The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights nonprofit organisation, has filed review petitions before the Supreme Court pertaining to its decision dated May 18, 2023, upholding the state amendments legitimizing bovine sports, Jallikattu, bullock-cart racing and Kambala [People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) v. State of Tamil Nadu [RP(C) Nos.810-812/2023]].
PETA’s plea for a review of the Supreme Court’s verdict centers around its core mission to protect animal rights and prevent cruelty towards animals. The petitioner contends that such bovine sports inflict undue stress and suffering on the participating animals, often leading to injuries or fatalities. It is argued that modern society should evolve beyond practices that exploit animals for entertainment and sport and that ethical alternatives should be promoted.
On the other hand, proponents of bovine sports assert that these traditional practices are integral to the cultural identity of certain communities and argue that these events are conducted with a sense of reverence and respect for the animals involved, and strict regulations ensure their safety and welfare. They emphasise the need to preserve these customs as they hold significant historical and cultural value, connecting present generations to their ancestral roots.
The review sought by PETA from the Supreme Court on the legality of Jallikattu and other animal sports rekindles the ongoing dialogue on striking a balance between cultural heritage and animal welfare. The ethical treatment of animals and the preservation of centuries-old traditions continue to be contentious issues, requiring delicate consideration of societal values, moral ethics, and legislative measures. It remains to be seen how the Supreme Court will address this plea.