What anti-Jallikattu lobby wants: Eat your chicken, don’t play with it

By: | Updated: January 19, 2017 4:40 PM

It takes tremendous hypocritical conviction to fight for the "rights" of one animal and eat others. It seems, people opposed to Tamil Nadu's ancient bullfight practice, popularly known as Jallikattu, have it in them.

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It takes tremendous hypocritical conviction to fight for the “rights” of one animal and eat others. It seems, people opposed to Tamil Nadu’s ancient bullfight practice, popularly known as Jallikattu, have it in them — a lot of hypocrisy. Consider this: In November 2015, Ingrid Newkirk, animal rights activist and founder of the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), appreciated Maharashtra government’s decision to impose a ban on cow slaughter.

Even as the state government’s decision irked many across the country, Newkirk was quoted as saying by Deccan Chronicle: “I’ve been told that it was done with religious motivations, but considering the cruelty meted out to these animals, it is also necessary. In fact, why stop at beef? I wish more religions had sentiments towards chicken, pork and all kinds of meat.”

The beef ban was seen by many as an assault on people’s right to eat. No wonder it led to widespread protests. Come 2017, some of the same individuals, who would frown over a ban on cow slaughter, think the ancient sport of Jallikattu is an archaic practice, a cruelty towards the bull. Their hypocrisy can be summed up in a sentence: Eat your chicken, don’t play with it. One wonders if organisations like PETA can move the court to save bulls, why can’t it do the same for other animals like cows, chicken, ducks, goats, pigs and fish.

PETA is leading the anti-Jallikattu lobby. Along with Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), PETA had moved the Supreme Court against the practice of Jallikattu, which is organised on Pongal every year in Tami Nadu. In its judgement on May 2014, the Supreme Court banned used of bulls in Jallikattu, bull races, bullfights or any other type of performance. The apex court had also trashed the Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Regulation Act 2009 that had made Jallikattu.

Modi government on January 7 issued a notification allowing Jallikattu with a condition that the animal should be saved from cruelty. However, PETA and AWBI again moved the apex court and got a stay on Centre’s notification.

While the matter is still sub-judice, widespread protests have erupted over the issue in Tamil Nadu. Jallikattu supporters have demanded an Ordinance on the matter from Centre but PETA is gearing up to fight against any such Ordinance.

In its bid to “protect the bull”, PETA is asking people to sign a petition on its website. It argues, “PETA India has documented that during Jallikattu, terrified bulls are often deliberately disoriented by being given substances like alcohol; having their tails twisted and bitten; being stabbed and jabbed by sickles, spears, knives or sticks; and being punched, jumped on and dragged to the ground. During races, bulls are often hit with nail-studded sticks. In bullfights, a round ends when one of the bulls manages to flee or is killed.”

“Lifting the protection against cruelty to bulls would be a black mark on our nation, which has always been looked up to by people around the world for our cultural reverence for animals.”

The letter doesn’t make it clear if PETA is against the sport per se or cruelty to bulls or it just wants a closure to one of India’s ancient cultural tradition. As far as cruelty to bulls is concerned, the Centre had already taken care of it in the January 7 notification. Yet it couldn’t satisfy the anti-Jallikattu lobby.

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