In spite of it being banned to use bulls as ‘performing animals,’ PETA reveals unethical treatment of the animals in illegal rekla races.

Bulls electrocuted bitten and tortured for rekla races in TN alleges PETA(Pictures by arrangement)
news Animal cruelty Thursday, May 31, 2018 - 17:05

A video expose by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has revealed the shocking exploitative practices meted out to bulls during illegal rekla races held in Tamil Nadu's villages in 2018. Pictures and video evidence show caretakers of the animals electrocuting the bulls, biting their tails and prodding them with sensitive rods in an effort to make them race faster.

The Gazette of India published a notification on 11 July 2011 from the Ministry of Environment and Forests stating that bulls could no longer be used as ‘performing animals,’ meaning that that bull races were banned everywhere in India. Through its judgement on 7 May 2014, the Supreme Court of India confirmed this ban on cruel sports like jallikattu and bull races across the country and observed that bulls aren't anatomically suited to take part in races. While the Tamil Nadu Government passed The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act 2017, allowing jallikattu, this Act didn't overturn the ban on rekla races.

The footage, which PETA says was shot in Dindigul District on January 21 and in Coimbatore District on February 4, shows bulls being electric shocked, pulled by their nose ropes roughly, beaten and jabbed with nail-tipped and pointed, wooden sticks. Bull pairs crashed to the ground and into barricades during the races, and the animals were allegedly denied basic necessities like food, water, and protection from the heat.

"Despite a clear court ruling and the Tamil Nadu government's clarification that bullock races are illegal, racers in Tamil Nadu are electrically shocking bullocks, biting their sensitive tails, and beating them mercilessly in order to force them to run at high speeds on hot tar roads," says PETA India’s Public Policy Lead, Nikunj Sharma. This cruelty was allegedly observed before the race, at the starting line, during the race and at the end of it.

"Before the bulls were taken to the starting line to race, many owners and support staff tortured them by giving them electric shocks using a device that was essentially a nail-studded wooden stick with an electric wire connected to an electric switch box. To agitate the bulls, men slyly approached them from behind and jabbed them with the sticks. One man was filmed giving his bull electric shocks near the anus, a sensitive part of the body. Even just by seeing the device, many bulls got scared and visibly disturbed and unsuccessfully tried to escape being shocked. Only a few owners had the devices, so they were shared among the owners and handlers," states a report given by the organisation.

PETA has written to the Superintendent of Police from all districts in order to prevent such races from taking place in the future. Further, they have requested that strict action be taken against the organisers and participants of such events.

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