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Animal rights in the context of jallikattu has been misunderstood: Amala Akkineni

Ashwin Sameeran, Abi Tamin Vanak, Norma Alvarez speaking about animal rights.  

“The discussion on animal rights, in the context of jallikattu has been misunderstood,” animal rights activist and former actor Amala Akkineni said on Sunday at ‘The Huddle’. Speaking from Hyderabad, Ms. Akkineni pointed out that filmstars and other celebrities have defended jallikattu because the industry is funded by politicians and the stars do not want to wreck the fortunes of their movies.

“We know that the tails of the bulls are broken, that chilly powder is rubbed into their eyes and they are forcibly fed country liquor. The animal is overwhelmed and does not know what’s happening. But now tempers have flown and perhaps it is not a good time to discuss this. But there will be another time, when the voice of the bull is heard. That discussion will happen in the future and it’s perhaps best to have that in court,” she said.

In the session, titled ‘Do Animals Have Rights’, social and environmental activist Norma Alvarez also pointed that the Supreme Court has already spoken on the matter. “What is being challenged in the Tamil Nadu Act is if it directly and deliberately opposed the Supreme Court judgment. That is what the SC has to now look at and resolve,” she said.

‘Focus on a broad range of animals’

“It is from this emphasis on production that foreign breeds are brought in to supplement indigenous ones. We have a strong culture of pastoralism and agri-pastoralism. But this culture is diminishing, even though it is one of the most climate resilient and low impact forms of raising animals. In Kutch, where I work, there are buffaloes that have adapted to the arid climate. They survive on very little water and they graze at night, because it is too hot during the day. There is a very broad range of animals that we should look at preserving,” said Abi Tamim Vanak, animal ecologist and conservation biologist..

Ms. Alvarez also pointed out the logical fallacy in the argument that jallikattu alone will help preserve indigenous species. “Tractors and chemical fertilisers have done more to threaten the breed of indigenous cattle redundant. And then to say I want to use bulls for entertainment in order to preserve an indigenous species is wrong,” she said.

The panel also deliberated on the troubles of animal birth control (ABC) campaign that was intended to control the stray dog population. “ABC has not been working at all. We have started and stopped so many times. And if we don’t control the population, nature will. Right now there is a canine distemper break out in Bangalore. That will kill lots of dogs. In Kerala they are killing 8 or 10 dogs in a very cruel fashion. And what that means is that the 2 or 3 dogs left behind, will be extremely scared of people and will be prone to attacking humans. And they will reproduce and build a breed of more vicious strays,” Ashwin Sameeran, who runs Enablers, a stray rescue NGO, said.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 11:23:08 PM |

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