At jallikattu events, there’s a total disregard for human and animal life.
So far this year, within a matter of days, the cruel spectacle has claimed the lives of a teenager and four other spectators who got in the way of panicked, fleeing bulls. During one recent event, 79 people were injured. At another, at least 26 people were hurt.
The injuries and deaths of bulls typically go unreported, but in 2017, at least five bulls and 15 humans lost their lives because of jallikattu and around 2,000 humans sustained injuries. Between 2008 and 2014, at least 43 humans and four bulls died, and more than 5,000 humans were injured – 3,000 of whom incurred serious injuries.
Authorities continue to insist that jallikattu is played by the rules. But the question is this: what’s the point of rules that don’t protect humans and animals from injury or death?
A woman named Mary whose husband was injured during a jallikattu event in Palinganatham said she wished that he hadn’t taken part: “I pleaded with him this morning not to take part in jallikattu considering the risk associated with it. However, he did not listen to me”.
In 2004, 18-year-old artist N Marimuthu of Pudhu Thamaraipatti. His father, A Nagarajan, was so upset that he initiated legal action to have jallikattu banned – an effort that continues today, now at the Supreme Court.
In jallikattu, injuries occur because the bulls are taunted to make them appear enraged, creating the illusion that the men who then chase them in order to “tame” them are brave. Participants routinely twist and bite their tails, beat them, and even jab them with weapons to force them into the menacing crowds. In truth, the bulls aren’t angry – they’re frightened. And as a result, they run – sometimes into barriers, spectators, or vehicles. In one case, a bull collided head-on with a passenger bus.
India’s Supreme Court banned jallikattu in May 2014, but in January 2017, the state of Tamil Nadu passed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017, to resume jallikattu – a decision PETA is challenging in the Supreme Court.
You can help bulls. Please add your voice to the call for jallikattu to be banned.