Landmark Victory: Supreme Court Bans Use of Bulls in Jallikattu, Races and Fights; Calls for Stronger Animal Protection Laws

For Immediate Release:
7 May 2014

Dr Manilal Valliyate +91 9820947382; [email protected]
Sachin Bangera +91 9820122561; [email protected]

PETA and Animal Welfare Board Had Sought End to Abuse of Bulls 

Chennai- Today, the Honourable Supreme Court of India passed a landmark judgment in favour of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and the government body the Animal Welfare Board of India clarifying that bulls must not be used in jallikattu, bull races, bull fights or any other performance. PETA was represented in court by leading counsel Raj Panjwani.

PETA has vigorously campaigned against the use of bulls in these cruel events. PETA investigators have found that terrified bulls are deliberately disoriented, have their tails twisted and bitten and are stabbed, punched, jumped on and dragged to the ground. During races, bulls are often hit with nail-studded sticks. In bull fights, the round ends when one of the bulls is either killed or manages to flee. PETA’s campaign to end this abuse was vocally supported by legendary actors Hema Malini and John Abraham, who had both written to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) calling for jallikattu to be stopped.

“This is a landmark victory for animals in India. Year after year, court guidelines or laws were violated during jallikattu and bull races and countless bulls and people have suffered and even painfully died”, says PETA India Director of Veterinary Affairs Dr Manilal Valliyate. “The Supreme Court of India has made it clear that senseless cruelty to bulls will no longer be tolerated and that animals deserve our protection and respect.”

Although the MoEF issued a notification in 2011 that banned the use of bulls as performing animals – thereby banning jallikattu, bull fights and bull races – these spectacles were still permitted to be held. Now, the Supreme Court has made clear this notification must be upheld. The Supreme Court also struck down the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act No 27 of 2009, a state law that permitted jallikattu. The Supreme Court also noted the penalties for cruelty to animals under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 are weak and that the act requires an update. The AWBI had formulated a draft Animal Welfare Act, 2011 to strengthen the law, but this draft has yet to be passed.

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