Indian Bullfight Injures 76 People

The Indian bull taming sport of jallikattu injured 76 people on Monday.

The jallikattu took place on Monday in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu as part of the harvest festival of Pongal.

Jallikattu differs from other such sports in the West in that there is no attempt to favor the bull over the humans involved and the bulls are not killed. In jallikattu, the bull’s horns are sharpened and the human competitors are not allowed weapons.

There are variations on jallikattu, but generally the sport involves people attempting to subdue or simply hold onto a bull that is running and thrashing about. Those who can subdue the animal or hold onto him for a predetermined amount of time are awarded prizes.

There has been a lot of attention paid to jallikattu recently, as activists work to have the games outlawed. A recent legal battle brought by activists resulted in jallikattu being banned in 2008, but was later reinstated, albeit with more restrictions.

Even though this sport may seem more tame than bullfighting or the running of the bulls in Spain, there is still an enormous amount of pain and stress involved for the animal, as well as danger for the competitors. Activists have pointed out that although the breeds of bull used in jallikattu are naturally more aggressive than most other breeds, they are often incited to be violent and aggressive by means of extreme pain.

Jallikattu bulls are often force-fed alcohol and have chili sprayed in their faces. The fact that the animals aren’t killed after they’re tortured in such a way doesn’t begin to justify this cruelty. We don’t defend torture of human beings on the grounds that we at least let them live after we were done with them. So why should this flawed logic work when we talk about animals?

In order to host jallikattu, ambulances and medics were waiting outside on Monday, and eleven people were hospitalized from their injuries. Injuries in jallikattu are common.

Indians and Spaniards alike often invoke “tradition” as a catch-all justification for these kinds of blood sports, their cultural pride and sense of masculinity dependent upon their ability to hurt and overpower animals. But the fact that someone has been doing something cruel and wrong for hundreds of years doesn’t make it acceptable right now.

Proponents of jallikattu like to contrast it with Spanish bullfighting, but if you force an animal under duress and pain to fight and compete in a sport that it would never participate in voluntarily, you’ve long since abandoned any moral high ground, even if the animals aren’t killed afterwards.

Jallikattu is no more justifiable than Spanish bullfighting, circuses, zoos, or any other form of entertainment that relies on the coerced participation of animals. Animals do not exist for our entertainment any more than they exist for our consumption. If we want to improve the lives of animals and end the unnecessary injuries suffered by humans in these ludicrous blood sports, we must work to end all forms of bullfighting and animal exploitation.

Related Stories: 

Stop Burning Live Bulls

It’s Time to End Bullfighting

Historic Victory! Spanish Region Bans Bullfighting


Photo: Public Domain

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Genoveva M.
Genoveva M G.4 years ago

"The Indian bull taming sport of jallikattu injured 76 people on Monday"? Well someone found what they were looking for, by practicing stupidity. Sports? far from that. Stupidity? YES
I will always feel bad for the animals, if humans get injured there is always some stupid action by their part, the ones who suppose to reasoning.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle4 years ago

Tradition -- no excuse. Just like when they say for westerners to honor the culture of countries that mistreat women.

Margarita  Armi M.

Los pobres toros y vacas en todas partes salen mal.
Incluso en la India engañan a los pobres para que vendan sus vacas diciendoles que van a un lugar mejor ylas llevan a otras partes y alli las matan y queman vivas para su piel.
se debe de hacr algo con los pobres vacunos.
Ellos tambien sienten.

Janet M.
Janet M.4 years ago

It is time for these people, to come into the 21st century.
If they were not participating in this torture. They would not
have gotten injured. My heart goes out to the bull, another
innocent creature, tortured for human pleasure.

Anna Borsey
Anna Borsey4 years ago

Despicable! Humans have NO right to abuse animals for any reason what so ever!

People who enjoy tormenting animals are seriously in need of psychotherapy. They are a danger to ALL animals, and quite possibly also a danger to their own partner and/or children. Sadism towards animals is pathological. We cannot permit this "it is a tradition" argument to prevail any longer.

All kinds of vile, barbaric things were once "traditional" all over Europe, e.g., the burning of live cats on the Midsummer bonfires in France and Germany (look it up, if you don't believe me!) and throwing male Christian slaves into the arena to fight male lions in Rome (during the early centuries AD).

Vanessa B.
Vanessa B.4 years ago

Either way it's a horrible thing to put the animals through

Elgrit B.

What will it take to make people realize tradition and being macho have NOTHING to do with tormenting animals. In fact, the opposite is true. It makes them worthless scum bags.

Iris S.
Iris Siereveld4 years ago

Michelle your wrong about that many are under an illusion that cows are sacred because I am an hindu and cows are sacred to us. But there are also people with a different faith..

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman4 years ago


Michelle Sibinovic
Michelle S.4 years ago

Many are under the illusion that cows and bulls are sacred in India. Couldn't be farther from the truth. They suffer consistent, horrendous abuse. Animals in India are under considerable attack all over the country and has reached the point of crisis. To help, join FIAPO, the Indian federation of animal organizations web list, and stay abreast of what is happening in that country regarding animal cruelty, exploitation, and abuse. The more global outreach, the better.