Jallikattu bulls facing slaughter?

The bulls were herded in a ground allegedly without proper food and water

Madurai: Concerns have been raised about the fate of around 500 bulls, brought to participate in the bull taming sport 'jallikattu', as they were herded in a ground near here allegedly without proper food and water, fuelling suspicion that they might be slaughtered.

According to jallikattu competitors and animal lovers, the bulls have been bought by an individual from Coimbatore for prices ranging from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 in the backdrop of the traditional sport missing its annual date during Pongal festival last month following a ban by Supreme Court.

The herding of the bulls at the ground at Kodikulam has given rise to concerns that they might be slaughtered, Namburaj, a local resident and jallikattu sportsman, said. The bulls were not being fed properly, and the motive behind making them "starve" was not known, said K Muthuraja, a lover of the sport.

Another jallikattu competitor Sellapandian said he was not allowed to see the bulls in the fenced ground. The information about the sale of the bulls by several owners had been brought to the notice of Animal Husbandry department officials and Jallikattu Federation founder P Rajasekharan, who would decide the next course of action.

It was not known whether the bulls would be sent for slaughter house and what would be their fate, an official of the Animal Husbandry department said. The bulls are trained for taking part in the sport after spending several thousands of rupees. But the government did not allow the sport to be held following the Supreme court orders. The issue had been taken up for a review in the apex court, jallikattu lovers said.

It is against this background that many bull rearers had sold their bulls, for prices ranging from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000.

Discounting distress sale, another Animal Husbandry official said the bulls had been brought from Usilampatti and Valandhur area where there was not much rain this year and there was shortage of fodder.

A bull owner, Marimuthu said with the sport, which protected the bulls so far, being banned, they had no other option except selling them for slaughter. Jallikattu is a popular event in this region during the harvest festival Pongal celebrated in mid January and used to attract even foreign tourists.

However, the sport could not be held this year in view of the ban, robbing the sheen of the festivities and prompted the local residents to protest by hoisting black flags top their houses in several places in the district.

( Source : PTI )
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