A leading Irish animal rights group on Tuesday announced plans to launch a Europe-wide campaign for a “tourism boycott” of India to protest against ‘Jallikattu,' describing it as “a cruel bull-abusing contact game.''

The campaign by the Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) would be called “Incredible Cruelty,” a play on the Ministry of Tourism's “Incredible India” campaign.

The group also plans to hold demonstrations outside Indian diplomatic missions across Europe to highlight the “cruel spectacle.”

“The ARAN has started contacting Indian officials, tourist agencies and others to inform them of our efforts to highlight the cruel spectacle in Ireland and across Europe with our advertisement which is a mock-up of the 'Incredible India' tourist ads,” its founder John Carmody told The Hindu.

He said he had written to Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai calling for a total ban on ‘Jallikattu.'

“We were aghast to learn that despite the Indian government's ban on the use of bulls as performing animals, the Madras High Court Bench gave permission for the cruel bull-abusing contact game Jallikattu to be held in Tamil Nadu,” he said in the letter pointing out that ‘Jallikattu' threatened India's image as a “beautiful country.”

“How can that image endure when a State government endorses such activity,'' the letter asked.

Mr. Carmody said it “beggars belief that this blatant cruelty to animals is taking place in India.''

“Until India puts an end to Jallikattu and holds true to its reputation as a nation that treats its animals with compassion, we have no choice but to run a campaign to alert potential tourists to India about the ‘Incredible Cruelty' to bulls taking place in your country and urge them to boycott Indian tourism until this cruel game is put to an end,” it warned.

Mr. Carmody said that ‘Jallikattu' was not only “cruel to animals but also posed a threat to public safety.”

A description of ‘Jallikattu' on the ARAN's website says: “Jallikattu is a cruel contact game in which terrified bulls are surrounded by hundreds of shouting men, are hit with fists, have their tails twisted and pulled – and some even snapped and broken – and are jumped on and wrestled to the ground. Men pounce on the backs of bulls, sometimes alone, sometimes together and attempt to wrestle him to the ground. There are reports that chilli powder is rubbed into the bulls' eyes, they are given alcohol and then have to undergo the trauma of being chased by mobs who try to overpower and bring them down.”

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