Supreme Court of India Stays Environment Ministry Notification: Jallikattu, Bull Races Cannot Take Place

For Immediate Release:
12 January 2016

Dr Manilal Valliyate (0) 9910817382; [email protected]
Shambhavi Tiwari (0) 9167907382; [email protected]

New Delhi – Today, the Honourable Supreme Court of India stayed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change’s 7 January Gazette of India notification permitting events such as jallikattu and bull races despite a Supreme Court judgement that categorically held that such events cannot be allowed. This means events such as jallikattu and bull races are currently still banned. To celebrate, PETA is handing out vegan sweets and will send garlands to the Animal Rahat sanctuary for rescued bulls.

This development comes in response to a battery of urgent petitions filed with the court – led by the government advisory body the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and supported by PETA India, the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) and Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA) – against the notification. Further, individuals Sowmya Reddy, Radha Rajan and Gauri Maulekhi filed petitions against this notification, with two of them being contempt petitions. All parties call for the court to strike down the notification permitting the use of bulls in events such as jallikattu in Tamil Nadu and bullock-cart races elsewhere in the country.

“The Honourable Supreme Court’s stay, which comes as a birthday gift for PETA on our 16th anniversary, is a partial victory for sensitive bulls who will be spared abuses such as being deliberately disoriented with substances like alcohol and having their tails painfully bitten or broken joint by joint for jallikattu or races”, says PETA India Chief Executive Officer Poorva Joshipura. “The court’s move will also prevent countless people from being hurt or killed at such events this year. PETA will continue our fight to protect bulls from abuse until the Supreme Court confirms once again that spectacles such as jallikatu and bull races have no place in a civilised society.”

In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that cruelty is inherent in these events, as bulls are not anatomically suited to such activities. Making them participate subjects them to unnecessary pain and suffering, so such events were outlawed. The court also stated that when culture and tradition are at variance with the law enacted by Parliament, the law takes precedence.

When jallikattu was permitted in the past, hundreds of human participants were injured each year – and many were killed. Between just 2010 and 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 – including a child. Since these figures were taken only from media reports currently available online, the actual figure is likely higher. Many human injuries also go unreported.

PETA India has documented in AWBI-authorised inspections that, in addition to being deliberately disoriented and sustaining injuries to their tails, bulls used in jallikattu are 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, which frequently take place in Goa, a round ends when one of the bulls manages to flee – or is killed.

 The petitioners are represented by senior advocates Aryama Sundaram (AWBI), Anand Grover (PETA), KK Venugopal (FIAPO), Siddharth Luthra (CUPA), Mr Venkatramani (Sowmya Reddy and Radha Rajan) and Dushyant Dave (for Gauri Maulekhi, trustee, People for Animals).

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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