Jallikattu supporters – having no way of justifying the illegal spectacle’s abuse of bulls (as shown in the video below) – have resorted to spreading falsehoods about PETA India.
Here are 16 of the most common dishonest or deliberately misleading claims—as well as our responses.
Claim 1: PETA India promotes the Western dairy industry.
Response: We and our international affiliates advocate a vegan lifestyle, including a diet free of dairy foods. This video demonstrates the cruelty in the dairy industry:
Claim 2: PETA India is backed by Coca-Cola.
Response: What?! Is the implication that Coca-Cola has an interest in ending jallikattu? Whatever the reasoning, we can’t think of anything more far-fetched and ludicrous than this untrue assertion.
Claim 3: PETA India is out to destroy native breeds.
Response: The prevalence of various breeds of cattle used by humans in India is almost entirely determined by the choices of the country’s dairy industry. This is because humans manipulate domesticated breeds to suit their own purposes, such as increased milk production. The industry was determining which types of cow were bred in India long before the Supreme Court confirmed a ban on jallikattu in 2014, so attempts to link changes in populations to the decision are preposterous. India is also home to wild cattle, and domesticated breeds aren’t at risk of becoming endangered.
Claim 4: PETA India promotes vegan living in order to support Western plant-based food corporations.
Response: Make up your mind, jallikattu supporters! You seem to be unable to decide which falsehood to go with: whether PETA India backs the Western dairy industry (see above) or the Western vegan food industry! People interested in eating vegan don’t require any special imported foods – they can simply opt to eat veggies, fruits, legumes, and grains that are widely available in India. We will, however, gladly promote vegan food items that can be found on local store shelves – such as soya milk and vegan ice cream – to help consumers understand what tasty options they have.
Claim 5: PETA India promotes genetically modified crops.
Response: We don’t promote genetically modified foods, but people who consume meat commonly eat animals who have been genetically modified and dosed with antibiotics. Chickens, for example, tend to be bred and drugged to grow faster and bigger than nature intended, which often causes them to suffer from broken bones, heart problems, and other painful conditions.
Claim 6: PETA India hasn’t closed down any slaughterhouses.
Response: We’re working towards a day when there will be no slaughterhouses, but the courts can only uphold existing laws – which is what the Supreme Court has done regarding the use of bulls in performances. In most cases, there are no laws against the killing of animals for food. However, PETA India is involved in a case in the Supreme Court against the illegal treatment of animals during transport and slaughter, and the court has ordered state governments to shut down illegal slaughterhouses and set up enforcement committees.
Claim 7: PETA India doesn’t campaign against KFC.
Response: We’ve held numerous demonstrations outside KFC outlets in India. Our affiliate PETA US even has a website dedicated to its Kentucky Fried Cruelty campaign.
Claim 8: PETA India isn’t against the killing of cows for beef.
Response: Oh, but we are – and here’s why you should go dairy-free if you are, too.
Claim 9: PETA India isn’t against horse racing.
Response: Our motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – and that means any form of entertainment. Horse racing’s legality doesn’t justify jallikattu, and PETA US recently exposed various horrors in the racing industry.
Claim 10: PETA India’s CEO wears leather.
Response: Our CEO wears vegan (non-animal) leather garments, and we raise awareness of the availability of such items via our “PETA-Approved Vegan” scheme.
Claim 11: PETA India is a foreign organisation with a foreign agenda.
Response: We have affiliates abroad to help us keep up to date on global trends in animal protection, but we’re an Indian organisation. Compassion – not cruelty – is the foundation of Indian culture. Article 51A(g) of The Constitution of India states that every Indian citizen has a responsibility “to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures”. Animal-protection groups and individuals around the world have been influenced by our nation’s culture of kindness to animals.
Claim 12: PETA India banned jallikattu because the group is against Tamil culture.
Response: We aren’t a legislative body, so we cannot ban anything – but we do call for existing laws to be upheld or request that they be improved. Jallikattu is illegal under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, as well as the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change’s 2011 ban on the use of bulls in performances. These laws apply country-wide and aren’t specific to Tamil Nadu or jallikattu. Many Tamilians support PETA India and the ban on jallikattu, a practice that has caused numerous human injuries and deaths. PETA India promotes respect for everyone.
Claim 13: Jallikattu is my “right”.
Response: No one has the right to hurt anyone else – whether human or animal.
Claim 14: PETA India (or PETA US) kills animals.
Response: You must mean jallikattu kills animals. Much of the criticism of PETA US comes from an organisation funded by KFC, Outback Steakhouse, cattle ranchers, and other enterprises that cruelly kill millions of animals every year – not out of mercy but rather for profit. In contrast, euthanasia is a veterinary decision to end suffering. To learn about the work PETA India does, sign up for our e-news. You can also meet members of PETA US’ rescue team and some of the animals they’ve helped by watching this video.
Claim 15: PETA India doesn’t have much proof that jallikattu is cruel.
Response: Watch any video of jallikattu filmed by anyone and you’ll see that the primary purpose of the event is for men to pounce on terrified bulls. In addition to this inherent cruelty, the bulls are made to suffer the kinds of abuse shown in the video above. The Supreme Court made its decision to uphold a ban based on the law and plentiful information gathered by Animal Welfare Board of India–authorised inspectors at numerous jallikattu events.
Claim 16: PETA India is against jallikattu because it’s in favour of artificial insemination.
Response: Now that’s really stretching the imagination! Artificial insemination is common in the Indian dairy industry, and our CEO has described the practice as cruel.
For answers to frequently asked questions about jallikattu, please see this blog post. But most importantly, remember that no matter what jallikattu supporters say to distract people from the practice’s cruelty, it’s still abusive and illegal.