Please Help Save Humanity - Uphold the Ban on Jallikattu.
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As a concerned citizen, I am worried about the current state of affairs in India. Culture and traditions are important to preserve but not at the cost of defenseless beings. Child marriage was part of our tradition and was rightfully banned to protect the defenseless children. Similarly, many cruel practices that abuse animals for human pleasure were banned at various stages throughout our proud history. One such cruel practice is Jallikattu, which is nicknamed as a sport in Tamil Nadu. Under this cruel practice, a bull is agonized and abused by scores of men at once, while thousands watch. The supporters of this cruel practice call it bull taming or bonding with the animal. Whatever name is given to such practice, subjecting an unsuspecting animal to such intensity and fear is abuse!
The people of Tamil Nadu want the ban reversed so they could continue to abuse these animals for the viewing pleasure of thousands. The recent protests in Tamil Nadu to reverse this ban on Jallikattu were applauded by many celebrities throughout India. While the way in which these protests were generally conducted is commendable, it would be a grave disservice to our nation and humankind not to recognize that the primary cause for these non-violent protests was to encourage violence against animals. The future of any nation is represented by its youth and this past week of protests displayed just that - India's future - while destined for greatness - will be tainted by animal cruelty and our blatant disregard for animal welfare.
I have received many articles over the past few weeks from the supporters of this practice to explain the benefits of Jallikattu and how these bulls are loved and regarded as family by the participants. While I appreciate the information provided and the sentiments of these people, it is extremely important to note that no amount of personal, emotional, or financial gain would justify abusing defenseless animals.
One of the most commonly repeated arguments for this cruel practice is that the sport gives the bulls a purpose to live and if the sport is banned, these bulls would instead be sent to the slaughterhouse. The same people also suggest that these animals are raised and considered family and hence, the "minor" inconvenience is justified. So, in other words, these bulls will not be loved or treated as family members if they do not participate in an unfair fighting ring and bring home money and/or glory. Now, if they are really family, would they establish conditions in exchange for food and love? Isn’t this the definition of falsehood? You either love and respect animals or abuse them for profits.
The other argument in support of this cruel tradition is the nationalist argument. The foreign MNCs want the Indian native breeds to be extinct so we would be forced to purchase the milk produced from foreign dairy farms that do not predominantly produce milk that is rich in A2 protein or we would be forced to resort to “expensive” procedures such as artificial insemination. Either procedure would result in switching the revenue from the Indian farmer to the foreign dairy industry. While it is reasonable and commendable to support and encourage Indian farmers over a considerably larger dairy industry, it is also important to not abuse an animal for the benefit of our fellow human beings.
If the supporters of Jallikattu are genuinely concerned and interested in saving the native breeds, then we, as a nation, should surely be able to strategically improve the livelihood of our farmers and protect the native bulls from extinction, without subjecting the animals to pain and suffering. For example, the central government could surely find a way to impose taxes on the dairy industry and provide subsidies to local farmers raising and respectfully breeding the native animals. Of course to do this would require the officials to be out of the lobbyists’ pockets. One other way to demand such law might require protests, similar to the ones we have just witnessed- but only if the ‘so-called’ supporters of the native breeds really do care for the protection of the species.
There are also arguments being made that the practice of Jallikattu does not involve cruelty towards animals. The supporters claim that the sport instead builds a bond between the bull and the man. The supporters of this cruel practice have also raised comparisons between this practice to other violent sports such as boxing and martial arts. The problem with such arguments is that while the men have consented to participate in this practice (sport), the bull (animal) has not. Simple logic and some common sense would suggest that involving animals and humans in high-intensity events could easily result in casualties on either side. While the eventual goal would be to limit all such interactions, each individual step towards this goal should be welcomed as a victory. Un-banning one practice because other such activities are still practiced is a step backward and the argument to do so is ludicrous.
As such, the argument to reverse the ban on Jallikattu in India because bullfighting or horse racing is legal in many parts of the world carries no merit and should be struck down. The same principle applies to celebrities and other supporters arguing to legalize animal abuse because consuming certain meat products is considered legal.
While it is important to note and recognize the power of unity in peaceful protests, it is equally important to note that cruelty is never an option or a solution to any problem, however challenging it may be. Reversing the ban on Jallikattu can also be viewed as a slippery slope to open the floodgates to reverse & undermine the hard work of many great leaders. This ordinance can set precedence to request reversal on bans of other medieval practices such as cockfighting, kambala, child marriage, etc. If our energy and unity could be diverted to find a peaceful solution, I remain optimistic that this great nation can lead the rest of the world in animal welfare and kindness.
As an optimist and believer in the democratic system, I am urging the people of this nation to end animal abuse and cruelty and begin treating all animals as fellow beings. I am also respectfully requesting the honorable President of India and the Honorable Prime Minister to consider this plea to uphold the Supreme Court ban on the cruel practice of Jallikattu and restore humanity.
A concerned citizen
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