Two giant inflatable bulls ran beside PETA supporters in a bloodless “jallikattu” to protest the government’s reported intention to lift the ban on real, cruel, and often bloody jallikattu, bull races, and bullfights. The action follows news reports that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) plans to amend The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, to allow these cruel spectacles – even though the Supreme Court banned them in 2014 for violating this act.
The court’s 2014 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. This notification was later challenged by PETA India and other animal-protection groups, and it was stayed by the court, meaning jallikattu and similar events cannot currently be held. The final hearing of the case is expected to take place on 9 November.
PETA India has documented in Animal Welfare Board of India–authorised inspections that during jallikattu events, terrified bulls are often deliberately given substances such as alcohol in order to disorient them and that their tails are 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.
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