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The Hindu

Article Summary   by:anil ekbote    
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Is animal sport cruel? This question came up in India after a boy died while watching the sport ‘jallikattu’, a traditional rural game of taming a bull.The game popular in Tamil Nadu State of India consists of an open challenge to tame a wild bull left on the streets. As daring young men voluntarily try their hand bravely, thousands of onlookers lining the street look on and cheer in frenzy. During one such event the angry bull had hit an on looking boy, who later died of injuries. A single judge of the Madras High Court heard the case and passed a judgment directing the State government to prevent cruelty to animals in games such as jallikattu (bull taming), rekela (bullock cart racing), oxen race and other such rural sports. Subsequently the case came on appeal before a Division Bench of the Madras High Court.The Animal Welfare Board had impleaded itself as a party in the case and argued that jallikattu was not a religious practice of the Hindus, the Muslims or the Christians, the three major religions of India. Even if it were to be a religious practice, it should have been eradicated pursuant to the enactment of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The event could not be supported by terming it as ‘custom’ because many customs have been obliterated for a social cause. Harming animals was an offense and the police were required to arrest the guilty, the counsel had said.The Counsel arguing in favour of the sporting events claimed that in jallikattu the bulls were not at all harmed as only unarmed tamers were allowed to participate. The Division Bench stayed the order of the single judge and directed that interests of the participants and the bulls be safeguarded.
Published: January 17, 2007   
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