The cruelty towards bulls through the ancient sport of 'Jallikattu' was protested against by activists of the animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Organised as part of the January harvest festival of Pongal, Jallikattu is India's version of the running of the bulls which takes place every year in the Spanish city of Pamplona.
AdvertisementFighters and muscular wild bulls-often pepped up with large amounts of homemade liquor-dash after each other on the streets of Tamil Nadu.
Unlike the Spanish version of the sport, the aim is not to kill the bulls but to dominate and tame them, and pluck away bundles of money or other treats tied to their specially sharpened horns.
The organiser of the protest, PETA India, Bhuvaneshwari Gupta, urged the provincial government to immediately stop the cruel game.
"Tamilians are themselves against Jallikattu. We do not want Jallikattu to take place because it is a black spot in our culture. It is a very very cruel game, which has already been banned by the Ministry of Environment and Forest in 2011. Inspite of that the Tamil Nadu Government is allowing Jallikattu to take place. So, we as Tamilians are doing the protest here today to urge to the Tamil Nadu Government that the game should be immediately stopped as we do not want Jallikattu to take place any more," said Gupta.
Gupta said that despite being banned by the Ministry of Environment and Forest in 2011, the government has allowed the game to take place.
The Animal Welfare Board has also criticised the festival, saying men beat the animals and throw burning chilli powder in their eyes, ears and mouth to enrage them.
The Supreme Court banned Jallikattu in 2007, saying it was cruel and not in keeping with what it described as the country's non-violent traditions.
But that ban was watered down, and the court said the popular sport could be held under strict government vigil.
Fighters and spectators have been gored or trampled to death, and the number of injured fighters has often run into the hundreds. The festival has been marketed as a tourist attraction in recent years.
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