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20

Animal Rahat is a sister concern of PETA. Dr Manilal Valliyate heads Animal Rahat and has added the following response to the ongoing discussion (article my me on Jallikattu, Response by Poorva Joshipura, CEO of PETA, my response to that article):

Hi Vidyut,

Apologies for taking this long to get back to you.

Introducing myself, I am a veterinarian who worked for nearly two decades trying to improve the welfare of animals in India, particularly working animals such as horses and cattle, is a son to a farmer and father to a 12 year old boy.

Let me share my perspective as a veterinarian and also a person having some basic understanding about large animal behaviour and welfare. Considering the broad category of animals- prey and predators- I am sure we all will agree that, bulls are prey animals. More than describing whether they are aggressive or docile, what we need to understand is when they are cornered or their movements are restricted, they have to either chose to ‘fight’ or adopt a ‘flight’ behaviour. Usually a fight scenario comes into picture, when they can’t escape from a difficult situation. Otherwise these ruminants would ideally, graze for hours or eat food, lie down and ruminate (chewing the cud- a process of digestion) unless bothered by a predator, which I think some humans are. A bull simply charging at people would be an exceptional situation. Yes, they would do it when they don’t have any other choice of responding to a stimuli of fear, pain or distress. In jallikattu, that’s exactly what people exploit. One of the globally accepted definition of animal welfare mandates, ‘freedom from’ pain, injury, disease, fear and distress so as to achieve reasonable welfare. When we know that jallikattu do not protect the bulls from any of these, there is no point in calling such events as our culture or tradition. Simply because, I don’t think we want our culture and tradition to labelled as ‘cruel’. I have been part of inspections of many jallikattu events from 2011 to 2013 and the bottom line is, one has to induce fear and pain and agitate a bull to push him out of the vadi-vasal (I call it a torture chamber) and face the tamers! Otherwise, if the people around the bull are not causing any harm, the bulls would simply eat, stand or lie down and chew the cud just as mentioned above. Probably, one can easily find such a harmless bull freely wandering in any urban area like Delhi, Lucknow or Noida, not because they chose to be in a chaos of traffic, but simply because they represent the unwanted by-product of the dairy industry abandoned on the roads.

My father was a farmer before he joined the police force in 70s. He still remember the ‘Kalapoottu’ (bull race) competition in Kerala which he had witnessed and was part of. While he used to plough his agricultural field with a pair of bulls he had and he also allowed them to be used for competition during the harvest festival. However, today I don’t think he supports such events anymore. Just because, he came to know more about the animals, the way they feel threatened and feel pain just like we all do. What I know now is he has taken a compassionate stand now based on his own learning of life and he no more support any such events that (ab)use animals.

My son, maybe because of my work and interests, has been watching the debate on jallikattu covered by the media. What I remember is, he telling me- can’t these people see that the bulls are frightened and are running for life and actually are in no mood to “play” with the people? He continues- it doesn’t make any sense at all, when people supporting jallikattu says, there is no cruelty! It’s right in front of you actually! You just need the eyes to see it. For my son, it is simple common sense. He says, people are using stupid excuses to justify their actions. What they need to think is, what if these bulls were actually their sons and daughters left to a mob to manhandle? It is surprising that, some people do claim that the bulls are like their children; but the truth is these children are often send to slaughter when they are useless, except for meat.

Though my views above are more on ethology and ethics, what I would like to emphasise is that, there is a law of the land, enacted in 1960 and under Section 3, it very clearly sates, “It shall be the duty of every person having the care or charge of any animal to take all reasonable measures to ensure the well-being of such animal and to prevent the infliction upon such animal of unnecessary pain or suffering.” There are Rules framed under the same PCA Act which very clearly says what is necessary suffering. But Jallikattu is not part of that exception, so is many other form of cruel animal entertainment. And most importantly why can’t we respect and implement the judgement of the topmost court of the country which ban jallikattu and similar events!  The Apex court has also stated that when culture and tradition are at variance with the law enacted by Parliament, the law takes precedence.

I can also confidentially say that, my arguments above can be scientifically demonstrated and that is what we do exactly at Animal Rahat- a sister organisation of PETA striving to improve the quality of life of working bulls in Maharashtra.

You may print this response, if you find it appropriate and helps the discussion.

Thank you.

Kind regards

Dr Manilal Valliyate

1

Here is a list of people who have volunteered with the relief work in the Chennai floods. Volunteers are listed by areas as well as nature of assistance that they can offer. If you are listed and can no longer volunteer, please leave a comment. If you are not listed, but would like to volunteer, also leave a comment with the information for each column that is needed for you to have a entry in this list.

[table file="https://aamjanata.com/data/volunteers.csv"][/table]

1

I met kavitha during my visit to Pandharkawada village, Yavatmal district, Vidarbha 

This is the story of Kavitha, who is a mother, a babhi, a daughter, a wife, a homemaker, now a farm widow turned farmer in the capital of India, Vidarbha and she is just 27 years of age. Despite the gravity of the situation, she spoke with great confidence and she spoke with an infectious smile.

The mother:

Manasi, her 8 year old daughter, was very happy since it was the Independence Day and she wore her favorite 10 Rs tri-colored hair band.

The 2 year old daughter was home with her in laws.

The mother also told how she draped her daughter with a tri-colored saree and when how when Manasi entered the class room everyone would say "Look Bharat Mata is walking into the classroom".

The Bhabi:

Bhabi was very worried about her 15 year old brother-in-law because he wasn't getting any work. He only had 2 pairs of dresses which he carefully juggled through. He would be very calm and very quiet, often refused to take part in any social gatherings or any celebrations. He didn't have any footwear, which was one reason why he was feeling very shy to move around. Bhabi was very happy when they managed to buy a pair of chappals for Rs 100.

The daughter:

Her parents were working as landless laborer s and their income these days isn't consistent. They have work only on a few days. Her brother is also looking for a job. She is worried about her brother as well who is looking for a job.

The homemaker:

The kids school expenses aren't that much. The books, uniforms etc. cost about Rs 500 a year. It's the other expenses that add up to about Rs 3000 or so.

The wife:

Kavitha finished her 12th grade and after her marriage had discontinued her studies. Her husband was very troubled and increasingly frustrated over his helplessness and his never-ending debt situation. He had shared this with Kavitha as well but she could not anticipate that her husband would take such an extreme step.

The farmer:

3 acres of land is all she has on which she cultivates cotton and soya bean. There is an outstanding loan with the bank which hasn't waived yet. The price of cotton in the market isn't guaranteed and there has hardly been any rains adding more trouble to the already troubled situation.

There have been many Kavitha's before, many Kavitha's now and unfortunately, if no intervention, there would be many more.

  
If we blame the politicians for being indifferent, then we are to be blamed equally, for we are indifferent to their sufferings

If we blame the govt for being ignorant, then we are to be blamed equally, for we are completely ignorant of their sufferings.

If we blame the govt for not having the will to solve the crisis, we are to be blamed equally, for we never had the will to question and hold our ministers responsible and accountable.

1

Among the various objections raised to the AIB Roast that has got into trouble over profanity and hurting sentiments and such was the issue of people being offended by being joked about. Normally you'd tell such people to suck it up, but when combined with humor that is already targeted for being offensive, it becomes a sort of sentimental cocktail like Farida Jalal being embarrassed at the idea of a joke about someone jerking off to her or Anil Kapoor angry over his accent being ridiculed.

I do think All India Bakchod should have taken the consent of those they ridiculed beyond the scope of those present on the stage, at the same time, I imagine it is not so easy to know who would be offended and who would not.

As an endorsement of free speech, as well as a subtle reminder to comedians by merely existing, I'm proposing that people who are staunch supporters of free speech (or merely good sports) declare openly that they would not react adversely to being ridiculed or otherwise targeted in a manner that is not intended to cause them harm or threat.

I hereby state that I am never going to file a police complaint over being joked about. Even if I don't like the joke and rip you to shreds on Twitter. I am not famous outside Twitter, so it isn't particularly useful in terms of a personality you can joke about, but who knows when a ridiculable blogger comes in handy in these touchy times?

Please note that this consent does not extend to family members or anyone other than me - whom you still ought to ask independently (if I ever get that famous :p).

Also, I hope that more interesting people to ridicule get the hint and state their open consent to free speech - including offensive speech.

I would suggest that you add your name in the comments, if you're fine being ridiculed and will not seek legal recourse if it happens. If you aren't famous, describe yourself a bit 😀 If you are famous, that is really superb. Such people are in short supply, it seems.

If you write or post elsewhere, feel free to leave a link in the comments, with your name.

If lots of people are interested in stating such consent in the interest of upholding Free Speech in a country where it is already shaky (and such consent will go a long way in taking the "offensive" out of the crappy laws)... we could perhaps have a directory of sorts, where people ridiculing anyone could simply check if their targets are listed.

That said, this is more a "speaking up" move than procedure. People can and should still be able to ridicule anyone regardless of consent, but I imagine having consenting people for the worse jokes can take some of the post publishng worry out of the planning.

Normally this shouldn't be a worry, but India's laws are sort of fucked up and it is easy for pissed people to screw your happiness.

There are too many people speaking up because they are offended, and not enough people explicitly leading the right to ridicule from the other end of the stick. Maybe this will give more people an idea.

Can you take a joke? Can you take a terrible joke? Can you take an offensive joke? Can you respond to a joke you simply cannot take without resorting to silencing others - even about you?

2

For two countries that hate each other, both have much in common.

  • Both are comparitively young countries.
  • Both seem to be surrounded by enemies on all borders.
  • Both claim to be in existential struggles against enemies either incapable or disinclined to destroy them.
  • Both have some sea and have used it to strike terror against helpless civilians.
  • Both are extremely aggressive and have 'national narratives' that seem to contradict reality.
  • Both have been engaged in long standing land disputes.
  • Both have illegal possession of the land of their neighbours, which they claim for their own just 'because'.
  • Both have the backing of the US in some of the most inhuman actions against mankind.
  • Both have intelligence organizations of dubious ethics and actions.
  • Both have a lot of excuses for their evil actions - usually excuses that point fingers and incite further hatred against their 'enemies'.
  • Both hate each other.

If we leave religion out of things, it is possibly an example of how greed for land can destroy the lives of generations that live in it. On a more sobering note, it is also an expression of the fear of vulnerability of a newly born nation with 'enemies' larger than it - the entire Arab region for Israel, and its parent country for Pakistan. Operating from fear makes us what we fear, I guess. The first act of war is defense.