‘Ban on jallikattu imperils future of indigenous breeds’

Seeing red:Naturalists and veterinarians say that the ban on jallikattu has dealt a serious blow to conservation efforts aimed at saving breeds such as the Kangeyam bull.— FILE PHOTO: M. GOVARTHAN  

The Supreme Court’s refusal to review its 2014 order banning jallikattu has evoked strong reactions from naturalists and veterinarians who have been working to conserve indigenous bulls in Tamil Nadu.“We have already lost many indigenous breeds. Jallikattu bulls perform the role of stud animals and serve to propagate the species. The ban on jallikattu will lead to owners of the animals giving up on them,” said naturalist and writer Theodore Baskaran.

Scientists in the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) said the State had five native breeds –Kangeyam, Pulikulam, Umbalachery, Bargur and Alambadi. The Alambadi breed is on the verge of extinction. “Mechanisation of farm activities have already elbowed out bulls.”

“Since beef eating is anathema to a large section of our population, jallikattu is probably the only reason that encouraged farmers, who have moved on to breeding hybrid milch cows, to retain native bulls,” said a TANUVAS scientist who has done extensive research on indigenous breeds.

Mr. Baskaran said he had been watching jallikattu since his childhood, particularly in Avaniapuram, and rejected the argument that bulls were subjected to cruelty.

“Of late, jallikattus are well organised and there is not even an iota of violence is involved. The underlying principle is that even if the participants suffer injuries, the animal should not be allowed to spill blood,” Mr. Baskaran said.

Sahitya Akademi winner Su. Venkatesan explained: “The participant has to tame the animal by holding on to its hump. It will not suffer any other violence. In fact, jallikattu bulls are free from wearing metal shoes, a painful process,” he added.

Mr. Baskaran said jallikattu was actually the manifestation of the bond that exists between people in the rural areas and their animals, an expression that an urban mind might not understand at all.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 6:00:05 PM |

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