Saripalli Chanavenkateshwaram Rao, 50, was slashed in the neck by a blade tied to his animal’s claw on Jan. 15, a police spokesperson told CNN.
The father of three was taken to hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, according to CNN. He died of a stroke.
Station house officer Kranti Kumar told the outlet that Rao was a regular at local cockfights. His rooster reportedly attempted to break free on the way to one of the fights.
Rao was from Pragadavaram village in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, the officer said.
According to the Independent, Rao — whom the outlet reports was age 55 and slashed in the stomach, rather than neck — was holding onto his bird when the injury occurred.
In 2016, the Hans India reported the High Court at Hyderabad ruled cockfights illegal, but the practice continues in Andhra Pradesh, where police saw an increase in cockfighting cases last year, according to the Times of India.
Cockfighting was first made illegal in India in 1960 when the government implemented provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Cocks and roosters were defined as animals under this law.
Despite being illegal for 60 years, cockfighting continues to happen in the country, Gauri Maulekhi, trustee for India’s People for Animals Foundation, told CNN.
“The offences have been made very clear and explained to the district and state authorities, but they choose to turn a blind eye towards it,” he said.
“It is not just for entertainment that these animals are made to fight, but it is due to the heavy betting and gambling that goes on in the garb of these events.”
The Independent reports that an investigation into Rao’s death is ongoing.
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