Govt's 2016 notification had safeguards for bulls

Govt's 2016 notification had safeguards for bulls

The environment ministry’s notification on Jallikattu, now before the Supreme Court, had adequate safeguards for bulls with active involvement of the district
administration.

The notification, issued on January 7, 2016, was stayed within days by the top court,  which has heard the central government, animal welfare activists and the Tamil Nadu government in the past one year, but reserved its verdict.

In the notification, an exception was made for bulls used in Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu as well as for those in bullock cart races in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Kerala and Gujarat.

It was stated that these events would take place in districts where they were being traditionally held annually with permission from the district collector or the district magistrate. The bullock cart race was to be organised on a proper track not exceeding 2 km in length. In Jallikattu, the bull was to be tamed within a radial distance of 15 metres beyond the enclosure.

It also made it mandatory for the administration to ensure that the bulls are put to proper testing by the animal husbandry and veterinary department to check if they are in good physical condition.

The order also stipulated that rights conferred upon the animals according to the 1960 law and five freedoms declared by the Supreme Court in its May 2014 order are fully
protected.

In its judgement, the apex court stated that the governments were required to protect and safeguard animals’ freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition; from fear and distress; from physical and thermal discomfort; from pain, injury and disease; and to express normal patterns of behaviour as recognised by the World Organisation for Animal Health.

Former Union environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan blamed her predecessor Jairam Ramesh for the current crisis, pointing out that the inclusion of bulls in the list took place during his tenure.

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