5.5 lakh rupees. The champion bull is said to be the one against whom no other bull owner wants to pitch his bull. According to the president of the All Goa Bull Owners Association (AGBOA) Tony Fernandes claimed that they are demanding the legalization of Dhirios as legalised sports activity “Since it is financially profitable for the farmers as well as the government.” He also claimed that the bullfight is been the source of entertainment for the bull owners and farmers from primordial times.
According to the AGBOA, after the harvesting season is over, the farmers get around three months resting period and during this time period the bulls are well maintained and then engaged into the bullfight, which traditionally known as “Dhirio” (which means two bulls lock their horns) but during the period when this sports was taking the shape of organized sports, the High Court put the ban on it in December 20, 1996.
The former president and present technical advisor of AGBOA, Simon Caiado said that prior to the ban on this sports the state level Dhirios used to attract the huge crowd of larger than 10 thousand people. He also claimed that the allegations of cruelty and no care of bull post fight is wrong. According to him, the farmers take care of the bulls just like a child by spending as much as Rs. 500/- per day on a bull. “Why he will not take care of the bulls and nourish it when he is aware that benefits will follow?”
According to Simon, the local breed of bulls are not engaged into the bullfights, instead the hybrid bulls are imported from the neighboring states like Karnataka and Maharashtra at the cost of Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 1 Lakh per bull, depending upon the strength and height of it.” Simon was more stressing on the health related issues of the bulls. According to him the health and maintenance of the each bull is directly proportionate to the income coming from the bullfight as the farmers do not have any other income to maintain the bulls after the harvesting season is over.
Simon also brought to the notice of the media that, prior to the ban on a Dhirios the organizers used to pay for the bull based on their demand and previous records and to recover the cost of the bullfight they used to charge the viewers an entry fees. Simon did not rule out the possibility of the betting takes place, but he assured that it does not happen in organized form but at an individual level. “It’s very difficult to stop, it is just like any other sports where it is very difficult to keep track of such activities but till date not a single betting case has been registered,” He claimed.
Fernandes claimed that after the ban on Dhirios came into the force, it became difficult to maintain the health of the Bull as farmers had to compromise on the maintenance due to lack of funds which used to come when Dhirios was legally allowed. “Due to lack of funds the financially weak farmer does not have a choice but to sell their bulls once they become old. Earlier farmers used to maintain the bulls till it becomes old,” he said, further claiming that “After the death of bull the farmers used to have its funeral with proper rituals”.
Fernandes further provided the details of the maintenance of the bull. According to that, daily diet of the well maintained bull consists of Wheat, Boiled rice, Lentils, Fodder; the government provided feed, green and dry grass and water. “The bull is bathed on every alternate day during the summer and once in three days in the rest of the year,” he said. “The farmers even handle the medical expenses in the absence of veterinary doctors in the village,” he added.
AGBOA has claimed that they have huge membership count of around 10000 members, who has demanded the government to amend the law and declare the “Dhirios” as a sports by taking into the consideration all the suggestions from the stakeholders & NGO’s.”
The organization and stakeholders are trying their best to convince the government and others about the benefits of the Dhirios for the tourism as well as for the bull itself. What is your point of view on this? Do you think that revenue generation will make the life of bull better? Will they get the good food and maintenance as claimed? Why they (bull) do not deserve the same after working hard in the field? How much is the limit of the greed of human? Please do leave your comments and suggestions on this issue.
Edited by Goa Prism News Desk