India high court halts bullfights
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2009:
NEW DELHI–The Supreme Court of India on January 30, 2009
reaffirmed a July 2007 ruling that public “bull-taming” exercises
called jallikattu are illegal, and that jallikattu events held under
a limited exemption granted in January 2008 did not meet the Supreme
Court-imposed condition that cruelty to the bulls must be prevented.
Traditionally held during Pongal season festivals, chiefly
in Tamil Nadu state, jallikattu includes bullock cart races,
bullfights, and participatory torment of bulls similar to the mob
attacks on bulls practiced at festivals in parts of Spain, Latin
America, and South Africa.
Acting on a motion by Animal Welfare Board of India senior
advocate K K Venugopal, Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice
P. Sathasivam issued a restraining order against further jallikattu
during the 2009 Pongal season, after 21 people were killed and at
least 1,614 were injured in January 2009 jallikattu events. They
extended the order on February 13. The Supreme Court is to rule on
the Animal Welfare Board’s request for a permanent injunction against
jallikattu later in 2009.
“We don’t want to stop bull fighting completely as it
attracts tourism,” Chief Justice Balakrishnan advised, according to
J. Venkatesan of The Hindu, but the Chief Justice added “We can’t
allow violent activities.”
One week after the Supreme Court issued the restraining order
against jallikattu, Member of Parliament Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco
of Curtorim, Goa introduced a bill to exempt fights between bulls,
called dhirio, from the federal Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Act. The Supreme Court ruled in 1998 that the 1960 law forbids
dhirio, but as many as 120 illegal dhirio fights were held in 2008,
according to The Times of India.