New Delhi: Slamming the Centre's decision to allow popular bull taming sport Jallikattu and other bull races, PETA India on Thursday said that lifting protection against cruelty is a "black mark" on the nation even as it vowed to take the fight of protecting the bulls to the Supreme Court.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India said that even the BJP supporters are "horrified" that the same authorities who claimed to care about cattle are now allowing the cruelty on it even after it has been banned by the highest court of India.
"Our phones have been ringing off the hook this morning with calls from BJP supporters and others who are horrified that the same authorities who claim to care about cattle are now allowing the cruelty to cattle that was already banned by the highest court of India.
"The use of bulls in performances was banned by the Environment Ministry itself in 2011 and the causing of suffering that is inherent in jallikattu, bull races and bull fights has been illegal since 1960 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. "This U-turn is being seen by many of the BJP's own supporters as reckless, heartless, and weak. We vow to take our fight to protect bulls from cruelty back to the Supreme Court," said Poorva Joshipura, PETA India CEO.
The reaction comes after the Centre today came out with a notification allowing controversial bull taming sport Jallikattu in poll-bound Tamil Nadu following extensive demand for its restoration by political parties in the state. PETA India has documented that during jallikattu, terrified bulls are often deliberately disoriented through substances like alcohol, have their tails twisted and bitten, stabbed and jabbed by sickles, spears, knives or sticks and also punched, jumped on and dragged to the ground.
And as calculated from various media reports, from 2010 to 2014, there were approximately 1,100 human injuries and 17 deaths as a result of jallikattu-type events including that of a child, the animal rights body said. "Lifting the protection against cruelty that was afforded to bulls is a black mark on our nation, which has always been looked up to by people around the world for our cultural reverence for animals," Joshipura said.
She said that towns in Ecuador, Venezuela, France, Portugal and Colombia have declared themselves to be against bullfighting, and Catalonia, a region in Spain, has banned it. "India will now be considered archaic and backward as sensibilities around the world are changing in favour of animal protection," she said.
PETA India had earlier expressed concern and complained to the Animal Welfare Board of India (ABWI) following remarks by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar who had said that the government will allow jallikattu to continue while ensuring that animals are not subject to cruelty. The ABWI recently advised the environment ministry not to overturn the Supreme Court's judgement which presently bans the bull taming sport 'jallikattu' in Tamil Nadu. PETA India also said that during races, bulls are often hit with nail-studded sticks.
It said that in its judgement, the Supreme Court categorically held that the concerned Ministry cannot allow jallikattu, bull races or bullfights and cannot modify the notification dated July 11, 2011 (which banned forcing bulls to perform) without approval from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). The court had also ruled that cruelty is inherent in these events, as bulls are not anatomically suited for such races and making them participate is subjecting them to unnecessary pain and suffering, PETA said.
The animal rights body said that its online petition that was urging the government to keep the ban on jallikattu, bull races and bullfights had been signed by nearly 60,000 people in India alone.