Rooster booster: Fighter cocks get Viagra dose | India News – Times of India


VIJAYAWADA: In the highly competitive world of cockfights in rural Andhra Pradesh, contenders need to be in fine fettle. But with a viral disease having left many champions struggling to rise to the occasion, desperate breeders are resorting to dosing them with Viagra and other steroid-laced food to enhance performance.
Cockfights are an integral part of Sankranti celebrations in rural Andhra Pradesh and are held mostly in undivided Guntur, Krishna, and the two Godavari districts. Sankranti this year falls on January 14, 15 and 16, and thousands of illegal cockfight arenas have already sprung up in the state’s interiors where trained roosters engage in “fights to the death” while onlookers bet on the winning bird.
Hundreds of crores of rupees change hands during festival betting.

Drugs may lead to mutations in poultry, say experts
Roosters in Andhra Pradesh have been hit by a disease called “Ranikhet”, which has left them weak and not in the right condition to fight. With little time left for Sankranti, some enterprising breeders have taken the short route to “revitalise” the birds by feeding them Shilajit, Viagra 100, and vitamins. Though the birds may be on a high for a short time, veterinary experts warn that hormone-boosting drugs would not only cripple the birds in the long run but also result in mutations that may be harmful when such poultry is consumed by humans.
An STOI investigation found that many breeders are liberally using aphrodisiacs meant for use by humans. While these hormone-stimulating drugs are being given to birds for the first time, it is not clear whether such drugs really boost the fighting spirits of fighter cocks.
Explaining why they have resorted to drugs like Viagra, a breeder said they were unable to find good quality fighting cocks after “Ranikhet” and chronic respiratory diseases hit the poultry industry. “We spent a fortune on saving the fighting breed of birds from the disease. But what we found was that the birds are now lacking in strength. This is the short-cut to make the birds ready for Sankranti,” he said, adding that the weight of a bird and its mobility play a significant role in cockfights. “The drugs are fed just before the fight for better results. We have been conducting tests and so far the results have been encouraging,” he added.





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