Against the backdrop of recent Jallikattu row, a private member's bill seeking to exempt bull from the protected list of animals was today taken up in the Rajya Sabha but it was withdrawn after the government promised to look into the matter.
Moving the Private Members' resolution, DMK member Tiruchi Siva said amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty Act 1960 would avoid repeat of agitations which were witnessed in Tamil Nadu when Jallikattu was banned.
He added that the bull is used for agricultural purposes and other activities in rural parts of the country and is intrinsic part of the nations's culture and traditions.
"Bull should be exempted from the Prevention of Cruelty Act 1960. We don't want to witness agitations every year in Tamil Nadu. When there is Parliament to enact laws, it (Act) should be amended to exempt bulls from ths list," said Siva, a member from the state.
Some weeks back, Tamil Nadu saw widespread agitations against the ban on Jallikattu, a traditional annual ritual of the state in which people attempt to tame the bulls.
The Supreme Court had ordered the ban on it after animal rights activists approached it, citing cruelty to the bull in the sport. The event could finally take place after the state assembly passed a bill to circumvent the court order.
Siva added that foreign organisations like PETA, which are opposed to Jallikattu, intend to harm the country's traditions and culture.
While acknowleding the "valid points" raised by the DMK member, Minister of State for Parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi urged him to withdraw the resolution.
He said Siva and other members who participated in the debate gave very good suggestions and the government will consider those whenever the matter is taken up in future.
"There were so many good suggestions which came out during the discussion. These will be helpful in future legislations. Whenever we take up this matter, we will include all your suggestions," Naqvi assured the members.
Earlier replying to a debate on the private member's bill, Minister of State for Agriculture Sudarshan Bhagat said the government has initiated various schemes to encourage use of indigenous animals in the country.
He said the government has released funds to various states under 'Gokul Grams' scheme for breeding indigenous breeds.
TKS Elangovan (DMK), also from Tamil Nadu, said Jallikattu is a celebration with the bull and it is not meant to harm the animal.
He added that there is no place in the country where bulls are more pampered or protected than in Tamil Nadu.
Earlier, while moving the Private Member's resolution, Siva urged the government to include amended Prevention of Cruelty to Anmals Act 1960 in the Ninth Schedule in the Constitution of India.
He also asked the government to take steps to encourage and incentivise the use of indigenous cattle for agricultral purposes and improve their health and stock.
Seeking protection of indigenous breeds of cattle, the DMK member said cattle play important role in farming and preserving environment.
By increasing reliance on cattle in agriculture, one can reduce cost of food products and avoid negative efforts on environment and health.
Referring to Jallikatu, he said it is a sport practised during the Indus Valley civilisation and can be seen in the National Museum in the national capital.
Jallikatu is celebrated all over Tamil Nadu and it encourages to have indigenous bulls.
However, he said, native breeds of cattle are gradually being phased out due to the onslaught of modern farm equipments and also because of artificial insemination of cows.
Supporting the resolution, Congress MP Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu said there should not be any use of medicines in the bulls game and it needs human approach.
Jairam Ramesh (Congress) raised doubts over the motive
of the resolution to exempt bulls from Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.
"I rise to oppose this resolution because its objective is not organic farming or animal welfare or improvement in agriculture practice. The real objective is to protect Jallikatta," the former Union Minister said.
He said there is no connection between all of the 16 listed objectives to be achieved through this resolution and the Act.
Elaborating, he said he was of the view that the Act does not prohibit training of a bull for various purposes and therefore he failed to understand the connection between the proposal and the law.
"Tomorrow you will remove animal after animals from the (purview) of this Act. I disagree with the conclusion of this resolution and request not to persist with the resolution," he said.
He told the House that Rukmini Devi Arundale, a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, had brought a private member bill to prevent cruelty towards animal following which then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had promised to pass a legislation in this regard.
Thus, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 Act was passed in the Parliament and enforced.
Ramesh quoted Rukmini Devi Arundale and said, "Test of the civilised society is how it treats its animals."
Ramesh said the states are empowered to pass their own laws to deal with cattle or animal and there is Tamil Nadu Animal Preservation Act 1958.
"Why does not the state government amend the Tamil Nadu Animal Preservation Act 1958 to achieve this purpose," he asked.
BJP members Basawaraj Patil, L A Ganesan and Meghraj Jain supported the resolution.
Congress member B K Hariprasad, D Raja (CPI) and Vijila Sathyananth (AIADMK) also supported it and talked about utility of cattle in the rural economy and importance of local traditions like Jallikattu.