Buffalo fighting in Vietnam in 2015. Picture: Screengrab/ South China Morning Post Facebook

DO SON, Vietnam  — Vietnam's water buffalo fighting festival has resumed amid calls for an end to the traditional annual event because of its violence.

The festival was halted temporarily three months ago after a buffalo killed its owner on the fighting field. More safety measures have been put in place since then.

On Thursday, about 20,000 people crowded the stadium in the resort town of Do Son in the port city of Hai Phong to watch the finals, in which 16 buffaloes were pit against each other.

In accordance with tradition, all winning and losing buffaloes were slaughtered as a tribute to God.

Buffalo fighting was halted during the Vietnam War and resumed in the late 1980s.