Central notification unyokes bulls from jallikattu

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At last, it appears, bullocks have earned the freedom they deserve.

The recent Central government notification can unyoke the beasts of burden from the cruelty meted out by people in different parts of the country.

It may come as a huge blow to those who patronize jallikkattu in Tamil Nadu and races involving bullocks including cart-race, maramadi, and kannutheli in different parts of Kerala.

The notification was issued by the ministry of environment and forests on July 11 in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 22 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.

Accordingly, the ministry has now included bullock in the category of performing animals alongside bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and lions which can’t be exhibited or trained for public entertainment.

Elephant Lovers’ Association secretary V.Venkitachalam welcoming the Central government notification, however, said the new regulation should be enforced in letter and spirits.

“We’ve already written to the chief secretary, Government of Kerala, to end the cruelty that bullocks in the state are put through,” Venkitachalam told Deccan Chronicle.

He, however, expressed his disappointment in not including captive elephants in the notification. “Everyone knows captive elephants here are much abused. But, it’s surprising they’re not included in the list,” he said.

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Idukki district president M.N.Jayachandran said SPCA had been campaigning against all forms of public entertainment using bullocks.

“Our efforts have borne fruit. But, it’s still distressing to see captive elephants could still be trained and exhibited. We’ll continue our fight to bring them under the ambit of this latest notification”, he said.

Though, animal rights activists are enthused about the notification, at the end of the day, its effective implementation would largely depend on the will of the authorities concerned.

This is particularly so, in the case of Tamil Nadu where politicians compete with each other in projecting and promoting jallikkattu as part of the distinct Dravidian culture.

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