Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 25 May 2019

Jallikattu bull-taming festival sees 50 injuries on day one

Injuries are likely to rise at the traditional spectacle in southern India

More than 50 participants were injured on the first day of a bull-taming festival in southern India, according to reports.

The Jallikattu festival in Tamil Nadu, which has attracted criticism from animal rights groups, involves nearly 500 animals individually set loose from pens, straight into the assembled crowd.

The event is making a comeback after a prior ban.

Those taking part in the spectacle, which started on Tuesday, have to grab the prominent humps on the bulls’ backs and hang on as long as possible.

Participants stand the chance of winning prizes, which include motor scooters and household appliances.

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In 2018 at least five men were gored to death by bulls over the course of the event.

There have been accusations that the animals involved have been agitated in advance by being force-fed alcohol and having hot chilli powder blown in their faces.

Organisers, however, refute the claims and say the bulls are not mistreated in any way.

India's Supreme Court outlawed Jallikattu in 2016 after pressure from animal rights groups, but local authorities got the ruling overturned after insisting it was a crucial part of regional culture and identity.

The 500 bulls and a similar number of what are termed ‘tamers’ were involved in the opening day of the event.

Updated: January 16, 2019 05:10 PM

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