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Ban Jallikattu or Ban Ban Jallikattu?

Ban Jallikattu or Ban Ban Jallikattu?

Meghna ‘Phoenix’ Ghatak

Jallikattu (image source -

The demonstration of domination of a ‘supposedly’ untamed beast to cheering spectators has always boosted the ego of men since the initial establishment of human settlements.  While in ancient India, Harappan seals indicate the presence of a bull taming ritual, American settlements in Arizona has been celebrating ostrich racing festivals since the very start and wild west still celebrates bareback bronc riding. All of these historic events have faced criticism from animal welfare activists internationally as bulls, ostriches and horses are broken by professional/amateur riders, by hanging on to their bodies in a stubborn manner. Participants in these sports have precariously risked serious injury as well as death to emerge victorious over the scared, jittery beasts with rules meant to favor the humans. 
Harappan seal featuring bull fighting

In all of the forms of rodeo sports, the said animal(s) is/are released onto the participants, or an arena with/without a jockey trying to ride the animal(s) long enough to fetch a prize either tied its/their body or later on. The animals that survive the sport fetch a good amount and are used as champion breed for mating or are killed at slaughterhouses.  Interestingly, the animals used in all rodeo sports are specially trained and endorsed by various ranches; they are even given weird names for the media and their biders. They are a source of livelihood for many, in the form of animal handling, husbandry, and hospitality and let’s not forget the artistry that goes into the rustic decorations.  
Bareback Bronc riding

PETA, though criticized frequently for raising its voice against Jallikattu rituals that place in India in Tamil Nadu’s Avaniyapuram, Avaniyapuram and Palamedu in Madurai. According to the news sources, more than 2,000 bulls participate in Jallikattu, which means bull embracing, held from 14th January to 17th January this year, as a part of Pongal celebrations. After investigating the sport rituals for years, PETA threw light on the violence inflicted on the bulls in order to provoke them for a better show which led to a ban in 2014 (which was revoked with certain condition in 2016). Other rodeo sport animals have also reported exhaustion, severe punishment on non cooperation, injuries and death which are a direct violation of India’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
Coimbatore’s Balakumar Somu advocates on banning every rodeo sport that inflicts pain to the animals or none at all, for a lot of rural communities depend upon these festivals for their livelihood. He said that a winning bull in Jallikattu can fetch a farmer 2 lakhs and above while the event itself can fetch the village 15 lakhs and above, for the festival is a platform for them to find buyers. A farmer buys a calf for ten to twenty thousand rupees, takes the utmost care for 18 months to raise him and when the bull matures enough, he is sold in the competition to rich buyers who employ workers to care for the bull. While the organizers spend a hefty sum to prepare the ground and gifts for the annual festival, it’s a year round affair for the Tamil farmers; hence a cultural heritage for them.
Ostrich racing

Despite replacement by toy rodeos at fairs and amusement parks where competitions challenge the competitive ego, these age old sports still draw major crowds. The ethical question that arises here is the way the animals are pushed into the sports against their basal nature amidst loud noises and manhandling crowds. Will it be so difficult to provide different sources of live hood to the rural communities dependent on the conduction of these ‘cultural’ sports? If conducted, can they be done humanely, without inflicting pain and stress, by providing better care to even the animals who lose? It is never an easy step for the humans to put themselves in the hooves of their own captive bovine to understand the impact of their own actions on the environment. We talk of building a better future for our children and yet we, the most learned generation in the history, ignore the environmental encroachment and depletion issues ever threatening to worsen due to lack of proper action.

Will we ever come to term with the ban? If not, then what?


  1. Boasting of ego MUST NOT involve the lives of innocent animals.

  2. I am an animal lover and I have tried my very best to help as many animals as I can. I do not and will never approve of such practice.

    I have a blog (still new) and I also write about my pets. I hope you can find some time to head over to my site, too. (


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