There is a battle of sorts raging on in India between supporters of a traditional sport called “JalliKattu” and those who oppose it in the name of animal cruelty and prevention. Unfortunately a overwhelming majority of people from the state of Tamilnadu have taken the position that its their god-given right to participate in the event, and the country’s supreme court would have none of it, and refused to lift the wholesale ban it imposed on the practice.

To give you a background, Jallikattu is a sport, much similar to the Mexican bullfights and the Spanish bull-runs, although its supporters vehemently disagree with this characterization. The game involves a hard to tame bull, which is quite strong and menacing, is let into a circle, and then set up on by a group of men. The goal is to bring the beast down by any means necessary, however, to their credit, no weapons are used. The fight goes on for a while when the terrified bull makes a run for it, and usually ends up goring some of the people involved, before eventually being subdued by the men. For the duration of the event, you can see the sheer terror in his eyes when a bunch of men go after it viciously. Many claim it is just a harmless sport, and I beg to disagree. I think this “Sport” if you can call it that, is an abomination, and belongs in the middle ages, than the modern day India.

Now, given that we live in the wonderful age of misinformation, supporters of “Jallikattu” have let lose a flurry of false claims, and absolute lies to make their case. Even well educated friends of mine are buying into this, and it pains me to see people falling for this propaganda. It would be lot more reasonable to admit that they just like the sport, and they don’t care about anything else. That is a valid argument to an extent, but to stoop to a campaign of lies, threats and emotional exploitation of masses by the supporters of Jallikattu is just plain wrong.

Another unfortunate outcome of this whole saga is the amount of vitriol being spewed at PETA. Who would have thought a benign, well-meaning organisation which is known for fighting for the defenseless animals is being subjected to a torrent of online abuse, followed by death threats to its employees in India. Some politicians are threatening to ban PETA altogether, which only exposes the shameless opportunism by the politicians.

I have responded to a claim against PETA on facebook, and some of the people turned on me. They abuse me, threaten me, and try to use some of those “Fake” propaganda to convince me. Now, I am not saying I am worried or scared of any of these people, and I am pretty sure of their bark being worse than their bite, but I think I still need to explain myself, and also counter the false propaganda. It is impossible to answer each of those threads on facebook, so here is a comprehensive response for most of the debate raging online.

Argument 1:  Jallikattu is a tradition of our people, being practiced for thousands of years. No one has the right to do stop it now.

Answer 1: Just because it was tradition, does not make it right. Remember, not everything in India’s history is to be proud of. We had the most heinous abuse of our own people, sanctioned by our religion. Casteism, which has plagued the so-called lower caste people for centuries, we did get rid of it didn’t we? How about untocuhability?  If we still hang on to those bloody traditions, some of the people fighting alongside you in favor of Jallikattu, they wouldn’t be allowed to touch you, nor to enter your house, nor to enter a TEMPLE to pray to gods. Aren’t we glad we put an end to that “Tradition”. Menstruating women are not allowed in their own homes and are asked to sleep in a hut or dwelling outside the house. Tradition?? New widows were thrown on the funeral pyre of their dead husbands and it took a lot of effort by the British government to end it, again, the logic used by  then defenders of the practice, “Tradition”

Argument 2: If Jallikattu is wrong, then so is killing animals using Halaal, and killing of any animals for food.

Answer 2: Yes, I agree with you. But two wrongs don’t make it right. If someone is committing cruel acts, it doesn’t mean we should do the same. It gives a reason for us to show our better sides. Instead you are arguing for using it as license to do heinous acts ourselves. It shouldn’t be the way of civilized societies. PETA is fighting to reduce meat consumption all over the world, and their demonstrations in the US and UK about the way chickens, pigs and cows are abused is changing the way people look at meats. It changed me from a ravenous carnivore to an indulgent vegetarian. The tide is turning, so give PETA it’s credit.

Argument 3: Indian cows give milk with A2 protein as opposed to A1,  and drinking that milk will cure diabetes.

Answer 3: In legal circles this is called a compound lie. A lie built into another lie. There is no scientific proof that A2 protein is present in Indian cows any more than it is in the western ones. On top of that, if drinking such milk can cure diabetes, how come there are millions of diabetics in India? The whole A2 protein is a marketing gimmick started by American and Australian diary farmers, and now that falsehood is being co-opted by the supporters of Jallikattu. Please don’t fall for it.

Argument 4: PETA is against Jallikattu because once Jallikattu is no longer practiced, farmers won’t raise this particular breed of cows and bulls, which will force India to depend on foreign breeds. PETA’s interest is in encouraging western GMOs so that they can profit by selling cattle breeds in India. This is PETA’s wicked plan against Indian farmers.

Answer 4: Of all the lies being said about PETA, this is the most ridiculous, and most disgusting. This attacks the basic foundation of PETA, and makes them look like they are in the pockets of GMOs, whereas in reality, they are fighting them vigorously over the decades. PETA condemns consumption of all animal products, be it milk, meat, fish. They also fight against leather products like handbags made of leather. So, to claim that they are against Jallikattu because of their secret agenda to push foreign cattle breeds in India is perhaps the worst kind of lie ever. While on the subject, if farmers in this state are not interested in this breed of cattle unless they can particiapate in this sport, doesn’t it reveal how hollow their argument is about saving this breed. If it worth saving, shouldn’t they do it irrespective of this sport? Why do it only if they can participate in this sport? PETA are not going to come after you if you just raise those animals, what’s stopping you?  It is just a lame excuse and you know it.

How is Jallikattu going to help state’s farmers?

Argument 5: The animals are not scared, nor are they harmed in any of these events. The men are only holding their humps, and their horns in order to subdue them. The animals don’t feel a thing.

Answer 5: If you honestly believe that, please indulge me, and go and find someone really strong and muscular. Now ask that person to hold your head in vice grip, and drag you around for ten, fifteen minutes. At the end of the fifteen minutes, if you still feel normal and happy, then let me know. I will happily change my position. Some people are even claiming that these animals love being subjected to this experience. Not from the pictures I have seen of them. Imagine a group of rapists using the same logic, “We are not molesting her, we are just taming her into submission.”  If we can’t let the latter happen, we shouldn’t let the former either.

How is any of this not cruel?

Some of you may be offended by my arguments and my support for PETA. I am not saying PETA is the best organization in the world, and this article is not even to defend them. This is my humble request for all of you to look into your hearts and find that compassion. Even if you couldn’t, the least you can do is to question the undeniable falsehoods being propagated in the service of supporting this vile sport.  Do NOT LET THEM INSULT YOUR INTELLIGENCE.  Judge the facts for yourself, and make up your own minds. We have a million real, tangible problems in our country, and it kills me inside to see our youth squandering their energy on something so futile and cruel.

 

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