Following PETA Complaint, Animal Welfare Board Advises Central Government Not to Revoke the Ban on Jallikattu

For Immediate Release:
31 December 2015

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

New Delhi – Immediately after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India complained about a recent statement made by Prakash Javadekar, the Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MEF&CC), promising to allow jallikattu, bull races and bullfights in India, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) advised the Ministry not to overturn the Supreme Court judgement which currently bans them in the country.

The advisory to the Secretary of the MEF&CC from the Convenor of the AWBI’s legal sub-committee expressed shock and deep concern about the media reports regarding Mr Javadekar’s promise to issue an executive order to allow jallikattu, bull races and similar events. The advisory concluded with the following:

The AWBI’s opinion with respect to events such as jallikattu, bullock carts races, kambala, and all similar events, and the cruelty perpetrated on animals forced to participate in the same (by the very act of participation), is the same today, as it has always been. They are illegal, and have been struck down by the Supreme Court as illegal and unconstitutional. You are therefore requested to urge the Minister to refrain from taking any step to “allow” any such event, because the same will be at variance with the Supreme Court judgment in the matter of “Animal Welfare Board of India Vs A. Nagaraja and Others”, and at variance with law and the Indian Constitution. [Emphasis added.]

The AWBI also noted that the MEF&CC was a party to the Animal Welfare Board of India vs A Nagaraja and Others litigation and had said everything that Mr Javadekar is now reported to be saying. The advisory states the following:

However, the Hon’ble Supreme Court had REJECTED the submissions made by the MOEF [MEF&CC] in no uncertain terms, and held that to continue with “customs” that perpetuate cruelty on animals is in fact a blatant violation of the law of this country, and is not in consonance with our Constitution and the ideals it embodies.

The AWBI’s communication further urges the Secretary to advise the Minister of the following:

(i)   The Court categorically held that the Ministry cannot issue a notification / order, replacing or even modifying the notification dated 11th of July, 2011 (whereby the use of bulls, bullocks, etc. in such events had been banned) without taking the AWBI’s view with respect to the same.

As you know, the AWBI has not been consulted on the proposed order. It is also well known to the MOEF that the AWBI strongly opposes all cruelty to animals, whether under the garb of jallikattu, or bullock cart races, or kambala, or any other similar event.

  • The Court also, after examination of considerable material before it held that cruelty is inherent in these events; and that bulls, bullocks, etc. are not anatomically designed for such races and similar events. Therefore, to make them participate is in itself an act of gross cruelty, which is not permitted by law.
  • As to the aspect of culture and tradition, the Court held that if these are at variance with the law enacted by Parliament, and with the Indian Constitution, the latter will of course take precedence.

“Lifting the protection against cruelty that’s currently afforded to bulls or other animals would be a black mark on our nation, which has always been looked up to by people around the world because of our cultural reverence for animals”, says PETA India Chief Executive Officer Poorva Joshipura. “Towns in Colombia, Ecuador, France, Portugal and Venezuela have declared that they are against bullfighting, and Catalonia, a region in Spain, has banned it.”

When jallikattu was permitted in the past under regulations, hundreds of human participants were injured each year and many were killed. In just four years, from 2010 to 2014, approximately 1,100 injuries to humans were reported by the media as a result of cruel and dangerous jallikattu-type events, and 17 people died. Since these figures were taken from media reports currently available online, the actual figure is likely higher. Many human injuries also go unreported. AWBI inspection reports proved beyond a doubt that the bulls were subjected to cruelty, and two 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, which often occur in Goa, a round ends when one of the bulls either is killed or manages to flee.

PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – has long campaigned against the use of bulls in performances.

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