CHENNAI: At least 80 medical doctors from across the country have petitioned the Tamil Nadu government to cancel jallikattu events scheduled for January. A letter, addressed to Chief Minister MK Stalin and Minister of Health, Medical Education, and Family Welfare Ma Subramanian, states that potentially super-spreader spectacles pose a serious health risk to the general public.
"Prohibiting non-essential activities, such as jallikattu events, which lead to unnecessary mass gatherings, is critical to preventing the rapid spread of Covid-19, protecting public health, and relieving pressure on health-care professionals," says Dr Deepshikha Chandravanshi, one of the doctors who signed the letter.
The plea comes as several countries around the world impose new safety guidelines in response to rising COVID-19 cases and the threat of the Omicron variant, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India.
"Non-essential events like jallikattu have no place in a country fighting a deadly contagious virus," says Manilal Valliyate, CEO of PETA India. "PETA India is urging officials to heed the professional advice of these medical doctors and cancel jallikattu events in order to protect the bulls from cruelty and the public from a potentially fatal disease." According to a PETA India statement, since the Tamil Nadu government legalised jallikattu in 2017, at least 22 bulls and 69 humans have died, and over 4,696 humans have been injured.