In 2014, the Supreme Court of India banned the cruel bull-taming sport known as Jallikattu. However, after mass protests, the ban was lifted and it was once again allowed. On Wednesday, January 15th, the Pongal festival began to mark the beginning of the harvest season with the dangerous Jallikattu sport injuring both bulls and people. By January 16th, 71 persons were already hurt and the bulls continue to suffer stress and panic during the event. The festival will continue until January 31st and over 2,000 bulls will be forced to participate.
The point of Jallikattu is for men to jump onto the bull from behind (as it would be attacked by a predator) and hold on tight for at least three jumps in 30 seconds. The bulls, as expected, completely panic. As this Care2 petition states: “Each bull is visibly frightened and agitated, made all the worse when multiple men grab at the animal and jump on its back. In the wild, this is precisely how a predator would attack a herd animal like a bull. Fearing for its own life, the stressed bull kicks, and twists in an attempt to break free.”
For many years, protestors have opposed the “sport” because of the cruelty involved. It has been reported that bull owners throw lime juice and chili into the bull’s eyes to make them more aggressive, and that their tails are also twisted (resulting in broken vertebrae) and they’re forced to drink alcohol to become disoriented.
Bulls aren’t the only animals who suffer during this festival, either. Wanga foxes are taken from the forest (their homes in the wild, where they belong) to be tied with ropes and chased through the streets on the last day of the festival.
Many people in India are worried about losing a tradition that’s important to them if the festival is banned, but there is outrage and controversy for a reason. Traditions do not have to be upheld if they’re cruel. This tradition in particular is also incredibly dangerous for the human participants. Sign this petition to demand that the Supreme Court of India officially ban, once and for all, the sport of Jallikattu.
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- Make the Electro-Shock of Horses an Act of Animal Cruelty
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