Despite the Supreme Court's ban on rekla (or bull) races, Tamil Nadu is still permitting these barbaric spectacles with the assistance of police and enabling widespread cruelty to animals. This year, PETA India conducted an investigation of rekla races held on 21 January in Kolumakondan and on 4 February in South Kumarapalayam, exposing a disturbing trend of violence, abuse, and torture.
Bulls are naturally nervous prey animals who run only when they're scared or when their safety is threatened – which is the entire premise of rekla races. In the holding area, PETA India's eyewitnesses documented that owners and handlers dragged distressed bulls around with painful nose ropes, tethered them for lengthy periods of time, and denied them necessary food, water, and shade. Race participants even stooped to shocking the animals with nail-studded wooden sticks that had electric wires attached to them in order to agitate and frighten them before races. PETA India's eyewitnesses documented that owners and handlers shared electric torture devices to shock more bulls, and they saw that the animals became visually disturbed and tried to escape upon seeing their tormenters.
After participants roughly force carts onto unnerved bulls by yanking on nose ropes and hitting the animals, the race begins – but the abuse doesn't stop there. Screaming men riding in carts twist, pull, and bite bulls' tails in order to make them run faster, while other participants strike the panicked animals with rods and fists and jab sticks into their anuses. From start to finish, bulls are beaten, prodded, and attacked amidst shouting and chaos. Many are forced to race in the searing heat on tar roads repeatedly, and afterwards, they're not given any water, food, shade, or rest – all of which they sorely need.
Help PETA India protect bulls from torture by urging Tamil Nadu's government to enforce the ban on violent rekla races.