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Jallikattu vs so called “concerned” people about animals

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Jallikattu (ஜல்லிகட்டு) is a tradition that is held annually in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. This tradition goes back to about 3000 years. Also known as Eru Thazhuvuthal, Jallikattu this is not a sport but a tradition where, in simple terms a bundle of coins is tied on the horns of the bulls. Men show their physical strength and abilities and try to hold on the hump of the bull with bare hands (no weapons or any kind of external aid is used). It runs till the bundle is removed. If the person is able to pull this above feat off; the person is the winner else bull takes the prize. This is what I as someone who has only seen this tradition on TV and is from the northern part of India is able to gather.

I have heard many concerned people about animal welfare and treatment saying an absurd thing, “Has anyone asked how the bulls feel or what is the bulls opinion?”. I have a question for them: Have you for once ever talked to any bull or animal, for that matter, and have been able to actually understand what the animal is saying and translate it into human speech, being 100% sure of it and it can be verified? I guess most of these animal well wishers will be scratching their heads to find a way to twist and turn this question into something else and divert the argument. People who are closest to the animal, understand them the best. And they are none other than those who own them i.e. the villagers and not the activists siting in their AC rooms and commenting. Also have these people ever visited a slaughter house? Have they ever bought fresh meat from roadside shops themselves where pieces of meat is hanging in open air? They, instead, send their workers to buy and then happily eat Pork Vindaloo, Butter Chicken etc. I would suggest these concerned personalities to once go to butcher shop at the time when a fresh animal is being slaughtered for the day’s business. They will understand what cruelty towards animals is. Also if they are so concerned about animal cruelty, why not ban rearing of animals for meat. If someone wants to eat meat they can hunt, that way even the animals will have the fair chance of fighting for their lives and voicing their opinions on whether they want to become your food or not, I am sure they will have no problems with that right.

Reasons for banning Jallikattu has little to no merit in lowering consumption of animal meat. It would be reduced to only certain occasions/festivals/traditions. It has valid points because not only does meat consumption is animal slaughter but also it has detrimental effects on the environment and some of these are already visible. I remember I read in E.ed subject in college about the 10% energy rule which states that as we move up the food chain the energy transferred is only 1/10 of the total energy produced at the previous stage. This shows that eating meat does not give us more energy than eating veggies so for those who say that meat eating is necessary for survival, rest assured you will not die if you stop eating meat. Not only you will reduce carbon emissions in the environment but also cause less animal cruelty and torture (two birds with one stone). Some of these links will give better view on how the food consumed by us effects the environment (do not skip these links):

Food’s Carbon Footprint

Effects of fisheries on marine ecosystems: A conservationist’s perspective

The effects of fishing on marine ecosystems

Oceans absorbs less carbon dioxide as marine systems change

There is also the argument that certain regulations should be made and then this tradition should be conducted. As far as I know any ancient tradition in our culture always has certain guidelines that are mentioned in our texts. If regulations are indeed needed, follow these guidelines as set by our ancestors regarding the tradition. No need for new rules and regulations. If there are no existing guidelines mentioned in our texts; regulations can be made without destroying the principles of the tradition. As far as malpractice is concerned, local bodies and people should work in conjugation with law and police to apprehend the perpetrators. Strict action should be taken so that such cases do not occur in the future. Also the regulations should only be formulated by those who know and have experienced Jallikattu and not by those who only sit in AC rooms and tweet aka armchair experts.

I am also hearing many people taking it as “Tamil tradition vs the north”, “North does not understand the South”, “People in the north do not understand Jallikattu” etc. Well I understand it as much as I have been able to and I believe my friends understand as well. Henceforth I would humbly request people to refer Jallikattu as an Indian tradition practiced during the festival of Pongal in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. Jallikattu is as an Indian festival as Diwali/Dussehra/Onam etc. is. So please do not make it a north vs south debate.

As for banning PETA, I for once think that banning PETA is not the solution though it may act as short term measure. If PETA goes; another one similar to PETA will come. Certain rules/regulations/laws/legislation should be made and stringently implemented so that organisations such as these do not destroy traditions and culture in the name of animal welfare, hypocrisy etc.

Last but not the least for those wanting a cruelty free world for animals, I would suggest they forget this fairy tale dream because the world, believe it or not, is inherently cruel. Tiger kills deer, humans kills animals and plants in order to survive. We kill because if we do not kill the plant or if the tiger does not kill the deer; then neither we nor the tiger will survive. We cannot manufacture food from the environment like plants do. That is why in our tradition we not only thank god but also the earth, fire, animal, plants and every aspect of the nature. We do not believe in absolute since. The world itself is not absolute. Balance is what we aim for. Its high time we start trying to achieve this balance.

P.S.  If anyone says that Jallikattu is upsetting the balance of the environment, I would suggest to compare the numbers of Jallikattu and that of meat industry and then discuss animal welfare.

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