Culture of India Polity

The Supreme Court supports the TN stand on Jallikattu

  • The Supreme Court Constitution Bench affirmed the changes to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, made by Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Karnataka.
  • The judgement overturns an earlier ruling that prohibited traditional bull-taming practises such as Jallikattu.

Reversing the earlier decision

  • The court overturned the Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja decision from 2014, which declared Jallikattu incompatible with animal rights.
  • Jallikattu has been a part of Tamil Nadu’s cultural history for at least a century, according to the Constitution Bench.

The Importance of Pongal and Jallikattu

  • Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu, with ceremonies honouring livestock and appreciation for a successful harvest.
  • Jallikattu, or bull-taming, is an important feature of the celebration, demonstrating the power and expertise of farm workers in southern Tamil Nadu.
  • The 2014 Supreme Court decision and its implications for animal rights
  • The earlier two-judge Bench decision emphasised the significance of animal rights and proposed upgrading them to the level of constitutional rights.
  • Animal rights groups revealed proof of physical and mental suffering done on animals during Jallikattu.

The sport’s problem

  • An investigation by the Animal Welfare Board of India concluded that “Jallikattu is inherently cruel to animals”.
  • Human deaths: The event has resulted in multiple human deaths and injuries, as well as several bull fatalities.
  • Animal mistreatment: Concerns about animal welfare arise from the handling of bulls before they are released, as well as during the competitor’s attempts to control the bull.
  • Animal cruelty: Prior to the bull’s release, practises include prodding the bull with sharp rods or scythes, excessive bending of the tail, which can fracture the vertebrae, and biting the bull’s tail.
  • Animal intoxication: There have also been tales of bulls being made to drink alcohol in order to disorient them, or having chilli peppers put in their eyes in order to agitate the bull.

Arguments in favour

  • Native breed conservation: It is not a recreational sport, but rather a strategy to promote and preserve native cattle, according to its proponents.
  • Jallikattu was known to be practised throughout the Tamil classical period (400-100 BCE) and is mentioned in Sangam texts.
  • Man-animal interaction: Some people believe that the sport represents a friendly man-animal relationship.
  • Agrarian pride is a cultural impediment to metropolitan modernity that marginalises rural and agrarian values.

@the end

  • Tradition and culture should be addressed in the rights discourse, with the cultural context of practises such as Jallikattu recognised.
  • A balanced approach requires engagement and dialogue between animal rights campaigners and local culture and tradition.
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