The Supreme Court Failed to Consider the Inherent Cruelty to Animals

Upsettingly, the Supreme Court’s judgement dated 18 May 2023 in the batch petition titled Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) vs Union of India and Ors allowed these violent bull- and buffalo-abusing spectacles to continue, but that only strengthens PETA India’s resolve to put an end to them. Since the Tamil Nadu government allowed jallikattu in 2017, at least 115 humans, 38 bulls, and a cow have reportedly died in the events and 8,630 humans and at least 30 bulls were reportedly injured. Since many bull deaths and human injuries are not reported, these figures are likely vast underestimates.

In 2017, the three states passed their respective amendments to The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, completely exempting these events from the purview of the law. Since then, PETA India has been conducting investigations into bull- and buffalo-abuse events and filing eye-witness reports before the Supreme Court, demonstrating that these pursuits are inherently cruel and must be prohibited. However, in a shock move, the Supreme Court failed to take note of or mention any of the findings when forming its latest judgement to allow these events.

These investigation reports reinforce the earlier findings of the government body AWBI – which underpinned the Supreme Court’s previous ban on the events and its detailed and well-reasoned judgement dated 7 May 2014. The ban was subsequently upheld under review in 2016.

Perplexingly, these events, involving equally cruel practices and risk of death and injury to bulls and humans, have since been allowed by the Supreme Court. PETA India’s latest investigations once again reveal that the events are cruel and dangerous and ought to be prohibited.

Bulls Were Beaten, Tackled, and Prodded With Wooden Sticks in Jallikattu

An investigation into Tamil Nadu’s 2023 jallikattu events revealed the following:

  • Bulls were tackled, beaten and prodded with wooden sticks and other sharp objects, and yanked by nose ropes, causing them to bleed.
  • Exhausted and dehydrated bulls were forced to participate after being made to stand in queues for hours without shade, water, or food, and many collapsed before or after racing.
  • After authorities refused to extend the time of an event in Tamil Nadu, owners let loose a bull who gored a young spectator to death, sparking a riot in which 35 people were arrested.
  • This year, the reported death toll of bulls and humans skyrocketed: 29 humans reportedly died this year in comparison to 17 last year, and 15 bulls died this year in comparison to two last year.

Bullocks’ Tails Were Bitten and Twisted in Maharashtra Bullock-Cart Races

Investigations into Maharashtra’s bullock-cart races from 2023 revealed the following:

  • Bullocks were denied food, water, and shade and forced to run even when exhausted.
  • Bullocks’ tails were bitten and twisted, causing them to bleed.
  • Bullocks were yanked by nose ropes, causing them to bleed.
  • Bullocks were poked with spiked torture devices with protruding nails called kela and pelted with rocks.
  • According to newspaper articles published between 2022 and June 2023, there were eight reported human deaths, several injuries, and three bull deaths in Maharashtra’s bullock-cart races.

Buffaloes Are Beaten, Slapped, Kicked, and Yanked by the Nose in Karnataka’s Kambala Events

Investigations into Karnataka’s kambala events from the end of 2022 to the start of 2023 revealed the following:

  • Buffaloes were yanked by the nose, beaten with sticks, slapped in the face, and kicked, and they exhibited fresh, bleeding wounds.
  • Reluctant, exhausted buffaloes were beaten with wooden sticks and bare hands to force them to race.
  • Buffaloes were hit with wooden sticks from the start to the finish line throughout the races.
  • Several buffaloes were ruthlessly hit with wooden sticks to provoke them before they were taken to the starting line to race.

What You Can Do to Help


Tweet now to urge the chief ministers of the relevant states to stop cruelty to bulls.