Pashu Sandesh, 16th January 2019
As if the controversy over the annual bull taming festival Jallikattu festival was not enough, a new controversy is brewing over the conduct of Fox Jallikattu at some places in Tamil Nadu. The practice of Fox Jallikattu known as vanga nari Jallikattu in the local language is rampant around the Salem district of Tamil Nadu at the time of Pongal.
The fact about conduct of Fox Jallikattu came to light following the response of an RTI by the State Government. RTI response to the organisation from the Tamil Nadu Forest Department revealed that the ‘Tamil Nadu government does not consider fox Jallikattu a part of the state's culture and tradition.’ Another RTI response from the state government showed that between 2014 to 2018, the Forest Department in Salem “only collected compound fees from offenders who conducted such illegal events”.
People for Ethical Treatment of Animal (PETA) which is fighting for the ban on the Bull Jallikattu has taken a serious note on the conduct of Fox Jallikattu. PETA India has written to the Chief Wildlife Warden of the Tamil Nadu Forest Department urging him to take immediate action to stop the fox Jallikattu events, stating that it is a direct violation of both the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WPA), and The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The organisation has called for ‘strict penal action against the organisers and participants.’
What is Fox Jallikattu?
In the statement issued by the PETA, it is said that the foxes used for fox Jallikattu, or "vanga nari jallikattu", are captured in the wild using traps. Their hind legs are tied with rope, their mouths are gagged to prevent them from biting, and they are chased through the village as they try desperately to escape,” The event is said to conducted around Pongal to bring about Good Luck to the Farmers.
Stand of PETA
Statement issued by PETA also said that, the Indian foxes and red foxes are protected under Part II of Schedule II of the WPA. “Section 9 of the Act prohibits the hunting of foxes, and Section 2(16) defines the term "hunting" as including not only killing or poisoning a wild animal but also capturing, coursing, snaring, trapping, driving, or baiting a wild or captive animal or attempting to do so. Section 51 details the penalties for contravention of the Act's provisions, and an offence committed in relation to an animal specified in Part II of Schedule II is punishable with imprisonment for a term of three to seven years as well as a minimum fine of Rs 10,000. In the case of a subsequent offence, the term of imprisonment is between three and seven years, in addition to a minimum fine of Rs 25,000,” it said.
Apart from PETA it is the natural responsibility of every Wild life lover is to raise their voices on the appropriate forums to curb this cowardly act of Animal Cruelty. Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) should also take cognisance on its part and compel Tamil Nadu Government to take appropriate action on this matter.