Following a complaint from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India about a recent statement made by Prakash Javadekar, the Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, promising to allow jallikattu in Tamil Nadu, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has reportedly advised the Ministry not to overturn the Supreme Court judgement which currently bans the sport.
The advisory to the Secretary of the Ministry from the Convenor of the AWBI's legal sub-committee expressed shock and deep concern about the media reports regarding Mr Javadekar's promise to issue an executive order to allow jallikattu, bull races and similar events. The advisory said:
The AWBI's opinion with respect to events such as jallikattu, bullock carts races, kambala, and all similar events, and the cruelty perpetrated on animals forced to participate in the same (by the very act of participation), is the same today, as it has always been. They are illegal, and have been struck down by the Supreme Court as illegal and unconstitutional. You are therefore requested to urge the Minister to refrain from taking any step to "allow" any such eventâ€¦
The AWBI also noted that the Ministry was a party to the Animal Welfare Board of India vs A Nagaraja and Others litigation and had said everything that Mr Javadekar is now reported to be saying. The advisory states the following:
However, the Hon'ble Supreme Court had REJECTED the submissions made by the MOEF [MEF&CC] in no uncertain terms, and held that to continue with "customs" that perpetuate cruelty on animals is in fact a blatant violation of the law of this country, and is not in consonance with our Constitution and the ideals it embodies.
"Lifting the protection against cruelty that's currently afforded to bulls or other animals would be a black mark on our nation, which has always been looked up to by people around the world because of our cultural reverence for animals", said PETA India Chief Executive Officer Poorva Joshipura, in a a press release, "Towns in Colombia, Ecuador, France, Portugal and Venezuela have declared that they are against bullfighting, and Catalonia, a region in Spain, has banned it."
According to PETA, in just four years, from 2010 to 2014, approximately 1,100 injuries to humans were reported by the media as a result of jallikattu-type events, and 17 people died. PETA also said that AWBI inspection reports proved beyond doubt that the bulls were subjected to cruelty, and that two bulls even died during jallikattu events in 2014.