Response by CEO of PETA India to my article on Jallikattu

The following is the response by Poorva Joshipura, CEO of PETA India to my article on Jallikattu published yesterday. Obviously PETA India disagrees with those wanting jallikattu to not be banned, but Poorva asserts a similarity between jallikattu and bullfighting, raises questions about injuries to humans and animals and questions the validity of the argument that a ban on jallikattu would harm the survival of indigenous breeds of cattle. 

Dear Vidyut,

I am the CEO of PETA India and I have read your article essentially defending jallikattu.

Please know that nobody ever said jallikattu is bullfighting nor used arguments against bullfighting for jallikattu—jallikattu is jallikattu, a cruelty on its own (which admittedly has some similarities to bullfighting). Jallikattu is a spectacle in which a mob of grown men taunt, chase and deliberately terrify bulls. These animals become so panicked they slip, fall, run into barriers and traffic, and even jump off cliffs, so desperate are they to escape. They also accidentally run smack straight into people while attempting to flee, causing numerous human injuries and deaths. From 2010 to 2014, media outlets reported that there were some 1,100 human injuries and 17 deaths caused by jallikattu-style events, including the death of a child. The actual number is probably higher since many injuries likely weren’t reported in the news.

Your piece, which claims “[jallikattu] is by no means a fight that endangers the animals” and that “the worst a bull will usually come to is exhaustion and injuries” is false, as bulls not only commonly break their bones, but some bulls like some humans also lose their lives. In any case, causing unnecessary suffering and injuries to bulls is also rightly against the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act 1960. Your point that “I don’t think even PETA will dispute this” is also, therefore, false. It would be nice for you to contact PETA rather than to assume anything and write what you think PETA would say.

On the similarities between jallikattu and bullfighting—since you raised the point—there are many. You say weapons are used in bullfights—well guess what, they are also used during jallikattu events. During jallikattu, in the holding area, participants stab and jab bulls with sickles, spears, knives and sticks in order to force them to run toward the mob of men (which goes against their desire, which is to flee in the opposite direction). In bullfighting, the bulls are often deliberately disoriented. For jallikattu, bulls may be force-fed alcohol for the same purpose. Jallikattu participants also cause bulls intense pain by yanking their nose ropes, and jallikattu participants also punch, jump on and drag bulls to the ground and twist and bite their tails.

You also claim the bulls used for jallikattu are “aggressive by nature and prone to attack”. Are you sure you’re not talking about the jallikattu players? The bulls run helter-skelter not because they are aggressive, but because they are scared. They are so scared they need to be coerced to participate through weapons and the cruel methods as described above.

In fact, a teacher in Mexico conducted an experiment to prove it is not the bulls, but the humans, who are aggressive. The teacher had the students stand in a bullfighting arena where a bull was let loose and matadors used red flags as they do during bullfights. As you can see in the video, the bull just wants to find a way out, and is working on doing so, without hurting anyone:

This Teacher Showed The True Cruelty Of Bullfighting

Say no to bullfighting!

Dikirim oleh The Holidog Times pada 20 Desember 2016

The video shows bulls will not attack if not provoked.

So desperate have jallikattu supporters become to be allowed to taunt bulls, they have come up with all sorts of ridiculous arguments, such as that jallikattu is somehow a native breed conservation scheme. Ha! Nothing can be further from the truth. The prevalence of various breeds of cattle used by humans in India is almost entirely determined by the choices of the country’s dairy industry. This is because humans manipulate domesticated breeds to suit their own purposes, such as increased milk production. The industry was determining which types of cow were bred in India long before the Supreme Court confirmed a ban on jallikattu in 2014. In other words, where there is an interest in choosing native breeds over those who are foreign or cross-bred, the influence has to be put on the dairy industry, and that is happening elsewhere. And of course the ban on the use of bulls in performances is just that—it does not prevent anyone from keeping cattle for other purposes should they choose.

You have concluded your piece by mentioning that other animals suffer—but the existence of one type of suffering cannot justify another. If it did, setting animal rights aside, even human rights would never progress. You, as a woman, or me as a woman, would likely never have been educated or have the opportunities we have today if people thought this way.

Thank you very much for including the video shared with you by Sachin at the end, but your inclusion of it will not undo the damage your piece may otherwise do to bulls who need all of the support they get. And by the way, those videos were taken at a time when jallikattu was conducted under established rules and regulations. Pro-jallikattu advocates already made the arguments to the Supreme Court that the spectacle can once again be conducted under such rules, but the court has acknowledged that causing bulls fear and forcing them to run this way is not only the infliction of unnecessary suffering, which is against Indian law, but also incredibly hard on this species of animal in particular. To understand more about jallikattu, please read the attached Supreme Court order.

By the way, it’s not only jallikattu which is banned under Indian law but also dogfighting, cockfighting, bull racing, bullfighting, the use of certain species of animals in performances like circuses and film and more and the bans apply India-wide, not only in Tamil Nadu. That’s because just as it would be wrong to get kicks off of the expense of abusing a woman or a child, it is wrong to get kicks off of the abuse of animals just because they are vulnerable and unlike humans, cannot speak up for themselves.

And for anyone who really wants to show their strength, I invite them to join PETA India. It takes much more strength to stand up for what’s right, than to be part of a mob taunting an animal who has not chosen to be there.

I do wish you would not glorify cruelty to animals, and quite frankly I wish you would take your piece down or modify it. It’s the animals who are the victims here, and the animals desperately need us on their side. Anyway, you have my direct email address now. Please do feel free to touch base with me in the future.

Kindest regards,
Poorva Joshipura
CEO
PETA India

She has also attached: Jallikattu judgement SSC

I will respond to Poorva Joshipura, PETA India separately later without detracting from it in any way here. My hope is to find a middle ground that does justice to both animals and man. I welcome your views as well. A dialogue of this nature can only enrich our collective awareness and thoughtfulness with regard to issues that impact lives, regardless of conclusion.

Vidyut

Vidyut is a blogger on issues of National interest. Staunch advocate of rights, learning and freedoms. @Vidyut

17 thoughts on “Response by CEO of PETA India to my article on Jallikattu

  1. Peta wants jallikattu and bullfighting to be banned on the ground that it is cruelty to animals but why does Peta not feel it is cruel to keep to a dog confined in a flat which is 500 sq feet for the full day along with 5 other human beings. Isnt it cruel that a dog spends a major part of its day in flat and goes down just for 15 minutes in a day? Doesnt a dog need exercise? What is the minimum space need for a human being to live in as per international standards? Isnt it 20 meters? Why does Peta not ban dogs in flats of less than 50 meters since it amounts to cruelty to animals and human beings?

  2. Have to call out PETA on what it is business model is. PETA is a non-profit, but it is certainly one of the most profitable. They made $65 million (450 crores) in 2016. Non-profit is big business and they are run like corporations, except for taxes and there is a reason why the head is called a CEO. So what product does PETA sell ?. Actually they are in the business of selling compassion and target market is the animal loving Americans, who we all know love their pets. One of the key evidence in the Jallikattu case is the video they created and made public. Now this video is on its website and for animal loving, less traveled American, what else could be more satisfying than contributing dollars to save a poor bull from a brutal blood thirsty farm hands in South India. By having a case and winning it in the highest court ratifies PETA’s claim and makes it more legitimate and this is one of the biggest reasons they keep this case alive. As far as I know PETA doesn’t have any facilities for animals in India, which means they have very little operational cost. All they need is a few videos and some good lawyers and the dollars start pouring in.

  3. Respected Poorva,

    Please think by taking your time, if jallikattu is banned, obviously most of the bulls are going to slaughter, it means people like you are the only reason for this slaughter to happen, then how does your ultimate goal to save animals is achieved? Don’t you have sense to think this.

    This question to every one who say jallikattu harms bull, I could see beef stall in every nook and corner of most of the city, then what the hell slaughter is? Does it give pleasure to bull? What kind of steps you people have taken to stop slaughter of animals(cow,goat,chicken,fish,etc..)? Before stopping slaughter, for what the hell you people come to stop jallikattu?

    Why not ban such cruel activity in Spain against Bull?

    You do not know how our bulls are grown in our home, then how come you know our feelings. Do you think 10 crore people who need Jallikattu are cruel on animals if you think so then you are big fool. Sorry, No intention to harm you. These are facts. Can’t you understand that 10 crore people supports it and there should be reasons. You never came to our villages and you do not know even a single fact about our culture. Then, without any knowledge you say you people came to save animals. Please save animals in your country before coming here. We care our bulls, we know how to make it happy.

  4. There is a question of degree of Suffering caused and if it has relevance to the survival to the species. Firstly, In most slaughter houses today, the practice of slaughter is far more painful than need be. For example, the live skinning of cattle for leather and the use of slow bleed to death methods that are in practice. Why is PETA not focussed on elevating such unbelievable suffering? Jallikattu is not unessential at least for the male cattle. In the absence of Jallikattu all male offspring will head directly to the slaughterhouse. You save it from annual turmoil so it can be delivered to its hellish death in a slaughterhouse. Do you want to carry this Karma?

  5. Elitist arrogance is what is best reflected here. It shows what is wrong with a top down approach and how much little PETA knows about animals.
    More than a sport, Jallikattu is a cultural identity, belief and pride. For an ancient culture like the Tamils, dairy science is part of everyday life and it is quite despicable that an organization like PETA is trying to teach them what they have known and practiced for many centuries.
    Should this be called as ignorance or arrogance ?. I think both would be appropriate.

  6. the person in this above comment know how to take care of bull do u have bull in ur home
    and peta u will have supporters in india right since u guys are showing that u guys love animal if true each person take care of one bull
    I challenge u not eve one can do that properly
    we the students of tamil nadu will show u what is our power

    1. No one. Think of humans like a large ant colony on the face of the earth. They do what they can. Capture the territory they want. Eat other animals, use them in ways that range from symbiotic to parasitic. It is just what people do. Man has about as much right to control animals as ants have rights to control aphids.

      1. Humans make their own ceremonies/rules and justify those, irrespective of agony of other living being on the planet. They also have equal rights on this earth. Just because of lower intellect and power animals have become prey to humans. Law of the survival of the fittest? Oh really? Is it so simple?

        Dr Dhanwantari G Pancholi, MD(Ayu), PhD, MBA(HospMgmt),Principal Assessor(NABH)

  7. Use of force or alcohol seems prevalent to force it against fellow humans and then game starts. Ban of such force and influences may be a middle path.
    However, MADARI exhibiting monkey games, snake charmers, etc., (though may have less or equal evil) was successfully banned in India as they were no significant vote-bank and peoples had not special religious/social emotions attached. religiously very people of north India forgot Naag-panchmi without much religious issue.

  8. I appreciate and agree with the PETA CEO’s rebuttal. Simultaneously, Vidyut, I raise my hat to your intellectual honesty and uprightness.

  9. I know what PETA is up to however I decided to read her response but seeing her lie in every statement she made like using weapons, I decided to stop it.

    Interestingly she said, “The bulls run helter-skelter not because they are aggressive, but because they are scared”. This shows her level of ignorance in this sport. If the bulls are not aggressive then please ask her if she is willing to go anywhere close to the bull not in Jallikattu but when it is calm in its hut. Bulls are aggressive by its own nature and it is treated with at most dignity and it is part of the family which owns. Those who throws couple of biscuits to a dog to get a certificate of animal lover do not understand this bondage.

    “You have concluded your piece by mentioning that other animals suffer—but the existence of one type of suffering cannot justify another.” – Interestingly she never used Horse race as part of the cruelty and you know why? because it is rich man game. Surprisingly the so called animal lovers knows the language of the animals which animals does not know yet. Ask her if PETA did anything towards it or ask her at least if she spoke to the horses in the race course and confirmed if the horses were enjoying carrying a man and run from one end to another for no reason. She will use the escape route saying “comparing one suffering to another is not right”. But conveniently she used the same comparison,

    “On the similarities between jallikattu and bullfighting—since you raised the point—there are many. You say weapons are used in bullfights—well guess what, they are also used during jallikattu events. ”

    We do not compare sufferings but we do compare sufferings here to expose the real motive of PETA.

    It is the false image created by those with vested interest to erase the very spine of our cultural thread. How does this ban will impact our native cattle breed? To understand this better just think of any dog breed of our country and try to find them in our country. For example, Kombai is one of the ferocious dog breed in Tamilnadu.
    Kombais were used by the armies of the Marudhu brothers or Marudhu Pandias, who headed the revolt against the British subjugation of the Kalaiar Koil of the Sivakasi Kingdom at the beginning of the 19th century. And you know what, they are ALMOST extinct now. what we see as our breed now is nothing but stray dogs with no DNA of its own. So how does that breed of our own have been replaced from breed from other country. In fact those dogs from other part of the world suffer due to climate change, etc. Isn’t that cruelty? Hence anything other than our own breed should be banned in India? will she fight for that? big NO right. And this will also happen to our native cattle breeds if we do not check vested interests, especially when it is a money making industry (Diary and meat).

    Knowing your past posts I am sure you would have done enough research already but just come and visit the bulls in its original place.

    1. You are wrong. PETA is right. Read the judgement. Bulls are scared and not aggressive. Moreover unlike horse, bulls are not naturally meant for running. Understand that.

    2. we cannot eat chemical medicines as food for alive be. we should think with our human mentality which is good or bad,and everyone will loves their mother instead of god. bull is in our family , how others know about our culture … PETA do not keep this silly reason in front of us to stop and break our TamilNation.

  10. I never heard of this jallikattu untill SC banned it. If one reads PETA response it appears extreme cruelty. But PETA is not without its extremism. I would appreciate if someone from TN can respond as to whether the ‘cruelty’ as highlighted by PETA is widespread or scarce. Do all people who celebrate this festival behave similarly at all venues? If not so is the case, then PETA could ask for regulation instead of outright ban. If definition is cruelty is broadened then fish aquariums, Zoo, bird cages and other acts that inhibit animals from their natural habitat can be counted as cruelty. Al beit ridiculously.

    1. Khalid, it is surely not widespread but lesser than scarce or almost not. The very proof explains it. When jallikattu event happens it happens various places in tamilnadu and numerous bull will be participating in this event and showing just one or two such incidents of someone pushing the bull is miniscule or ignorable compare to the grant event. For any law there will always be someone who disobey right? Otherwise no job for judges and lawers. So this few incidents can be corrected by regularizing it.

      Let me also explain why and at what circumstances such incidents occurs. Jallikattu is such a grant event people come there to participate knowing well that they may even die, But no people dies. Ok When it happens in such intence the owner of the people may get excited to peak he just wanted to make sure that his bull is brave enough to pass through the participants. And out of this curiosity some people may push the bull to the ground. PETA or as its CEO saying that bull is terrified but it is absolutly not, it might just decides on which side to take first, people from left or its right. Just youtube videos on how our bulls prepared through out the year. I am very certain that you will know that the bull is not terrified but well trained. Please Read my other comment also. Thank you

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