Bull tamers take on angry bulls in dangerous traditional sport in South India

Bull tamers took on angry bulls in a traditional sport event in South India on Friday 14 January. The dangerous and arguably cruel spectacle happened in Avaniapuram in Madurai District of Tamil Nadu state. The municipality is famous for its bull taming events. The Jallikattu is a Tamil sport practiced from the Tamil classical period (400-100 BCE). It is seen as a way for young men to display their bravery. It was the first Jallikattu event of the year, after nearly a year of pandemic restrictions. The bulls were let out of the Vaadi Vaasal (small entrance), to the whistles and applause of the spectators. Despite the best efforts of the young men trying to control them, many of the bulls were able to escape their clutches. Three hundred bull tamers and 700 bulls are believed to have participated in this event. Each contest involved 20 men. Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, Tamil Nadu's government has made new rules on how such events can be held. Bull owners must produce a negative PCR test result within the last 48 hours and a vaccination certificate. Spectator numbers were also restricted to 50% of capacity.

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