The Jallikattu protests in Tamil Nadu have been compared with the compared with the Arab Spring of 2010. It was a mass movement that forced the government to not just promulgate an ordinance allowing the sport, but also pass a bill quickly. Many said that the protests were aimed at legalising the bull taming sport and preserving tradition.
But many have argued that the issue has now gone beyond sport and tradition and is all about protecting the native breed of the animal. There are six native breeds of bulls in Tamil Nadu and one of them called Alambadi has been declared extinct.
Jallikattu that has ensured a healthy male-to-female ratio of native cattle, protesters had argued. In fact, it is just not feasible to keep bull as pets. The Kangayam breed which is used in Jallikattu threatens to become extinct too, if there is a ban on the sport.
Bull can't be kept as pets:
As was pointed out that it is not feasible to keep bulls as pets, many point out that farmers held on the bulls only for the sake of Jallikattu. It represents pride and if there is a ban, people would find no reason to hold on to the bulls, it was also argued.
The Kangayam breed, primarily used in Jallikattu, is on the verge of extinction. Their population stood at 10 lakh in the 1990s, and now it has come down to 15,000. The other argument is that if these bulls go extinct then the bull-cow ratio would drop. This would in turn to lead farmers to depend heavily on artificial insemination.
The current bull-cow ration stands at around 7:1. This is a huge climb down from 1990 when it used to be 4:1.
Bulls sold to meat traders:
The other issue being pointed out is that there has been a rise in the number of bulls being sold off to meat traders. There is no law that protects the bulls from slaughter. This has led to several persons buying bull in a bid to safeguard them and offer them for stud services.
When the ban on Jallikattu was imposed, many sold off their bulls to meat traders. This has in fact hurt the sentiments of many who say it is only Jallikattu that can save the bulls from slaughter and going extinct. Many in Tamil Nadu argue that none are in favour of a sport that injures the bull. They say that the strictest action must taken against those harming the bulls. Jallikattu gives people a reason to hold on to bulls and this ensure that they do not go extinct or land up in slaughter homes.