6 June 2024

Thailand’s Ministry of Interior has instructed all provincial governors to make preparations to allow the resumption of animal competitions, such as bull, cock and fish fighting, now that the COVID-19 pandemic has eased.

An urgent letter, signed by Interior Permanent Secretary Suttipong Juljarern on Friday and sent to all provincial governors, says that the resumption such events is intended to promote local culture and traditions and provide communities with an honest way to generate revenues.

The district chief officer or an assistant district officer in each district is authorised to exercise discretion in granting permits for the holding of bull, cock or fish fights, in line with local traditions or conditions.

As for gambling on such events, authorities must ensure that the fights are be controlled to prevent the torture of animals.

The ministerial regulation, enforced in 2009 in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Songkhla and Phatthalung, which are the traditional places for bull and cock fighting and betting, will be applied to other provinces.

Bull fighting with betting can be held once a week. On special occasions and for charitable purposes, however, five additional fights are allowed each year, with permission, and each will last for three days and must not take place on Buddhist religious days.

Cock or fish fight, with gambling, will be allowed once a week, on Saturday or Sunday, but not on Buddhist religious days.

Minors are banned from entering the bull, cock or fish fighting arenas. Alcohol and firearms are also banned in such venues.

Horse race betting on special occasions for charitable purposes is not permitted but, if the organiser wants to hold a special horse race for a charitable purpose, the event must be held on a normal race day.