“Jallikattu” or bull-taming, is an agricultural tradition intended to conserve and improve native cattle species, now under an existential threat from imported breeds and big corporations.
From the New Indian Express:
Natives that are not grown for pride are sent for slaughter causing drastic decline in sex ratio. Jallikattu enthusiasts claim the sport help to sustain bulls for longer.
“The bulls that don’t win the game are not used for pure-breed next generation natives. Each of the strong, pure natives are used for inseminating 10-15 cows. Let’s say half the bulls win human beings. Each of these will give rise to 15 more pure natives,” says a professor of Dairy Technology at TANUVAS. Going by Rajasekaran’s number, more than a lakh-and-a-half pure natives are produced by every batch of Jallikattu bulls.
Native species do not produce as much milk as some imported species and without impregnation by the best studs, partly conserved through Jallikattu, their existence would be in doubt.
India’s largest milk producer, Amul, in Gujarat, uses Jersey cows, imported from Holland.
With demand rising powerfully, milk will soon have to be imported along with exotic semen and other inputs needed to continue cross-breeding the native and the foreign species. More imports means higher prices making milk unaffordable to the poor; it means higher costs, making farming impossible to the marginal farmer; it means reliance on European and hybrid breeds that demand more water and are less hardy; it means foreign species’ milk that causes schizophrenia, autism and type-1 diabetes.
That’s the context needed to understand the anger at the PETA-inspired ban of Jallikattu, already heavily regulated under India’s animal protection laws.