Is it a sport or

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Is it a tradition or

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Is this act cultural or

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Is it ethical or

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Is it a justice to the bull or

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The Expose

My report are a part of the Judgment of the Supreme Court.  I have travelled each year to Madurai and District around Madurai at have been to all major venues for Jallikattu. I have seen all forms and types of Jallikattu for 4 years between 2009 to 2013.  Therefore whatever I am stating her is based on my experience.

I have had fortune of experiencing the life of people in Tamil villages, who are extremely large hearted and simple.

I completely disagree. First, there is lot to Tamil Culture than just Jallikattu. A lot of it has eroded over a period of time.  Most of it due to ‘modernization’.  How many food joints serve kuzhi paniyaram today? How many restaurants use vazhai ilai? How many sit on the floor - chappalan kutti - and eat their meal? How many teach their children villupattu, kathakalakshepam, thevaram, kargattam, poi kaal kuthirai and bharatha kalai? How many know more than 3 verses of thirukural? How many study / studied in tamil medium? How many know the last three dynasties that ruled the old geographic areas of TN? How many girls wear dhavani? how many use a paai to sleep? How many can name at least 6 freedom fighters from TN? How many know all the districts of the state? How many know what the population of TN is? How many know anything about tamil nadu at all?

There is a lot of heritage to Tamil Culture that needs to be preserved and popularized. Keeping Jallikattu alive will not bring back most of the lost culture. Consistent efforts need to ensure that Tamil heritage is not lost to mindless homogenization.

Co-incidentally people who worked on protecting animals including bulls participating in Jallikattu have been from Tamil Nadu. The Vice Chairman of AWBI, the veterinary doctors who reported to the Hon’ble Apex Court, the lead activists of Tamil Nadu, all have stood for what was right and just.

As per the 2012 census there were 95 lakh bovine animals in Tamilnadu. Dairy industry kills majority of the male offspring as they have no utility. Even if 10 percent of the male population is culled every year about 10 lakh bulls are culled every year. Kerala is one of the few states where slaughtering bulls and cows is legal and therefore every day hundreds of trucks carrying cows and bulls go to Kerala from / through Tamilnadu. The total number of events held are about 50, the maximum number of bulls involved in each event is 500. All the Jallikattu bulls were compulsorily registered in 2009-2013 the total registered animals did not exceed 1000. So no more than 2000 bulls are involved in Jallikattu. Most of them are used for agriculture apart from Jallikattu so they will survive nonetheless. The total Bull population in Tamilnadu is 17 lakh. So where is the fear of loss of Bulls to slaughter and extinction of breeds?

After the introduction of rules,  apart from the mental cruelty, physical cruelty is hardly happening in the arena. My report went into the details of how, the amount of physical cruelty in the main arena is controlled and minimized. However the cruelty happens outside the arena.  The main forms of cruelty are when the bulls are queued for hours, starting 1 am to 2 pm. Then when the bull is taken into vadi vassal this is where real cruelty starts. The bull doesn’t want to go into a street full of thousand screaming people, he feels safer in vaadi vassal than the crowd.  The bull is terrified and doesn’t want to go in there. Here the tail needs to be twisted, bitten, the rope on his nose pulled violently and bull is tied unnatural position and continuously proded to force him to go into the crowd.  Even then, the bull would just dodge the ‘players’and run away.  So intoxicants and corrosive agents (like chillies) are used to agitate the bull. The cruelty doesn’t stop there. Once the bull has run out of the arena, the cruelty starts. The entire crowd charges onto the bull. This where he hurts and kills people or falls into the well, falls into canals or meets with accidents. This is also where people are also killed.

A docile bulls is no fun,  so cattle owners agitate the bulls using crude tools, intoxicants  and corrosive agents.  A cruelty free Jallikattu is not possible if the current expectation of the audience is to be satisfied. The audience comes in for fun. 20,000 to 1 lakh people throng the venues. No one is able to see what is happening in the arena except for a lucky thousand or so. The rest come to handle the bulls themselves. These people try to catch every bull who has come out of the arena and they also use all possible ways to agitate the bull. I am willing to work on guidelines to prevent cruelty, however it will not work if the crowd is as unruly as it is today.

Firstly, two wrongs don’t make a right. Slaugther of animals is wrong, and cruelty for animals is wrong. One wrong can not be used to justify another.  Ideally slaughter should stop, but it is not happening at the moment. However more and more people around the world are going vegetarian / vegan and owners of companies like Microsoft and Google are investing in technologies to eliminate meat and slaughterhouses.  However that is a far away dream. As of today the law does not ban meat. We however regularly raid and shut down illegal slaughterhouses. We regularly rescue animals being transported illegally for slaughter. We activists can only prevent that the law provides and permits.

We absolutely do. Each year we campaign months before Bakri Eid and criticize the practice. We have petitions pending before High Court and National Green Tribunal against the practices in Bakri Eid .  We get reliefs and we implement them to the extent relief is granted.  Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 has exemptions for slaughter but not for cruelty during entertainment or sports. The fact still remains, can one wrong be used to justify another wrong? Will we release all petty criminals from prisons because several well known hardened criminals are fugitive? Courts decide on basis of existing laws. High Court have banned animals sacrifices in several states and they remain in force there.

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