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Save India's Native Breeds - Cattle & Save Jallikattu

This petition had 4,333 supporters

Shri. Narendra Modi
Honourable Prime Minister of India
Prime Minister’s office
North Block
New Delhi

Respectable honorable prime minister

Sir, kindly go through our appeal to allow “Jallikattu” an ancient sport of India and which conserves native animals. Please do the needful to save our precious animal genetic resources.

Yours truly
Indian Citizen's


The sport of Jalli Kattu (Bull vaulting) part of the annual Pongal (harvest festival) of Tamil Nadu is a celebration of livestock, the farmer’s main support system. There are a number of indigenous breeds like Puliakulam, Malai Maadu, Umbalachery, Kangayam, Alambadi and Barugur bulls which are fast disappearing. The bull-vaulters are mostly farmhands, in peak physical condition and with electric swift reflexes. Jalli Kattu is a celebration of such Indian breeds of cattle.

Jalli Kattu is symbolic of the intimate bond between cattle and agriculturalists. The fourth day of the Pongal festival is geared towards livestock. The animals are bathed, scrubbed and their horns painted. The sport consists of holding on to the hump of the bull and running along with it for a given distance usually about 20-30 meters which is covered in barely 10-20 seconds. During Jalli Kattu, the bulls are not harmed, or tormented. Unlike the Spanish sport, there is NO fighting the bull at all. In fact one of the main rules of Jalli Kattu is that even one drop of the blood of the ox cannot be spilt which is strictly followed by the organizers.

Ancient Heritage-our culture
Jalli Kattu is an ancient sport. The seals of the Indus Valley Civilization depict this sport which is proof that this sport was in vogue 5000 years ago. Standard texts on Indus civilization provide this information. Ancient Tamil poetry, known as Sangam literature (2nd BCE- 2nd CE), has many detailed references to this sport. It was called Eru Thazhuvuthal (hugging the bull). See Kalithokai, Sangam Literature. In an ancient Tamil text called Tirukkural, education is considered to be wealth and the word used for wealth is Madu, meaning cattle. So it has a socio-cultural connotation which denotes lives and livestock having co-existed and cultures having coined usages around them.

These are concrete evidences to prove that this has been part of the long Heritage of our country. One strong characteristic of life in India is the persistence of certain social institutions, the origins of which are lost in pre-history. Though the profile of these practices change, they retain their essential features. Jalli Kattu is one such Previous heritage that has been preserved over millennia and our duty is to take this forward. Of course we should have rules and restrictions for the conduct of the event but Jalli Kattu should go on.

Biological Conventions
According to principles 1,2 & 3 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to which India is a signatory states, Livestock Keepers are creators of breeds and custodians of animal genetic resources for food and agriculture; Livestock Keepers and the sustainable use of traditional breeds are dependent on the conservation of their respective ecosystems; Traditional breeds represent collective property, products of indigenous knowledge and cultural expression of Livestock Keepers.

Our Appeal
Invoking legal status of nation’s signatory to Convention on Biological Diversity and Heritage status nation’s worldwide practices, it is customary that these ancient traditional practices are left as they are but with rules to organize them.

If this sport is banned, livestock keepers will be forced to abandon the raising of native livestock, which already stand threatened due to extensive use of motor pumps, tractors and mechanized agriculture. If the sport is banned it would be a death knell on the native species. There are many such intangible threats that dictate the continuation of the livestock.

People who want a ban on this are unfortunately far removed from village life and do not know how this chain works. They are rather not only cut off from these realities but also see this event in isolation from the chain. It is imperative to educate them to understand the significance.

It is in our sincere attempt to save the traditional breeds from disappearing, we appeal to you to kindly consider our request to not ban the event and allow this traditional practice. The summary is as follows:

1. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) supports traditional practices to keep the chain intact and thus enables conversation of native breeds
2. As an ancient nation and an ancient practice this our Heritage and should be seen as one and hence we should to preserve it
3. There is no torture of any animal of any sort and the evidence of which can be seen from live telecast made by media. The time a bull engaged in the sport is less than 30 seconds.
4. Rules can be implemented for safety of animals and men if required
5. We have lost many breeds and we can’t afford to lose any further. It will be a loss to the Nation otherwise.


What is Jalli Kattu?
The term Jalli Kattu means tying the coin. In the olden days a gold coin, wrapped in a piece of cloth was tied to the horns and the tackler, hung on to the hump of the bull and untied the knot to get the prize. Now a token cloth is tied in the horns which the tacker collects as a trophy. The focal point of the event is vaadivasal, the entrance. The bulls are let through this entrance, into the track, where the bull-vaulters wait. The track is usually the main street of the village, with the side lanes blocked. The event begins with the visit of the village elders, led by a band drummer, to the temple of the village deity. It is part of the culture of Village deities of Tamil Nadu which does not have a priestly class and is egalitarian. Today, highly educated modern youngsters from these villages are involved in the sport.

Indispensability of Native Breeds- Cattle as Wealth
Native Cattle have evolved over millennia adapting to the local environmental conditions. They are an integral part of farming especially for small and marginal farmers as they serve multiple purposes like ploughing, transportation, source for farmyard manure, organic treatments like Panchagavya, Jeevamritham and source of A2 milk. The native cattle are both an input as well as insurance to the livestock keepers. In ancient Tamil and Sanskrit literature cattle is considered as wealth. Cattle was measured as a unit of wealth. In an ancient Tamil text called Tirukkural, education is considered to be wealth and the word used for wealth is Madu, meaning cattle. So it has a socio-cultural connotation which denotes lives and livestock having co-existed and cultures having coined usages around them.

What it (Jalli Kattu) is not?
In Spain during their traditional bull fight, the bull is baited, tortured and killed at the end. On the other hand, Jalli Kattu is not a sport where bulls are tortured or subjected to insult. Rather they are treated with reverence and raised with pride.

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