In Goa, there has been talk regarding the legalization of bullfights, with many of the opinion that dhirio should be seen as a sport, and should be legalized. Farmers have argued that legalizing bullfights will be profitable for the farmers, and also for the government.
Tony Fernandes, the President of the All Goa Bull Owners Association, said that not only would bullfighting as a sport be profitable, it also has a long history of providing entertainment for farmers and bull owners.
When the plowing is over, farmers have to wait three months before the harvest begins. During this time, tradition and history show us that farmers used dhirio, or bullfights, to keep them entertained. Once the sport moved away from tradition into an organized sport, it was banned. On 20th December 1996, bullfighting was banned by the High Court.
Simon Caiado, previously a president of the All Goa Bull Owners Association, dismissed the notion that farmers do not care for their bulls post-fight.
He said: “A farmer spends upto Rs 500 daily on a bull for maintenance. The bull is taken care of like a child. When the farmer is aware that he will only benefit from taking care, why will he not take appropriate measures to nourish it?”
On this topic, Fernandes noted that since there are no veterinary doctors in most villages, the owners of the bulls are used to taking good care of their cattles, and continue to do so whether there is a bullfight or not.
Taking care of a bull is a costly business. According to Fernandes, since the dhirio ban began, “it has not been affordable for bull owners to maintain them in best health. Farmers have compromised on maintenance cost as there is no secondary income from the bulls like before.”
The All Goa Bull Owners Association has called on the government to amend the current laws, and to declare dhirio a sport.