Every organism in nature evolved in sync with its ecosystem. Organisms developed special attributes and adaptations to suit their natural environment which enabled them to survive better. Hence the elements in the ecosystem and relative behavioural characteristics that beings develop over time play a vital role in its nature. Most successful natural ecosystems self-sustain by providing a balanced and mixed stimulus to the beings, which are a part of the ecosystem.
In this chapter, we consider the example of Bull. Bull was originally a wild animal.The characteristics and behaviour they developed were a result of the cycle they had in their natural environment. This natural ecosystem provided them the necessary balance and stimulus triggering and sustaining their bio-system. Due to their benefits to society, they were domesticated by Humans. Domestication provides a mutually advantageous situation for both the bulls and humans. However, losing the natural ecosystem in which bulls evolved to survive, disrupted their balanced stimulus cycle.
The situations and stimulus previously offered by the natural ecosystem are keys for the bull's healthy development and life cycle - since they originally evolved to survive there. Lack of such balanced stimulation during their growth cycle can cause detrimental effects.
It is a scientific fact that there is significant change in the psychological and physiological attributes of domesticated animals which lack the balanced natural stimulus - which they were used to in their natural habitats.
Through selective breeding, we have been able to breed superior live stock. However, sustenance of the bull's nature can only be brought about through relevant exercises and stimuli.
DESIGN & BENEFITS OF ERU THAZHUVUTHAL / JALLI KATTU - STIMULATION FOR BULL'S HEALTH
In the case of the South Indian bull, the bull's care taker - apart from maintaining a healthy diet and hygiene for the bull also provides relevant exercises, training and stimuli to enable strong growth of the bull. Some exercises include swimming, running. At specific instances, bulls are naturally aggressive. Suppressing their aggressive nature is detrimental for the bull's healthy development (Both psychological and physical). This is why some training exercises encourage such aggressive behaviour of the bull in a controlled manner. Adequate measures need to be taken to handle their aggression and keep them in check in order to prevent injury to the bull.
One specific natural stimulus that the bulls experienced in the wild is scenarios that trigger their Adrenalin. Apart from other exercises, adequate Adrenalin trigger is essential in order for the bull to maintain their high level of health and natural superior survival attributes. Especially for superior fertility these stimuli help enhance hormones such as testosterone. These attributes include superior immunity, fertility and overall health.
In domestic ecosystems, there are very less situations to provide stimuli for Adrenalin rush for the bull. This is where certain exercises have been designed and integrated with the culture to provide such stimuli.
The traditional sport originally known as 'Earu Thazhuvuthal' (Embracing a bull) - today known as Jalli kattu - offers such stimuli that supports natural development of the bull.
Every game has a set of logical reasoning behind the rules and game structure. Logically looking at the rules of this game provides a clear picture of the beneficial stimulation exercise that has been designed for the bull in the olden days:
- The bull will be released into the arena through the entry gate (vadi vasal). Here the contestant / participant (also called as bull tamer) should ONLY hold on to the hump. He should NOT hold on to the neck or horns or tails of the bull. Such tamers will be disqualified.
- This pose is similar to a four legged predator trying to embrace the bull but is designed to be harmless to the bull. It will only trigger adrenalin triggering a fight or flight response for the bull.
- This pose in the controlled simulation, triggers a natural instinctive response by the bull - causing it to throw / tamper off the participant from its hump.
- Only one bull tamer shall hold on to the bull at one time. If more than one tamer holds on to the bull, the tamers do not win and repeated offence can cause disqualification.
- This rule is there in place to make sure that the bull is not over burdened. This is for both the bull and the participant's safety.
- The maximum distance the bull tamer shall hold on to the bull is till the bull crosses the finish line.(Usually about 50 feet).
- This is one of the controls in the simulated stimulation exercise for the bull - Not to overexert the bull.
- One must understand that the bull does not recognize that the tamer lets go off the bull after this line. To the bull, it will feel as if it escaped the tamer and triumphed. This is a natural positive feeling which reinforces the bull's confidence.
- After crossing the line, the bull is collected in the collection station where it is helped to relax by the bull's care taker - relieving it from continued anxiety.
- If the bull throws the tamer off before the line or if no-one manages to hold on to the bull, then the bull will be declared victorious.
- There are documented instances of the bull standing up for itself and confidently facing the tamers. This is further evidence that the simulation works to stimulate the necessary beneficial response in the bull.
- It is also documented over the years by many organizations that the bulls that underwent such training and stimulation exhibited superior traits and were used for selective breeding - resulting in healthy off springs.
- If the bull-tamer manages to hold on to the hump till it crosses the ‘finish line’, then the bull tamer is declared the winner.
- This is to encourage sportsmanship and dedication of the participant in the stimulation exercise.
- This also helps to engage the society and sustain such beneficial exercise routine for the bulls.
- No Bull tamer will hit or hurt the bull in any manner.
- This is an important rule. This is to make sure that there are checks and balances to maintain the beneficial purpose of the simulation and not over do and harm the bull.
Looking at the logical design of the sport - it is evident that it is a stimulus inducing exercise for the bull - designed inorder to naturally spur growth and sustain its superior nature. Bulls are very resilient creatures by nature - especially Indian native breed. Hence such controlled stimulation works well with its natural traits.
There are also further social systems (Eg: Saami Maadu) established for breeding - that are designed to avoid inbreeding of cattle and also choosing the best donor for the next breed.
We share this world with many other beings. It is essential that we take care of animals in this world. One way is to preserve their natural habitats. In case of domesticated animals, it is essential that we groom them in a way that they sustain their characteristics which are a part of their healthy nature. Caring for the animals involves not only feeding them but also grooming them with necessary stimulation. Ofcourse unnecessary / purposeless hurting of animals must be avoided. Alternatively, Caging animals (in the name of protection) or turning domesticated animals into bio-machines or milk vending machines without due care for their physical and psychological stimulation in a sustained manner is literally torture for the animal.
During social event or sports there may be violations in existing rules. There may also be gaps or improvement necessities to existing rules. It is necessary to design intelligent and sophisticated systems to make sure that the rules are enhanced to support the core purpose of the sport and are followed. In case of Earu Thazhuvuthal, the moral responsibility to provide such development stimulation to Bull and the benefits outweigh the problems that are pointed out. It is essential to improve the system and revitalize the sport instead of blindly banning it without fully understanding the sophisticated design of the sport. Banning it is due to inadequate understanding.
Earu Thazhuvuthal - Though highly beneficial, we also acknowledge that there are some safety hazards in such a simulation / sport. However, it is also obvious that any sport or even day to day activity is not 100% safe. We have improved the safety of many sport activities globally by carefully assessing the risks and mitigating them without spoiling the core purpose of the sport. Considering that this has been done for many such sports that are merely for sportsmanship or for viewer's amusement and to support business interests, It can be said with confidence that for a morally obligatory and intelligently crafted sport such as Earu Thazhuvuthal - much better risk mitigation measures can be taken and the safety shall be improved. Banning the sport without understanding the logical and health / developmental benefits for the bull is absurd. The reason for such bans might be that many people failed to understand the intricate details, purpose and the benefits of this sport. It is time we see the logical reasoning behind such sports and improve upon the existing template for the benefit of live stock.
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