Animal rights activists, led by a costumed “injured bull” and waving banners in Tamil, Hindi and English, held a protest outside the Indian High Commission here on Wednesday demanding a complete ban on “jallikattu” which they described as a “stain on India's reputation.”
Tourists and lunch-hour office crowd watched with amusement as members of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) stood at the gates of India House with a “bandaged bull” on crutches and holding a placard that said: “Save India's reputation: End Jallikattu.” Later the “bull” moved to a wheelchair.
“Jallikattu is a black mark on India's reputation. 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,” said PETA's spokesperson Poorva Joshipura.
She said similar protests would be held outside Indian diplomatic missions in other countries.
In a statement, PETA said: “The protesters are calling on the Indian government to enforce the national ban against using bulls as performing animals. Despite the ban, the Madras High Court recently permitted Tamil Nadu to continue jallikattu, 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.”
The protest came a day after Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN), a leading Irish group, announced plans to launch a Europe-wide campaign for a “tourism boycott” of India to protest against jallikattu, calling it “a cruel bull-abusing contact game.”
In a letter to Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai, its founder John Carmody said jallikattu threatened India's image as a “beautiful country.”
He said the campaign would be called “Incredible Cruelty,” a play on the Ministry of Tourism's “Incredible India” campaign.