Buffalo fighting festival actually a beauty contest: Hanoi authorities

By VnExpress   September 5, 2016 | 06:12 pm PT
Buffalo fighting festival actually a beauty contest: Hanoi authorities
One buffalo ended up dead but the authorities said it was not a buffalo fighting by definition.

Amid criticism over the brutal buffalo fighting festival in Phuc Tho District, Hanoi on September 3 and 4, the local authorities said it was in fact a competition to find the strongest and most beautiful buffalo, rather than an animal fight event.

Speaking to VnExpress, Tran Manh Hai, Vice Chairman of the district People’s Committee, said “It was having two buffalos competing against each other, not putting them in a fight. The difference here is the animals would have been forced to battle against their will if it was a usual buffalo fight. Such forceful act didn’t happen in this competition.”


A buffalo got their horns sharpened to deadly effect in preparation for the competition in Phuc Tho Stadium on September 4, 2016. Photo by VnExpress

The festival, organized by the local Farmers' Association, included three main activities: a singing competition, a tug of war and a contest to find the highest quality buffalo in the area.

“That was a buffalo contest, where the main part was having the buffalos competing by fighting, not a true buffalo fight festival.” Hai explained.

The event has been under fire after a video and photos capturing fights among buffalos took place in Phuc Tho Stadium was released on September 4.


Two buffalos competing against each other for the title of "Strongest Buffalo" in Phuc Tho Stadium on September 4, 2016.Photo by VnExpress


Accidents happen sometimes: a judge was attacked by the angry animal right after the fight. Photo by VnExpress

Earlier in January, Hanoi’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism issued a ban on including buffalo fights at Phuc Tho Festival. The ministry deemed it a violence-provoking activity after public controversy over its brutality in 2014.

The “Strongest Buffalo Competition” was organized as a replacement at this year's festival.

Director of Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism To Van Dong said the festival was approved as the “Best Buffalo” contest. An inspection is underway to find out whether animal fighting was organized.


The fighting attracted an audience of hundreds of local to Phuc Tho Stadium. Photo by VnExpress

26 buffalos were believed to be put into fights during the festival, one of which ended up dead in the field. The winner’s owner reportedly took home VND100 million ($5,000). The fighting attracted an audience of hundreds of local to Phuc Tho Stadium. A market selling buffalo meat was spotted next to the field, where the winning buffalo was believed to had been slaughtered right after the festival, and its meat fetched high prices.


 A market selling buffalo meat was spotted next to the field. Photo by VnExpress

Buffalo fighting festivals in Vietnam originate from the country’s agricultural traditions. In recent years, however, they have encountered a strong public opposition for their savagery.

Related news:

Brutal buffalo fighting festival in Hanoi sparks controversy

Festivals in Vietnam: not for the faint-hearted

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