Again races with bulls during Jallikattu Festival in India

Monday, January 23rd 2017

For days now, protest are being held in several cities in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu in favour of the lifting of the ban on the Jallikattu Festival. Unfortunately, the Minister of Justice signed an ordinance to allow the races. Last weekend races with bulls were held in several locations in the state. Next week the Supreme Court will come together to discuss the ban. CAS International has a campaign against festivals with bulls and other animals in India, please sign our petition.

Ban in 2014
In 2014, the Jallikattu Festival was prohibited by the Supreme Court, together with other types of festivities with animals. The Jallikattu Festival is subject of discussion in India as well as abroad.  In 2015 the Jallikattu Festival could have come back with permission of the government. The Supreme Court decided that the government has to respect the law and that the festival should stay prohibited.

During the Jallikattu Festival races with bulls are held. During these races the participants clamp themselves to the bump of the animal and try to hang on to them as long as possible. There are several variations of the races, in some places people from the public could attempt to catch rewards attached to the horns of the bulls. Although no weapons were permitted during the festival, the bulls were treated roughly and there is evidence of animal suffering. Supporters of the races say that the cow and the bull are sacred animals for the Hindus and for this reason they can’t harm the animal. But animals are harmed during these races, sometimes so severely that they don’t survive it.

Arpan Sharma, director of the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), sees the positive connotations of the current debate:

“Even if that ban is overturned because of the political force of its opposition in Tamil Nadu, this moment in history represents a high point in the animal rights movement. That animals have rights—as an issue which must be defined by law—is a conceptual victory. It will be perpetually debated, and as we progress as an international culture opposed to violence and dedicated to protecting the rights of the vulnerable, we will gradually see the installation of interpretations that serve animal justice rather than human caprice.”

India as an example
In 2014, India took the very important step of abolishing centuries old traditions because of animal maltreatment. The country became an example to other countries where similar events with animals were not banned because of their supposed cultural value. India might lose its status as a progressive nation in regards to animal welfare and legislation if it, again, starts permitting cruel events with animals.

CAS International is worried about the actual developments in India and will do everything in its power to end the illegal events with bulls and other animals. Please keep an eye on our website for recent news and actions to stop fights and races with animals and cruel festivals in India!

Please sign our petition against illegal festivals with animals in India.

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