Coalition of Animal-Protection Groups to Environment Ministry: Keep Jallikattu Banned

For Immediate Release:
26 August 2016

Nikunj Sharma +91 9910397382; [email protected]
Shambhavi Tiwari +91 9167907382; [email protected]

Final Judgment on Matter Expected to Be Delivered by Supreme Court on 30 August

New Delhi – Following news reports that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) plans to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, to lift the ban on cruel spectacles such as jallikattu, bull races, and bull fights, a coalition of the country’s most prominent animal-protection groups, including PETA India, has sent a joint letter to Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave urging him not to weaken the law. The letter mentions that the government’s move comes at a time when citizens have been campaigning for stricter laws to protect animals following several publicised cases of animal abuse, including the death of police horse Shaktimaan, a dog who was thrown off of a rooftop in Chennai, and three puppies who were recently burned alive by juveniles in Hyderabad.

A copy of the letter can be found here. It is signed by representatives from PETA India, People for Animals (PFA) Chennai and PFA Uttarakhand, Blue Cross of India, Animal Rahat, the Elsa Foundation, World Animal Protection, Thane Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Fauna Police, and the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, a national collective with 77 member organisations and over 200 supporter organisations.

In 2014, the Supreme Court passed a judgment confirming a ban on jallikattu, bullfights, and bull races. The court’s ruling stated that cruelty is inherent in these events, as bulls are not anatomically suited for such activities and making them participate subjects them to unnecessary pain and suffering. However, on 7 January 2016, the MoEFCC attempted to overturn the ban through a Gazette notification. The notification was later challenged by PETA India and other animal-protection groups, and it was stayed by the court, meaning jallikattu and similar events could not be held in January 2016. The final hearing of the case is expected to take place on 30 August.

“The Supreme Court was right in 2014 when it banned cruel and dangerous spectacles like jallikattu, which injure and kill animals and humans alike”, says PETA India Chief Executive Officer Poorva Joshipura. “Now, PETA India joins other groups in urging the government to keep these archaic acts illegal and move the nation forward by strengthening penalties for animal abuse.”

PETA India has documented in Animal Welfare Board of India–authorised inspections that during jallikattu events, terrified bulls are often deliberately given substances like alcohol in order to disorient them, and their tails twisted and bitten. They’re also stabbed and jabbed with sickles, spears, knives, or sticks, and are punched, jumped on, and dragged to the ground. Three bulls even died during jallikattu events in 2014. During races, bulls are often hit with nail-studded sticks and pushed beyond the point of exhaustion. In bullfights, they are stabbed and a fight ends only when one bull is killed or manages to flee.

PETA India is urging the government to strengthen the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, to ensure that people who abuse animals serve jail time, pay significant fines, receive psychological counselling, and are banned from having contact with animals. Currently, the maximum penalty for the first offense under this act is a mere Rs 50.

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