Bullfighting draws thousands to Himachal fair

Though in a similar Spanish or Portuguese or Latin American spectacle a matador baits and usually kills a bull in an arena before hundreds of cheering spectators, the local version sees bulls pitted against each other.

"More than 50 bulls were brought from more than a dozen villages in the state. The villagers rear the bulls throughout the year for this one-day annual Siyar Fair," an organiser said.

The bull trainers are mostly young farmers who are experts in goading the beast in the ring.
"It's just a technique to enrage the bull so that it attacks the opponent fiercely and forces it to run off," said bull-trainer Vishnu Singh.

Before the 'deadly sport' begins, the bulls are generally drugged or made to drink alcohol to keep them charged.

The fair saw locals and foreigners in good strength.
Roger Williams, a tourist from the US, said: "It's amazing. We have seen bullfights in Spain. But they were quite deadly. Here, only the bulls fight and don't even get hurt. These fights are not dangerous for both the animals and spectators."

However, animal rights activists are seeking a ban on these bullfights as they believe that it constitutes cruelty to the animals.

Such bullfights are quite popular in Himachal Pradesh's Shimla, Solan, Kullu and Sirmaur districts.

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