Demanding a total ban on jallikattu in Tamil Nadu, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on Tuesday came out with an investigative report that cited multiple violations of the Supreme Court guidelines in organising the bull taming sport and shocking cruelty meted out to animals during the events.
PETA, India, which carried out investigations at three jallikattu locations in Madurai district on the mandate of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), released its report to reporters that showed rampant flouting of the apex court directions, including those on organisers providing veterinary care to injured animals, using only AWBI registered bulls, adequate barricading or specification of collection areas where the beasts could recuperate.
PETA, which screened video footage documenting the torture the animals were subjected to during the jallikattu events it investigated at Avaniyapuram, Palamedu and Alanganallur in Madurai, said that a bull fleeing an unruly group of tormentors died after it was knocked down by a bus. Another sustained a fracture on its leg when it jumped on to a field ten feet below to escape the torture.
The PETA report documented various forms of animal torture such as biting and twisting of bull’s tails, rubbing irritants into the eyes, jabbing with sticks and forcing liquor down the throat of the animals. And, when terrified bulls ran amok the spectators ganged up to mercilessly beat the animals.
“The magnitude of cruelty meted out to animals is a blot on the State’s civilised heritage. Civil society should unite against this practice in the name of ‘veera vilayattu’,” said S. Chinnykrishna, AWBI vice-chairman.
These incidents violate the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act, 2009, as well as the more recent pronouncements of the Madurai High Court and the Supreme Court. Jallikattu, organised in the January-July period as part of Pongal harvest festival celebrations, is popular in villages across Dindigul, Salem, Theni, Pudukottai, Thanjavur and Sivaganga.