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Kicker: Neutral

Headline: A coin has two sides

Jallikattu reflects ancient tradition and culture. Banning it would affect livelihoods of livestock keepers. It is symbolic of the intimate bond between cattle and agriculturalists. Organisers of Jallikattu argue that these are traditional practices closely associated with village life. The bulls are specifically trained and nourished for these sporting events and their owners spend considerable amounts on their upkeep and no tickets are sold for Jallikattu.

They argue that the solution to all allegations is better regulation, not an outright ban. But, on the other hand there are allegations that during Jallikattu, bulls are petrified and then made to run across the crowd, which eventually leads to the destruction of anything that comes in their way. Various cruel means are taken into course to scare and anger the bull, like pinching, nailing, stabbing with sticks that have nails at the edges and twisting their tails. The ropes around their nose are painfully yanked and then they are dragged into the crowd of people who further anger the bull. However, those who are involved in Jallikattu say that the bulls are well-fed, trained and are prepared before they reach the arena.

Animals are not inferior to humans. They are living creatures and feel pain. Animals cannot convey their consent in the same way that we can. They were not meant to be used as entertainment for our pleasure, or be subjected to mistreatment. Things like racing and fighting are inhumane and cruel. That kind of trauma doesn’t disappear. Humans can go into counselling and actually talk about their issues and resolve them, while animals are left scared, confused, hungry and overworked. It doesn’t seem right. Essentially, bullfighting is ritually slaughtering an animal purely for fun. Like a coin has two sides, these sports involving animals have their pros and cons.

From Ms Megna Rajagopal

Student based in Dubai

Kicker: Cruelty

Headline: Animals are not ours to use

All my life, I have been very close to the concept of bullfighting, as I was born in a very small town in the southwest of Spain, where this tradition is very popular. The most famous of these events, known as San Fermin, takes place every year in the city of Pamplona. However, most of the cities and villages of the country have their own versions of the Running of the Bulls.

Since I was a child, I knew it was wrong and I am definitely against it. For me, it is not only a sport, but it is something very cruel and I think it should be banned immediately. As a Spaniard, I can say that I feel extremely ashamed and embarrassed when people remind me that this is happening in my country.

In this century, I believe that we should all agree that animals are not ours to use, and less when it is just for entertainment. It is an unnecessary abuse, which is unfortunately happening all around the world, such as in practices like Jallikattu in India.

Bullfighting is a barbaric and cruel tradition, where horses suffer, too when the matador rides one in the fight. For those who aren’t aware, the matadors can kill up to six bulls in one “corrida”, or bullfighting event. Is it horrible to see heartless people clapping and cheering while the animal is bleeding and trying to run away in front of them? I don’t know how they can proudly say that they enjoy the show. I feel extremely sad on seeing it.

The only thing that gives me some hope is to see that most of the people my age are also against this practice. Unfortunately, we have a long way to go as there are still a lot of people who believe that this is a tradition and we should keep it alive for that reason. If tradition means killing thousands of animals a year with terrible pain, such a tradition is not worth keeping.

From Ms Ana Olmeda

Events executive based in Dubai

Kicker: Barbaric

Headline: Necessary to create social awareness

I am completely against Jallikattu, bullfighting, cockfights or any cruel sports or torture games involving animals. It is appalling that civilised societies get entertained by brutalising animals in so many different ways, all for their own amusement, entertainment or pretext of tradition. These sports should be completely banned.

Jallikattu supporters say that it is a tradition and is crucial to stop extinction of native cattle species. Why should our sense of self-worth and existence depend so heavily on traditions that are barbaric, archaic and promote a distorted sense of machoism? There are other, less brutal ways to prevent the extinction of indigenous species of cattle.

It is our fundamental duty to be compassionate towards all living creatures. Bulls incur serious injuries and fractures during Jallikattu. Some even die. Tradition or culture are not a sufficient justification to indulge in this sport.

I have heard supporters saying, “If Jallikattu is cruel to animals, then boxing or wrestling is cruel to humans.” But there is a stark difference between the two sports. In boxing or wrestling, the consent of every player involved is taken, but the bulls never signed up for the sport they are forced to be a part of.

Bullfighting is the most brutal sport. Thankfully, we are seeing lesser of this needlessly cruel activity. We have no right to harm any animal because when we harm them, we harm ourselves as a society. I respect animals and never buy anything made after animal testing. I don’t enjoy or support the circus where animals are mistreated and tortured to perform beyond their capacity.

It is necessary to create social awareness against animal cruelty. It cannot be done in a day but it is important to keep bringing these cruelties to light and to work towards a constant evolution of our societies.

From Ms Arushi Madan

Student and environment ambassador based in Sharjah

Kicker: Victims

Headline: ‘We have the responsibility to look after the planet and its inhabitants’

In this hero-worshipping, modern world, people try to accomplish different things to prove their gallantry. They get involved in doing things and supporting activities that should have long been relegated to the pages of history books.

My concern is towards the animals who become victims of people that want to show their ‘valour’ by torturing them in the name of entertainment or culture. Humans have progressed in seemingly uncountable fronts, including moral progress. As we dominate on this planet, we have the responsibility to look after it and its inhabitants. And this obligates us to change our perspective and hence, our approach. We can no longer seek to fulfill only our interests and not expect any repercussions. When we become a part of sports in which we inflict torment on the voiceless animals, we take a step back in our ethical values. It is not a show of heroism to control or subjugate a frantic bull. It’s outright immoral.

Sadly, people of several countries take part in such activities every year. Running of the Bulls in Spain is one such popular activity. Hundreds of people are injured every year and another dozen die, not to mention, the ruthless treatment of the bulls. Jallikattu is another such event from India, which involves taming the bulls that are specially bred for the event. The common public is led into believing that this is good for preserving their culture. Moreover, some also assert that this is an important step to protecting the local, indigenous breeds of the bulls. But aren’t there other avenues to protect local breeds? The people who are so concerned about them can approach non-profit organisations or even urge the government to enact laws in order to protect them. As time changes, the society also has to change itself. It can’t coexist in a world so dynamic that changes every second if it doesn’t want to give up on its age-old social evils. Sports that involve cruelty towards animals have to be banned. The animals have their own lives and we have no right to abuse them. Using them in sports and entertainment is an abuse of our position of responsibility.

From Mr Vikas Dhyani

University student based in Uttarakhand, India

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