PETA has really stepped in it. The organization is facing calls to be banned from India after its advocacy to shut down Jallikattu, a tradition in southern India. People have taken to the streets to protest PETA—both in India and in Norfolk, Va., where PETA’s headquarters is located. (And where PETA has killed tens of thousands of animals.)
Haven’t heard of Jallikattu? We hadn’t, either. It’s a several-thousand-year-old tradition during the January harvest festival whereby a bull is released into a crowd and individuals try to ride or hold onto the bull long enough to grab money or tokens from its horns. It seems a little like rodeo—a test of manhood (some might say stupidity) for the participants, but the animals aren’t harmed or killed. After all, cows are considered sacred in India.
But PETA, which wants to ban everything from owning goldfish to eating cheese, naturally doesn’t like the tradition and wants to get rid of it. And what’s a more PETA-like thing to do than launch a campaign of cultural imperialism? (PETA gave $650,000 in cash and services to its India office in 2015, according to its tax returns.)
PETA has found some traction. India’s supreme court banned Jallikattu following a petition from PETA, despite the country’s legislature attempting to protect the tradition. And that has people in southern India all riled up this month. The provincial government has pledged to look into banning PETA India, with a minister saying they’ll consider it. PETA has received a demand for apology and legal threat from a famous actor. And tens of thousands took to the streets in protest in India, along with a bunch of people at PETA’s HQ and in Dallas this past weekend (see video here).
Now, momentum seems to be turning against PETA. On Sunday, the ban on Jallikattu was lifted temporarily following the massive protests. And considering India banned Greenpeace in 2015, PETA ought to be worried it’s overplayed its hand. Instead of Jallikattu, it could be PETA India that’s history.
Memo to PETA: If you mess with the bull, you get the horns