Banning Jallikattu Will Undermine Tamil Nadu’s Indigenous Cattle Breeds

If the sport is banned, farmers will be forced to abandon the raising of native livestock, which already stands threatened due to the extensive use of motor pumps, tractors and mechanised agriculture.

The bulls in Alanganallur came out of the vaadi vaasal (entry door) at high speed. Only a quarter of the contestants were able to hang on to the bull and win the contest. Credit: Vinoth Chandar/Flickr CC 2.0

The bulls in Alanganallur came out of the vaadi vaasal (entry door) at high speed. Only a quarter of the contestants were able to hang on to the bull and win the contest. Credit: Vinoth Chandar/Flickr CC 2.0

Note: This article was first published on January 13, 2016. 

Imagine this scene a few thousand years ago in the Indus Valley region. A group of herders out grazing a few hundred cattle, enjoying the warm sun on their backs with the occasional cry of a calf seeking its mother and the mother guiding it. The whole herd is on the move as the lazy day passes by.

Suddenly a bull decides to run astray. With wild animals lurking, there is the danger of the herd breaking up into smaller groups. A young herder emerges and chases the bull. Bulls being males high on testosterone run quite fast and finally the herder catches up with it. He lunges forward and holds onto the hump of the bull. The hump is a unique feature of Bos Indicus cattle. He manages to hold onto the hump, slowing the bull down and finally stopping it. He leads it back to the herd and the group continues, while showering praises on the young herder for catching the bull.

indus jaliNow imagine this scene repeated on a daily basis and the herders sharing the story with the villagers when they pen the cattle for the night. Over time, the skill of embracing the hump to slow the bull down is celebrated and contests are held to showcase the skill. This is called Eru Thazhuvuthal meaning ‘Embracing a Bull’. Indus Valley civilisation is known for being one of the most advanced and sophisticated amongst its contemporaries. The sport of Eru Thazhuvathal is celebrated so much that they decide to make a seal depicting the same.

During the rule of the Nayak kings, gold coins, wrapped in a piece of cloth were tied to the horns, and the tackler hung on to the hump of the bull and untied the knot to get at the prize. Jalli/salli means ‘coins’, and kattu is ‘tied’. A small bag of coins was tied to the horns of the bulls, which the players claimed as a prize. The only way you could do that was to embrace the hump of the bull long enough to grab the bag without getting hit.

Now a token cloth is tied in the horns which the tackler collects as a trophy. The focal point of the event is the vaadi vaasal, the entrance. The bulls are let through this entrance, into the track, where the players wait. The track is usually the main street of the village, with the side lanes blocked. The event begins with the visit of village elders, led by a band drummer, to the temple of the village deity. The Koyil Kaalai (temple bull) of the host village is allowed first andm as a mark of respect and gratitude to the host village, players allow it a free run and don’t touch it. Today, educated youngsters from these villages are also involved in the rearing of bulls and participate in the sport. All classes of people and all castes take part in Jallikattu. There is an egalitarian perspective where it’s humans and their cattle, nothing more nothing less.

An ancient heritage that survived colonial period

Jallikattu is an ancient sport. The seals of the Indus Valley civilisation depict it, which is proof that this sport was in vogue 5,000 years ago. Ancient Tamil poetry, known as Sangam literature (2nd BCE – 2nd CE), has many detailed references to Eru Thazhuvuthal (hugging the bull).

The fact that English colonial administrators have also written about jallikattu tells us the sport was played continuously down the ages.

For the following account of the jellikattu or bull-baiting, which is practiced by the Maravans, I am indebted to a note by Mr. J. H. Nelson. “This,” he writes, “is a game worthy of a bold and free people, and it is to be regretted that certain Collectors (District Magistrates) should have discouraged it under the idea that it was somewhat dangerous.

The jellikattu is conducted in the following manner. On a certain day in the year, large crowds of people, chiefly males, assemble together in the morning in some extensive open space, the dry bed of a river perhaps, or of a tank (pond), and many of them may be seen leading ploughing bullocks, of which the sleek bodies and rather wicked eyes afford clear evidence of the extra diet they have received for some days in anticipation of the great event.

The owners of these animals soon begin to brag of their strength and speed, and to challenge all and any to catch and hold them; and in a short time one of the best beasts is selected to open the day’s proceedings. A new cloth is made fast round his horns, to be the prize of his captor, and he is then led out into the midst of the arena by his owner, and there left to himself surrounded by a throng of shouting and excited strangers.

Unaccustomed to this sort of treatment, and excited by the gestures of those who have undertaken to catch him, the bullock usually lowers his head at once, and charges wildly into the midst of the crowd, who nimbly run off on either side to make way for him. His speed being much greater than that of the men, he soon overtakes one of his enemies and makes at him to toss him savagely. Upon this the man drops on the sand like a stone, and the bullock, instead of goring him, leaps over his body, and rushes after another. The second man drops in his turn, and is passed like the first; and, after repeating this operation several times, the beast either succeeds in breaking the ring, and galloping off to his village, charging every person he meets on the way, or is at last caught and held by the most vigorous of his pursuers.

Strange as it may seem, the bullocks never by any chance toss or gore any one who throws himself down on their approach; and the only danger arises from their accidentally reaching unseen and unheard some one who remains standing.

After the first two or three animals have been let loose one after the other, two or three, or even half a dozen are let loose at a time, and the scene quickly becomes most exciting. The crowd sways violently to and fro in various directions in frantic efforts to escape being knocked over; the air is filled with shouts, screams, and laughter; and the bullocks thunder over the plain as fiercely as if blood and slaughter were their sole occupation. In this way perhaps two or three hundred animals are run in the course of a day, and, when all go home towards evening, a few cuts and bruises, borne with the utmost cheerfulness, are the only results of an amusement which requires great courage and agility on the part of the competitors for the prizes – that is for the cloths and other things tied to the bullocks’ horns – and not a little on the part of the mere bystanders. The only time I saw this sport (from a place of safety) I was highly delighted with the entertainment, and no accident occurred to mar my pleasure. One man indeed was slightly wounded in the buttock, but he was quite able to walk, and seemed to be as happy as his friends.”

(From Edgar Thurston, Castes & Tribes of Southern India,Vol 5.)

This is concrete evidence to prove that jallikattu has been part of the long heritage of the 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. Jallikattu is one such precious 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 Jallikattu should go on.

Native breeds as a factor

There were scores of cattle breeds in India 100 years ago – some say as many as 130 – and now there are only 37. Unless we engage with the traditional livestock keepers and support them, we will lose these breeds as well as lay the ground for commercial cattle based dairies and slaughter houses to dominate the country

Tamil Nadu had six cattle breeds. These are Kangayam, Pulikulam, Umbalachery, Barugur, Alambadi and Malai Maadu. There are a few more minor breeds without proper documentation or care. Most of these are on the verge of extinction. Each breed has evolved in perfect harmony with its local region. Kangayams fed on grasses in the calcium rich soil are the sturdiest animals and can pull up to 2.5 times their body weight with ease. Umbalacherys have shorter legs which make it easy for them to walk around in the water filled fields of the delta region. Barugurs in the hills of Erode district and Malai Maadus in Theni district are grazed in reserve forests and are adept at walking around in hilly terrain. The Pulikulam, found mostly in the region around Madurai, Sivaganga, Ramnad, Pudukottai and parts of Tiruchi district are herded in several hundreds and walk all day grazing before being penned for the night.

Pulikulam. Credit: ICAR

Pulikulam. Credit: ICAR

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 as a 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 were measured as a unit of wealth. In the 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.

The Pulikulam is a semi-domesticated breed. The bulls are known to attack anyone except their owners. They are mainly grazed in reserve forest lands. Herders need to be able to tame them without ropes as the nose ropes are removed while grazing.

How does one tame a bull without ropes? If you try to tackle it from the front, it will toss you with its horns; if you try to catch it from the back, it will kick with its legs. It’s also very agile and can turn around in a split second. The only option is to approach it from the side and grab the hump.

Why Jallikattu matters

Stud bulls are reared by people for jallikattu. The ones that win are much in demand for servicing the cows. Small farmers cannot afford to keep stud bulls, so each village has a common temple bull which services the cows of the village. Jallikattu is the show where bulls are brought and exhibited. The ones which are most agile (and virile) are preferred by farmers. The calves from such bulls are in demand.

The intricate connect between these events and farming can be seen from the chronological order in which showcase events like jallikattu happen first, then the shandies and then the main farming season starts. Once harvest is done, farmers take their bulls to participate in such events over the next few months; spectators and visitors make a note of the top bulls and seek them out in sandhais (cattle shandies/markets) which happen from December till April all over Tamil Nadu. The calves and bulls are bought for jallikattu and some of their offspring will be castrated and used as draught animals in transport/farming.

Stud bulls need to be alert, virile, and agile. In the peak of their reproductive period, they need to secrete the necessary male hormones and experience adrenalin rushes and pumping hearts. They need this for them to be virile. This is in the interest of the species as selective breeding is done to propagate the species. Stud bulls are used for jallikattu and mating only. Experienced bulls enjoy the situation and display a well thought out exit from the vaadi vaasal. Many of them show off by shaking their heads as a warning. This shows their familiarity with the Jallikattu event.

Many people who care for animals don’t understand that nature creates each species with unique characteristics and behaviour, and that within a species, a bull, an ox, a cow and calf all are different.

Male calves in other regions are sold and taken for slaughter in a few days. Only in regions where there are events like jallikattu are they kept. The owner of an imported cow will like it to deliver a female calf. If she does, it’s a windfall. If it’s a male calf then he will have no use for it and he has to feed it. It will go to the slaughter house for Rs. 500. A lot of mutton we eat is the meat of these under-one-week calves mixed with mutton. The same will happen to these native breeds if not for activities like jallikattu. With reduced availability of males, farmers will have to go in for artificial insemination, which is cost prohibitive and is directly in contravention of in-situ conservation. Unless there are bulls being bred and reared in the in-situ region, the genetic pool of the breed will not be healthy as no adaptation to changes in climate, local environment has been ingrained. We are messing with evolution when we abandon in-situ conservation with bulls and natural servicing/mating.

Native cows do not yield as much milk as the imported breeds. So they don’t have a supportive or sponsored breeding programme. Artificial means are not adopted for native breeds. So as a fall out of the banning of jallikattu, they will soon fade away and become extinct.

death of temple bull

Death of a temple bull covers the village in a pall of gloom. The funeral is conducted with utmost respect with women mourning and village priests carrying out rituals. 

Under article 48 of the constitution of India the state has to endeavour to preserve and improve the breeds and prevent slaughter of cows and calves and other draught and milk cattle. Hence the Union government has to intervene in this issue.

According to principles 1, 2 & 3 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to which India is a signatory state, 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, they are the products of indigenous knowledge and the cultural expression of livestock keepers.

Why is there so much opposition to jallikattu?

There are two angles to the opposition.

First is the urban disconnect  with rural India and all that it entails. Policies are made by city folk. Just as we destroyed the lakes of Chennai and suffered the consequences of ignoring the traditional knowledge of villagers in building and maintaining water bodies, we are allowing the same urban mindset to get away with rampant destruction of our livestock and farming. If we look at media reports over the last decade or so, every headline screams about injuries in a jallikattu event. The focus of the urban editors and reporters has always been on sensationalising news and grabbing eyeballs. Fed with this constant diet over a decade, it’s no surprise that so many internet warriors are shouting about jallikattu.

In a year, there are 10,000 instances of a bull leaving the vaadi vaasal (gate) during jallikattu. Of the thousands of players who take part, hardly 50-100 get injured in a year, and deaths are much much less.

The second group is the dairy lobby, which wants all native breeds to be eradicated. Events like jallikattu throw a spanner in their plans of creating commercial dairy farms with imported breeds just like in the West.

Beef exporters also benefit from a ban on jallikattu and other events. Farmers bring their cattle to be sold in weekly/monthly and annual shandies. Brokers will take the cattle from the farmers and hold them to be displayed to prospective buyers. Buyers fall into 3-4 categories: (1) The jallikattu enthusiast who will buy the bulls and male calves mostly; (2) Buyers of oxen for farming/transport; (3) Buyers of cows for breeding and household usage; (4) Beef traders who are mostly if not all agents of export companies and slaughter houses based in Kerala. They buy all cattle as they are only interested in meat.

When a ban on jallikattu is in place, the simple supply-demand equation gets skewed. There are no takers in the first category, which means the bulls will only sought by the fourth category i.e. beef traders. With no demand from jallikattu enthusiasts, the price of such prized bulls falls to rock bottom. By killing the market for bulls to be used in jallikattu, the animal rights activists are directly responsible for sending them to slaughter. There is a huge demand for Bos Indicus variety beef in the Gulf, Malaysia and Western countries. It is considered an exotic and healthy meat, just like country chicken.

Misconceptions abound

The fist misconception is that jallikattu has anything in common with the Spanish bullfight. The two are very different. The sport in India is not about baiting or injuring the bull but of “embracing the bull”.

Does it harm the bull?

It is said that cruelty is meted out to animals by giving them alcohol, prodding and twisting their tails etc, that organisers beat the bulls, stuffing something pungent in their nostrils, confine them in a dark, suffocating place in order to enrage them.

The reality is different. Amidst all the regulations and scrutiny, which bull owner will risk giving alcohol to the bulls? Glucose water is given to them for stamina. Out of the 10,000 instances of bulls let out a year, the anti-jallikattu activists have produced images/videos of may be 7-8 bulls where an offence might have taken place. They have the power to identify the owner and take action against him under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Each bull is registered with the authorities, with photographs as well as the owner’s information.

Every rule has an exception. We regulate to curtail the exceptions, but not to end the sport. The approach of the activists from day one has been to end jallikattu at any cost.

Are there other means of conserving the breeds?

Each breed has evolved over several millennia and in a distinct way. One method of breed conservation will not work in another area, with another breed. Every place in the world where indigenous people have lived with their livestock, there are celebratory showcase events post-harvest like kambala buffalo water racing in the Dakshin Kannada region, Ongole stone pulling in central and coastal Andhra, rekla races in western Tamil Nadu and Theni, bailgada in Maharashtra with the Killari breed. Each event has evolved locally and has stood the test of time. In-situ conservation is the best method for conserving any breed. The lifetime and health of the species is extended only due to such events.

How is the game played?

Bulls are brought to the arena the previous day and tied in coconut groves around the village. Fodder is brought along and water is provided by the host villagers. Sometimes fodder is also provided. A team of veterinarians, animal welfare officials inspect the bulls and give a medical certificate. Before the event starts, they are lined up in batches of 15 close to the rear side of the vaadi vaasal.

A bull waits its turn at the gate to the Palamedu jallikattu in Madurai. Credit: Manu Manohar/Flickr CC 2.0

A bull waits its turn at the gate to the Palamedu jallikattu in Madurai. Credit: Manu Manohar/Flickr CC 2.0

After the temple bull of the host village has left the arena, each bull is taken into the vaadi vaasal, where Animal Welfare officers are present. The nose rope of the bull is cut and the bull is free to run. Young bulls and untrained ones participating for the first few times hesitate to leave the vaadi and are prodded by their owners. It is not easy to move them as they weigh anywhere between 250-350 kilos. The experienced bulls (which have long memories) are familiar with jallikattu events and offer their head to the owners to cut the rope. They plan their exit from the vaadi vaasal and time their jump to avoid the players. These are intelligent animals and have evolved in this environment over millennia.


This bull cannot be caught as he has perfectly timed his jump to reach a height of 8-10 feet and will land a good 10-12 feet away from the vaadi vaasal. By the time he lands, he would have cleared most of the players. Credit: Special Arrangement

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.


This bull used a different technique of charging while jumping. Notice how that has put fear into the players. with their eyes closed. Credit: Special Arrangement

Although a few hundred players are present in the arena, only 2-3 attempt to get close to the bull and only 1 has a shot at grabbing the hump. Everything happens so fast that most players hit the dirt and the bulls go free.


The bulls are not in fear, but the players are. Credit: Special Arrangement

After leaving the arena, they go to a barricaded collection area of about 44,000 sq. ft. where experienced herders await the owners. Owners follow the bulls from the vaadi into the collection arena, this takes about 5-10 minutes. Once they enter, the herders help the owners rope in the bulls and take them out of the collection arena. 1-2 bulls will refuse to be roped and charge at everyone, some of them jump out of the collection area and make a run for it. Most of them head in the direction of their villages. There is the occasional injury due to the bulls not being roped.

A ban will be fatal

Under the Convention on Biological Diversity and heritage status practices worldwide, it is customary that these ancient traditional practices are left as they are but with rules to organise and regulate them.

If jallikattu is banned, livestock keepers will be forced to abandon the raising of native livestock, which already stands threatened due to the extensive use of motor pumps, tractors and mechanised agriculture. If the sport is banned, it would be the death knell of native cattle species in Tamil Nadu.

We will not only lose our breeds but also our self-sufficiency in milk production as well as promotion of organic farming. If we lose our breeds and import foreign breeds, multinational commercial companies will dominate the dairy industry in India. The livelihood of millions in rural India is at stake here.

People who want a ban on jallikattu are far removed from village life and do not know how this chain works.

The Supreme Court and the Government of India needs to look at the big picture behind jallikattu. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) supports traditional practices to keep the chain intact and thus enable conservation of native breeds. As an ancient nation with an ancient practice going back millennia, jallikattu should be preserved. There is no torture of any animal of any sort that takes place during the sport and the evidence of this can be seen from live media telecasts. The time a bull spends engaged in the sport is less than 30 seconds. If required, rules can be implemented to enhance the safety of the animals and men if required.

India has already lost many cattle breeds and it can’t afford to lose any more.

Himakiran Anugula is an organic farmer and entrepreneur based in Chennai. He is a trustee of SKCRF (, an organisation working to conserve native breed cattle in Tamil Nadu.

Note: This article has been edited to correct the claim that the Alambadi cattle breed in Tamil Nadu is extinct. This is not the case and the government has an active programme to conserve the Alambadi and other indigenous cattle breeds.

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    (1) Article writer
    has presented his views on the subject which may be all those who support
    jallikuttu and similar animal games. But question is whether games like
    jallikuttu are the only way to preserve what the author of the article calls
    indigenous cattle breeds. (2) When Madras
    High Court banned jallikuttu earlier, all arguments were heard by the Court and
    still Court’s decision was to ban the game. Hence I support the ban on ‘jallikattu’.
    (3) I also believe that political
    parties must get rid of the populist mindset and demand that every Indian state
    jallikuttu and similar torture games involving animals and humans must be permanently

    • Sir, why Horse racing is not banned or even not raised voice by these people.

  • anantharaman varatharajulu nai

    Mr.Narendra M Apte u want to destroy indian species of bull?

    You will support murdering of animal for purpose of eating but will not support traditional function like jallikattu? Dont push North Indian culture to Tamilnadu

    • darth_vader

      hey boss nm did not ban jallikattu. infact he gave it a nod. it was the supreme court along with the secular brigade which is playing this game.

  • Kahula

    Jallikattu as sport can only remain viable when there are rules and regulations. Have breeders consider coming together to form restrictions that protect Human and bovine. Thus, the animal cruelty, which does exist can be eliminated. When the collective Indian conscious doesn’t react to venerable customs across the border (Gadhimai festival ring a bell?) why then try to eradicate what is sacred according to tradition in Tamil Nadu?

  • Gopi Shankar

    Where did this PETA and Animal Welfare Board of India went when thousands of cows are slaughtered daily primarily in Kerala and other parts of India? They didn’t even endorsed ‪Beef ban‬. ‪Jallikattu‬ is different from bull taming and My family owned nearly 12 cows in Madurai so, I know what Jallikattu means, the new modern age Vegan westernized Indians are trying to teach India on how to respect life. I am from the land of Tamil Jains who taught Ahimsa to the world. Respect for all forms of life is spirituality in India I do agree that there some superstition prevail over religious rituals and creeds but that has nothing to do with the great Dharma of this land. When we walk we are killing countless invisible organisms, each and every one of our action consciously or unconsciously destroys some form of life on this planet. All this vegans are not aware of malnourished kids from BPL family and people like me who begged for food. My food habit is not my food style …

    I am not validating one wrong with another but how the politics is played not many people know what is Jallikattu. Since then we have been trained to discover India through Western frameworks and models, but we are divorced from the experience of India that is within each one of us and permeates our entire existence. The old media establishment can thus technically pass for cognitive dissonance filled schizophrenics. For them, Jallikattu becomes ‘ritual torture’, because many of the cultural and academic elite, who have never seen a Jallikattu for themselves, deem it so. It does not matter that Jallikattu involves no torture. It does not matter that Jallikattu bulls are part of the ecological web that sustains livestock diversity.

    • Rohit Menon

      My dear friend plz dont club beef consumption with jalikattu. If Jalikattu is part of ur culture and tradition, eating beef is part of our diet. Asking for your right while questioning the rights of others is not the correct thing to do

  • Hitesh

    What an explanation. I really cant understand why the culture/religion puts a blindfold on our senses. Explaining how the beef of certain species which has evolved in this practice is in demand. Damn, you must be kidding if you don’t see any cruelty towards Bulls as well as humans in this Non sense game. Today when most of the bulls are replaced by machines in agriculture and people moving towards vegan milk, you are talking about age old custom just because it has survived ages.

    My only question is What is the fault of bulls whom people are using for entertainment? Please understand all animals have a life/a family. Why are we using them in the name of culture? If someone is so considerate of how we lived centuries ago,please understand humans used to wear leaves and live in caves, we have to move on with changes and show some compassion.

    • I’ll agree with you Hitesh!!! I’ve heard elephants in temple festivals talking to themselves that these Animal Right Activists will one day unchain them and release them into the wild and horses in races and military are already starting to enjoy about this news that PETA people will rescue them. Because we are not wearing leaves any more so we don’t need elephants or horses any more.

      • Rathinamani

        Siva, temple elephants are not captured from wild.. They are from a century old domesticated herds & depend on human for food! If u let them off in wild, it will starve & die! please do be reasonable & try to understand & then comment. You people should nt even taste honey nor use any vaccinations itself!

  • ರಾಜ

    The writer makes a big mistake of comparing kambala and alleged original jallikattu with the new hooligan jallikattu. as per article in the alleged original jallikattu the herder ( and not herders ) tame bull which is running out in wild ( and not domestication ) – that can ofcourse be allowed in a amphitheatre like setup with some protection – one to one . In Kambala the cattle adjust their speeds with speed of one man akin to horse racing. ultimately the test is of man and not cattle who can run even faster and efficient.

    • “Hooligan”?

      Any sport evolves over time. Did you know cricket was a shepherd’s game? Herders still are out in the open grazing lands, reserve forest areas with their herds. In the village the sport was practiced to hone skills for herding. This is how it evolved into a sport like any traditional sport. The comparison between different sports ends with the fact that they are human-animal sports evolved over time in communities where livestock is key.

      p.s.: I’m a big supporter of Kambala too!

  • Tony G

    can someone the so called animal rights activists enlighten me why so many stray dogs roaming around in streets uncared? why no animal rights activists not caring stranded whales? why are you not talking about horse races? dog races? elephants chained and used in temples(are elephants natural live in cities? don’t they belong to forests?) So targetting bulls of Tamilnadu is something a of hidden agenda of yours.. What is your true motive.Explain.

    • Shaun Pillai

      Very good question… may be we should donate 12 stray dogs to those so called PETA activist ..well lets see if they can care for one…

  • Jennofur OConnor

    These sadistic spectacles must be placed in the history books. In a civilised society, cruelty to animals cannot be condoned.

    • Rathinamani

      We know people like you, who sged crocodile tears for animal welfare. Did you read the article? In a civilised society, you people are sending our farmers & Native Breed cattle into history books.. Then will you farm our lands or take care of our rich Bio-diversity?

  • Nothing wrong in having a good breeding ecosystem. Jallikattu can not be the reason for growing breeding or avoid slaughtering. We are still the biggest exporters of this meat. We should avoid slaughter of any animal. Animal food is also not suitable for human consumption.

    If we stop the olympics tomorrow will the human population come down? Is the decreasing male-female ratio in India because there being no Jallikattu sport in human beings? The tigers are becoming extinct, hardly few thousands are left. Is it because there is no such Jallikattu sport for tigers? Dinosaurs have already been extinct. Is this because there was no Jallikattu sport in them?

    Come on. Don’t find wrong reasons for right things. Nothing wrong in cattle breeding. Nothing wrong in a safe sport. There is a race in human beings – like long run or short run. There is horce race. We can have bull race. Why only females are preferred in cattles? And why only males are preferred in human beings? Is this not wrong. Why a very skewed ratio of male-female among them?

    Ancient does not mean everything has to be sacred for all times. If all Vedic period is sacred, if all iron age is sacred, then the creation would have stopped there. No, we have to evolve continously. We can never justify Jallikattu or anything like that if the same is harmful and gangerous to both animals and human beings.

    • NANDHA

      its the species bull is they talking about, if that species is wiped out we will lost native breed that will depend on foreign breed thats not healthy as native breed. the A2 Milk is good for human other genetically modified cow milk is harmful for us this is why native breed should kept live.

    • JKM

      “it is better to keep quiet and let people think you are fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt”!
      what is your viewpoint here? have you ever reared a bull know how much it costs? what you understand about the delicate balance of socio-economics of maintaining a JK bull the sport event and money ? stop showing your sophistication, the article is well written read it again if u dont understand

    • darth_vader

      u are talking with a limited understanding of matters. first expand ur horizons

    • senthil

      jallikattu is one of the reason why the bulls of south TN are alive.. my simple point .. the urban people has no right to interfere in the socio-cultural life of rural people..

      All the argument of cruelty is bogus.

    • senthil

      /** No, we have to evolve continously. **/

      DOnt tag us with you people.. If you want to evolve, pls go ahead.. but leave us behind.. we dont want the kind of evolution you are imposing.

  • Hari Sudhan

    I would say ignore Central Gov’s ban and go ahead with the play, there are far more number of states who seldom listen to supreme court rules and laws. the plight of farmer’s looks to be a never ending tale!


    compassionate Indians why against beef ban you killed the animal for meat and their skin thats allowed in modern society but playing is cruelty. In this country horse racing is allowed because of rich person game but not jallikattu


    First ban beef export this country is world largest beef exporter but playing is cruelty


    PETA and so called animal right activities want to destroy the native natural cow and their breed then only foreign companies can introduce their mutant cow and their product ( genetically modified cow) and make billion doller revenue. these people don’t ask ban of beef meet or leather why? those company made big money out of it. jallikattu is not just a sport happen in tamil nadu, its the sport to celebrate the bull species. In every state there are diffrent festival like bull racing in maharastra those sports are also banned as per the new law. its time we should unite fight against new English East Indians Companies

  • FashionFan

    These animals are stabbed, punched, and given substances to make them delirious. I hope that jallikattu stays illegal permanently.

  • Bidyutbikash Saikia

    Did you ever seen it??? Or you just presumed. Checked few videos in Internet. It looks like it is more dangerous to players than the bull

  • Rathinamani

    Did u know anything about Jallikattu or Kovil kalai system of Tamilnadu.? What they you say about animal abuse is fabricated & false.. Govt Vets & awbi officials check all the bulls prior & after the Jallikattu event, certificates provided for this & its videographed. Don’t talk in haste without knowing the truth Please.

  • Rathinamani

    Period. You come & take care of our cattle herd.. Toil ur back for generations in pastuer lands then comment on our land Bio-Cultural activities

  • Rathinamani

    Really it’s true.. Thank you Aki!

  • Rathinamani

    Where did the three Bulls die??! Of what cause?! Don’t be foolish of such things.. If its true, Whatever you say, may have happend only by supreme Court & awbi regulatory hassels. Not because of our villagers, they worship these bulls

  • Guest

    This is article is indeed very helpful, carefully explaining what actually happens during Jallikattu. I was initially opposed to Jallikattu as a sport because of the reports of animal cruelty. Also, all the arguments I heard from the opposing side were only about conspiracy theories involving multi national corporations, and none of them actually addressed my main concern which was animal cruelty. Although I cannot make a determination as to how much truth there is regarding conspiracies, this article educates me, and I am now of the position that the sport can go on, but regulations need to be strictly applied to prevent the baiting,poking with sickles/sticks, squeezing lemon juice in the bulls eyes etc. I doubt that if the sport goes on, these regulations will be followed strictly and my heart pains to think about how many animals will therefore suffer. Surely we can come up with a better way to breed the cows using science?

    • Rathinamani

      What you have come to understand is true.. But no other better way to save our bio-diversity & rich gene pool & agriculture. We need regulations to regulate the Bio-Cultural event, not ban it.. Strictly all the regulations, which can be designed within animal rights framework itself can be followed. A framework for it is in place, but we need good people to voice their concerns to bring a change & support our farmers. Actually these villagers will be first to welcome to cruelty free Jallikattu events, they love their Bulls they adore them, worship them. So its easy to implement but what Peta awbi others acting in name of animal welfare rights are trying to wipe these people, there love, caring, Native Breeds from face of earth by this unnecessary blanket ban. One thing for sure Awbi, peta people cannot connect with these animals as these villagers do. Our farmers are the true animal lovers who celebrate Pongal, Matu Pongal, Kannu Pongal has a Honour to Our Farming partner’s, our Native cattle! As part of their religious, social, Cultural, Heritage Thanksgiving event, even in this fast changing world in 21st century! & truly care about cattle. Please let them live happily, who provide food to billions of us.

  • Rathinamani

    Rene Please say specifically in which jallikattu event, where & how who used chilli powder, force-feed alcohol? AWBI has registered all Jallikattu Bulls with them, they have all particulars & info of each & every Bull part of said Jallikattu event. Till date not even a single complaint was registered with TN Govt or police by awbi or Peta on villagers for any of the above said false accusations stated by you. They just mocked the Ho’nble SC judiciary with this baseless charges to get Jallikattu ban on false ruse

  • vallur

    This lengthy report is based on total nonsense and hearsay.In ancient times this was really a sport and peasants were really hardworking and did not waste their hardened money on liqueur.They fought singly and did not run after the Bulls in hordes and torure the Bulls.Bulls were reared for naturals semination and thus the Kings also patronised it as there was no violence or ill treatment. Now the position is totally different.Bulls are meant only for slaughtering and for insemination the semen and Bulls are imported as the local varieties are not upto the mark and totally useless. The people are also lazy and thrive on thievery and cheating and fritter away their ill gotten money in drinking and debauchery. This is clearly seen from the fact that this”sport”is propagated in southern states of TamilNadu which are known places for violence and killer gangs.The Supreme Court was correct in banning this “sport”

    • Rathinamani

      Vallur The Supreme court was correct in Banning this ‘sport’. SC Ban has given to rise in beef export & loss of gene pool of Native cattle Breeds, leading to their extinction. SC should ban our farmers out of our country also instead of robbing their livelihood. You Vallur come down here & take over agriculture & become custodians of Bio-Diversity aspects.. Your very intelligent, what you say is true our Bulls are useless..& your understanding & comment very usefull.

  • Sudha Karan M

    Great injustice done to the farmers of this country in general and to the people of Tamilnadu in particular by the ban of Jallikattu and Cart race.

    This is nothing but an act of judicial activism or judicial overreach.

    Very few people who are calling themselves as animal activist and protector of animals are insulting the culture and traditional values of 6 crore tamilians.

    If Boxing and Wrestling are not inhuman activity, how can this be a cruel sport.

    If milking the cow is not a cruel act, taming and playing with bulls can not amount to the act of cruelty.

    If horse race is acceptable,how can cart race be banned in the name of cruelty.Indeed, horse race involves gambling, black money and cruelty.Didn’t the PETA and Animal welfare activists have the eyes to see this cruelty. Why are they so biased.Are they coming to say that poor do not have the voice and rich have the say in this country.

    If killing and eating the animals are falling within the frame of the fundamental rights of the individual in this country, how can this sport fall out of the fundamental rights.Custodian of the Constitution and the protector of fundamental rights have derailed from the path and banned this sport based on the false evidences and statements of these self styled lunatic propagandists who are calling themselves as animal welfare activists.

    There is no doubt this sport should be regulated but certainly not the ban.

  • Postandspread

    The brains of most of the pencil-neck keyboard warriors posting here have turned to sakkarai pongal. The writer does a fine job of manipulating emotions. Ever considered what happens to the Jallikattu bulls after their presumably brief careers, especially the ones which aren’t considered good enough for stud work? Think they retire with Arjuna awards to die of old age? If the native cattle breeds are to be preserved against natural extinction, the question to ask is, why? Are they these animals used for anything other than Jallikattu and subsequent slaughter? Maybe the cows are hardier even though they yield less milk. Maybe some native breeds make good draught animals. Or biodiversity. Those are the sort of reasons to lobby for their preservation. That a bunch of folk need to work off a huge amount of suppressed aggression isn’t the most convincing reason. Should we argue that we should allow tiger hunts so that the noble hunt industry will be motivated to preserve tigers? As to cruelty, well, the writer of the article with his vested interests has self-certified that there is none, so I suppose that’s all settled!

  • GlobalTamilan

    There are 5 breeds across TN and the bull breeds are reared in these places. It does not happen in a few villages but across the length and breadth of the state from Vellore to Ramanathapuram. The temple bulls are the one that mates with the native cows across the region and the temple bulls are the jallikattu bulls.

  • If you do not read and only react then nothing can be done. I am not against farmers and holistic, organic and sustainable farming. Not against cattle breeding and preserving any specific breeds. Not against any innovation in all this. I am a farmer’s son and own farmland and know little farming. Not against any celebration. Not against any safe sport. Not in support of anything that is not safe, dangerous and harmful to man, animals and nature. It does not matter whether it is ancient and supported by scriptures.

    There is a 10 Bull Zen story of Japan. The story is of taming the bull. But the bull in the story represents the mind and animal instinct. We have to move from Jallikattu to Mindkattu. Please read carefully before reacting.

    You have every freedom and right to express your opinion. I am the last person to come in the way of your freedom. Thanks 🙂

    • Satyanarayanan

      Without understanding the economic back bone of the farmers and condescending to look upon them from air-conditioned offices with an expression of contempt, you sit upon your lofty chair and deliver judgements?.

  • selva

    PETA/Radha rajan mentioned, Bulls are generally very soft in nature. …If someone shows aggressive, we call it as ‘bullying’. Is it not very apparent to Radha?

  • AntoJJ

    what you are saying is to put horse races on hold and lose the billion dollar industry to disappear.

  • Satyanarayanan

    Meat-eating is cruel and should be banned. Leather belts should be banned. Crocodile and Snake handbags should be banned. Fur-skins should be banned.

  • நாம் தமிழர் சுரேஷ்

    Thank you for enlightening us with your knowledge on Jallikattu and it’s various sphere of influence on nature and on humans..

  • Senthil Ramesh

    I’ll say better present at the venue and decide. Even Youtube videos can be edited and manipulated for or against the sport.

  • arun kumar

    I think the intentions behind the #jallikattu protests are fair but the protests are headed in the wrong direction.

  • Vinod

    What an Article this is !!! Eye opener

  • Pramod Kumar

    Bro, we suffered more than you ppl, when there is no water to provide? how will karnataka ppl will supply water? have u come and check the dam in KRS? what you mentioned “Nothing happened to karnataka” is totally a false. Confirm yourself before you speak! 🙂 have a good day! 🙂

    • Jagan Pandurangan

      Lol is that so! Then why did SC order to provide us water.

  • bindra

    Right or not we need to obey what our top court says. if ppl start defying court orders in the name of populism, it will create a dangerous trend for out society

  • Harsha Bala

    As I am someone from a completely non-farming background, I am grateful that you have helped me understand how Jallicattu is essential for the preservation of native Indian breeds. But how do Western countries, like Britain for example, go about preserving their bulls and native breeds without such events to keep the bulls verile?

  • Sagaran Jos

    There were 130 or so cattle breeds in India 100 years ago and now there are only 37.

    Jallikattu isn’t doing a good job of preserving breeds!

    • surendr

      ya man, the native breeds of tamil nadu are being preserved cuz of jallikattu. what happened to others? do please enlighten me

  • Milind Kamat

    I hear the sport is banned by S. Court because of cruelty to animals i.e. bulls. Cruelty cannot be justified in the name of tradition. Tamil emotions cannot override law of the land.

  • surendr

    Just for reference about banning jallikattu and beef export data

  • Guest

    Same question here. I don’t understand the claim that Jallikattu is the only way to keep the native species alive , that if it is banned, native cattle will all disappear. I also don’t understand how you can associate the aggressiveness of a bull with how fertile it will be to breed with other cows.

  • jijo george

    What used to be done to the cattle sacrificed in ancient India?

  • mansi patel

    which section of Rig Veda states about Vedic Brahmins having beef?