The protests over People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (PETA) stand on Jallikattu that have taken over the State of of Tamil Nadu have stretched its arms to Pune, with supporters flocking to the city’s streets on Saturday. The Chakan area saw several hundred protesters expressing their displeasure of PETA’s interference in the traditional practice.
Focusing on the importance of cultural sensitivity in such issues and expressing displeasure over the government’s decision, the leader of the protest at Chakan, Ramkrishna Takalkar of Takalkarwadi said to the Indian Express, “We love our animals. We can’t think of treating them cruelly. We take great care of them. But PETA, which is an American organisation, is charging us with ill-informed allegations. They don’t know our culture.” Takalkar, who owns bulls that participate in races, added that this decision could directly affect the lives of farmers.
Jalikkattu brings opportunities for small farmers from the dry regions of Maan in Satara and Jat, Khanapur in Sangli districts who rear Khilar breed of bulls. These bulls are sold to the owners of racing carts. The price may range between Rs 20,000 and Rs one lakh, based on the quality of animals. Income from this serves as an additional economic leverage to several families of the arid regions.
In Pune especially, special care is taken so as to not harm the animals. In an effort to ensure that the animals are not victims of any form of physical abuse, no person is allowed to ride on the carts. The bulls are given a free run, reflects Takalkar.