Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Editorial, "INDIAN FESTIVAL SPORTS AND CRUELTY TO ANIMALS," in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 15 January 2017, Volume 13, Part 1, No. 1 issue

Indian Festival Sports and Cruelty to Animals

Not without profound wisdom did the saying, “Man is the most cruel animal on earth,” emerge and we see the whole history of human civilization full of gruesome bloodsheds in genocidal conflicts leading to extermination of big chunks of its own species and in egregious cruelty toward and extinction of countless bio-species. The very conduct of taming and making pets/draught animals of various animals and birds is doubtless much cruelty to them; one shudders to even think of what would be our ‘fate’ if those species were to grow more intelligent/powerful and retaliate in kind on us.  This much clearly said, it is also to be clarified that the sport of ‘Jallikattu’ which has been considered as involving cruelty to animals and its conduct provisionally banned by the Apex Court does not in fact involve any stark cruelty to animals, save that perpetrated in taming animals and, moreover, has assumed the nature of a cultural tradition cherished and now being assiduously agitated for by Tamil people. It has already been clarified in this journal earlier that “Jallikattu is a traditional sport of running with and catching bulls let loose wildly on the occasion of crops festival (Sankranthi/Pongal) days in some parts of Tamil Nadu and also in some villages of Chittoor district … … more euphorically held in Tamil Nadu with people’s emotions and sentiments attached to it. Bulls are only tamed but not killed unlike in the Spanish and French bullfights. Rather, the bull tamers often get injured and at times some even get killed. When the European Courts themselves allow the sanguine sport of bullfighting in the name of artistic expression and longstanding local tradition, there was no reason for our Apex Court to insist on banning it. The same argument holds for the cock fights held in many Telugu districts during Sankranti festivals, though those appear bloodier and one of the cocks is almost invariably killed. But then, we cannot also overlook that chicken [meat] is one of the choicest meats cherished by a big majority of the people in India, and crores of those birds are artificially reared in poultry farms and cruelly killed in huge abattoirs. So are lakhs of cattle, especially buffaloes, killed “in revolting manner in big mechanized slaughter houses and their meat exported abroad to make … India the largest exporter of beef in the world all this done legally without any scruples or any real protest/resistance from the so-called societies for prevention of cruelty to animals or any administrative/ judicial bodies. So, the best solution lies in Courts not banning those, but directing the framing of strict regulations to eliminate, to the utmost extent possible, the cruelty and other related vices in their conduct. §§§

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