Tamil Nadu

Madras HC bans use of foreign breeds in Jallikattu

A ferocious bull jumping out from Vadivasal at a Jallikattu held at Pugailaipatti village near Dindigul. The Madras High Court has banned foreign and hybrid breeds from participating in Jallikattu.   | Photo Credit: KARTHIKEYAN G

The Madras High Court has directed the State government to ensure that only native breed of bulls are allowed to participate in Jallikattu. Henceforth, there should be a prohibition on participation of foreign breeds such as Bos Taurus or cross / hybrid breed bulls (Bos Taurus x Bos Indicus).

Justices N. Kirubakaran (since retired) and P. Velmurugan passed the order while allowing a writ petition filed by E. Seshan (71) of Chennai. He had insisted on participation of native bulls alone in events such as Jallikattu, Manjuvirattu, Oormadu, Vadamadu, Vadamanjivirattu and Eruduthu Viduthal.

Agreeing with the concerns expressed by the petitioner who lamented loss of native species, the judges directed the government to encourage bull owners and farmers to groom native breeds by providing subsidy or incentives to farmers or bull owners who do so. Veterinarians must certify the bulls before participation in Jallikattu, they ordered.

The court also warned veterinarians of contempt of court proceedings if they falsely certify an imported or cross/hybrid breed as a native breed and if such illegality was brought to the notice of the court. Such veterinarians would also be subjected to departmental proceedings, the court said.

The Bench also ordered that the government should, as far as possible, avoid artificial insemination of animals since it would deny mating rights of animals and thereby amount to cruelty under the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960.

Recalling that hundreds of bulls would get paraded to the Mandaiveli (yards) in each village during Pongal festival, the judges rued that the number had thinned now, and the native bulls were fast disappearing from villages forcing the latter to lose their originality.

The Bench pointed out that the State government had enacted a legislation in 2017 for conduct of Jallikattu and the primary objective of that legislation was to preserve native breeds such as Pulikulam, Umbalachery, Nattumadu, Malaimadu and Kangeyam.

It agreed with the petitioner’s counsel R. Srinivas that western varieties of cattle (Bos Taurus) and cross breeds of cattle either do not have humps or have tiny humps which are also not aligned to their front legs as in the case of pure native breed bulls.

The absence of large humps makes it impossible to play the game of Jallikattu in which men were expected to cling on to/embrace the bulls by holding to their humps and run along for a minimum distance of 15 metres or for 30 seconds or sustain three jumps of the bulls.

After printing photographs of the native bulls as well as the cross breeds in the judgment copy itself, the judges wrote: “A perusal of the above photographs would indicate that the native breeds have got huge hump which is necessary for the tamers to hold on during ‘Jallikattu’ whereas the hump is not grown and available in the hybrids or imported bulls. Therefore, the imported or hybrid bulls are not fit for participating in Jallikattu.”

They went on to state: “When the 2017 Act itself is intended for preservation of native bulls for the purpose of Jallikattu, there is no room for hybrids or imported bulls as per the Act to participate in the event. If it is done, it is in violation of the Act and it has got no sanction of law.”

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 12:18:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/madras-hc-bans-use-of-foreign-breeds-in-jallikattu/article36244610.ece

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