PETA Slams Government Decision to Allow Jallikattu and Bull Races, Vows to Fight in the Supreme Court

For Immediate Release:
8 January 2016

Dr Manilal Valliyate (0) 9910817382; [email protected]
Sachin Bangera (0) 9820122561; [email protected]

Delhi – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India Chief Executive Officer Poorva Joshipura has slammed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change’s decision in a 7 January 2016 notification in The Gazette of India to permit events like jallikattu and bull races again. Joshipura vows to continue the fight in the Supreme Court to protect bulls from cruelty.

PETA India has documented that during jallikattu, terrified bulls are often deliberately disoriented with substances like alcohol; have their tails twisted and bitten; are stabbed and jabbed by sickles, spears, knives or sticks; and are punched, jumped on and dragged to the ground.

Says Joshipura:

Our phones have been ringing off the hook with calls from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters and others who are horrified that the same authorities who claim to care about cattle are now re-allowing the cruelty that the highest court of India had already banned. In fact, the Environment Ministry itself banned the use of bulls in performances in 2011, and the suffering that is inherent in jallikattu, bull races and bullfights has been illegal since 1960 under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Many of the BJP’s own supporters recognise this U-turn as reckless, heartless and weak. We vow to take our fight to protect bulls from cruelty back to the Supreme Court.

She further warns:

Lifting the protection against cruelty that was afforded to bulls is a black mark on our nation, which has long been admired by people around the world for our cultural reverence for animals. Towns in Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, France and Portugal have declared themselves to be against bullfighting, and Catalonia, a region in Spain, has banned it. India will now be considered archaic and backward as sensibilities around the world are changing in favour of animal protection.

As calculated from various media reports, from 2010 to 2014, there were approximately 1,100 human injuries and 17 deaths – including that of a child – at jallikattu-type events.

During races, bulls are often hit with nail-studded sticks. In bullfights, the round ends when a bull manages to flee – or is killed.

In its judgement, the Supreme Court categorically held that without approval from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), the Ministry cannot allow jallikattu, bull races or bullfights and cannot modify the notification dated 11 July 2011, which banned forcing bulls to perform. Just last week, the AWBI advised the Ministry not to overturn the Supreme Court judgement. The court also ruled that cruelty is inherent in these events, as bulls are not anatomically suited for such activities. Making them participate subjects them to unnecessary pain and suffering, so they were outlawed. The court further stated that when culture and tradition are at odds with the law enacted by Parliament, the law will take precedence.

PETA India’s online petition urging the government to maintain the ban on jallikattu, bull races and bullfights has been signed by nearly 60,000 people in India alone. A similar petition created only a few days ago has already received over 5,000 signatures.

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