CHENNAI: With the year coming to a close paving way for the Jallikattu traditional sport for Pongal (mid-January), about 80 medical doctors on Wednesday appealed to the Tamil Nadu government not to give its nod to the conduct of the popular bull taming sport this time due to COVID-19 risk and Omicron variant concerns.
The doctors have appealed to Chief Minister M K Stalin and Health and Family Welfare Minister Ma Subramanian not to allow Jallikattu events as the Coronavirus and the emerging variant could turn out to be a super spreader causing grave health risk to the public, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said.
"We urge the Tamil Nadu government to refuse to grant permission for Jallikattu events in the State in 2022," a release said.
Further the Central government continues to recognise COVID-19 as a serious risk, postponing the full resumption of international flights untill January 31, next year, the healthcare professionals said.
Allowing the sport to take place would be contrary to public health precautions, they asserted.
"Prohibiting non-essential activities such as Jallikattu events, which lead to unnecessary mass gatherings, is essential to prevent the rapid spread of COVID-19 and to protect public health as well as to ease the pressure on healthcare professionals," said Dr Deepshikha Chandravanshi, one of the doctors who signed the letter.
"Non-essential events like Jallikattu have no place in a country battling a deadly contagious virus," said PETA India CEO Manilal Valliyate.
"PETA India is calling upon officials to heed the professional opinion of these medical doctors and call off Jallikattu events to protect the bulls from cruelty and the public from a life-threatening disease," he said.
Since the Tamil Nadu government legalised Jallikattu in 2017, at least 22 bulls and 69 humans have reportedly died while more than 4,696 human have been injured, PETA claimed.
"PETA India has documented extreme cruelty to bulls during these events, which are attended by up to thousands of people," it said in the release.
"Extensive video footage shows that during Jallikattu, participants force terrified bulls into the arena by biting their tails, yanking their nose ropes, and jabbing them with weapons," the release said and added that the panicked bulls often slam into humans and barricades often breaking their bones or dying.