Ban cruel jallikattu, says PETA Australia
The use of bulls in an inhuman sport comes to world attention. FARRHA KHAN reports
After a string of protests held in other parts of the world, including New Delhi and Chennai in India , as well as Hong Kong and Washington DC , PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) volunteers in Australia organised the rally in Canberra on January 30. In a statement, PETA explain that jallikattu is “a cruel and dangerous “sport” in which terrified bulls are kicked, punched, jumped on and dragged to the ground – and in which human participants are often injured and even killed.”
While there is currently a national ban in India against using bulls as performing animals, the Madras High Court recently permitted Tamil Nadu to continue jallikattu. The protesters in Canberra were calling on the Indian government to enforce the ban and stop the use of bulls or any other animals during jallikattu.
“Jallikattu is a black mark on India ‘s reputation,” said PETA India’s Poorva Joshipura. “These events are illegal – they violate the ban on using bulls in ‘entertainment’ and are completely against the spirit of India ‘s animal-protection laws, which prohibit beating, kicking and torturing animals.”
The PETA website give further details on the yearly “game”, played in the Madurai, Tiruchirapalli and Tanjore districts of Tamil Nadu province in India, from around January to March. “Bundles of money or other prizes are tied to the horns of a bull who is released in an open area and then chased by villagers. Only men participate in this cruel display, which is supposed to demonstrate their strength but really only demonstrates government-sanctioned animal abuse,” the website states. The website also urges people to write to the Chief Minister of Tamil Naidu, protesting against jallikattu.
“In the name of training them, the bulls are subjected to a lot of torture, like rubbing chilli powder into their eyes or hitting them,” explains Niranjan Amarnath, a PETA volunteer. They do this in order to try to make the bulls more ferocious, usually purposefully aggravated and even not allowing them to mate.
PETA have conducted undercover investigations of jallikattu, with the pictures from the investigation highlighting mistreatment and physical abuse of the bulls, as well as the dangers posed to the participants and quite possibly the spectators.
“Some think it is a cultural tradition to show bravery or that it’s fun to watch,” said Niranjan Amarnath. “But you cannot hurt animals and justify it by saying it is tradition or promoting culture”.
There are real concerns for India ‘s international image as well.
“Some think that jallikattu will attract tourists, but the Western world will not agree that it is okay to hurt animals like this. It will effect tourism negatively,” said Niranjan Amarnath.
PETA isn’t the only organisation concerned with the mistreatment of bulls in jallikattu. Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN), mostly based in Europe , has called jallikattu “a cruel bull-abusing game”. It has announced that it will launch a “tourism boycott” campaign against India and jallikuttu.
The protesters in Canberra were made up of mostly local Australian PETA members, animal activists and supporters. The small but supportive group carried signs that read, “Save India’s Reputation: End Jallikattu” and “Jallikattu: Harmful to Humans and Animals”.
As a proud Tamilian, Niranjan feels strongly against jallikattu. Although he currently lives in the Philippines , Niranjan was born and brought up in Tamil Naidu.
“A lot of Tamilians believe that it gives a wrong message, that it is okay to hurt animals for entertainment. But it is not okay,” he stated.