Jallikattu (or sallikkattu), also known as eru thazhuvuthal and manju virattu, is a traditional spectacle in which a bull is released into a crowd of people and multiple human participants attempt to grab the large hump of the bull with both arms and hang on to it while the bull attempts to escape. Participants hold the hump for as long as possible, attempting to bring the bull to a stop. In some cases, participants must ride long enough to remove flags on the bull’s horns.
Jallikattu is typically practiced in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day.
Animal welfare concerns are related to the handling of the bulls before they are released and also during competitor’s attempts to subdue the bull.
Practices before the bull is released include prodding the bull with sharp sticks, extreme bending of the tail which can fracture the vertebrae and biting of the bull’s tail. There are also reports of the bulls being forced to drink alcohol to disorient them, or chilly peppers being rubbed in their eyes to aggravate the bull.
During attempts to subdue the bull, they are stabbed by various implements such as knives or sticks, punched, jumped on and dragged to the ground. Protestors claim that Jallikattu is promoted as bull taming. Along with human injuries and fatalities, bulls themselves sometimes sustain injuries or die, which people may interpret as a bad omen for the village.
An investigation by the Animal Welfare Board of India concluded that Jallikattu is inherently cruel to animals.
Animal welfare Organizations, the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations (FIAPO) and PETA India have protested against the practice and filed a case in the Supreme Court of India for an outright ban on Jallikattu because of the cruelty to animals and the threat to public safety involved. The Supreme Court held AWBI to be right in its stand that Jallikattu, Bullock-cart Race and such events per se violate Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and held that Bulls cannot be used as performing animals, either for the Jallikattu events or Bullock-cart Races in the State of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country.
The Indian Lawyer