Owners of bulls trained for the sport must be well compensated so that the animals are not sent for slaughter, say activists
Animal rights groups in the country have welcomed the Supreme Court judgement banning use of bulls in events like Jallikattu, a traditional bull-taming festival in Tamil Nadu.
The apex court, while delivering its judgment on May 7, has very clearly said that all living creatures, including animals, have inherent dignity and rights to live peacefully and protect their well-being. The court has directed the governments and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to prevent infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering on animals. The court has banned bullfights and bullock cart race too.
The court order came on an appeal filed by AWBI and People for Ethical Treatment to Animals (PETA), a group working for the rights of the animals, against a judgment delivered by the Madras High Court in July 11, 2012, allowing the sport to continue.
"This is a landmark victory for the animals in India. Year after year, court guidelines and laws were violated during Jallikattu and bull races, and countless bulls and people have suffered and even painfully died," said PETA India director of Veterinary Affairs, Manilal Valliyate, in a statement.
"This is indeed a remarkable judgement that ascertains the rights of the animlas to live in dignity," said an elated Naresh Kadyan, founder of People for Animals, a Haryana-based animal rights group. Bulls are engaged in events in other states too, including Haryana, Punjab and
Jammu-Kashmir, he pointed out. "The tragedy is that even the local bodies and NGOs organise bullfights," he said.
The apex court has observed that violent events and festivals like Jallikattu involving animals violate Section 3 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, which prohibits causing pain and suffering to animals. These events are organised not for the welfare of the animals but for the enjoyment of the human beings, particularly
the organisers and the spectators, the court has observed.
In July 2011, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) included bulls in the list of the animals that should not be trained or tamed as performing animals. "However, under pressure from the bull-event organisers, MoEF decided to exclude bull from the list," said Kadyan. According to him, there are 500 bulls registered as performing animals with the Animal Welfare Board of India, and out of these 100 are in Tamil Nadu.
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Since the ban will make the performing bulls jobless and there is a possibility of the animals ending up in slaughter houses, the bulls need to be protected and the owners of the
animals have to be compensated, said Kadyan.
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