The buffalo racing sport of Kambala is now legal in Karnataka as the Assembly passed the Kambala bill on Monday.
Karnataka Animal Husbandry Minister A Manju moved a plea in the Legislative Assembly on Friday for an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 in order to permit the conduct of popular rural sports like Kambala, bull race and bullock cart races in the state, as per a report in the Deccan Chronicle.
Maintaining that the sport is an integral part of the stateâ€™s culture, the government has allowed people to continue holding them while also retaining provisions from the Act relating to humane treatment of the animal, the report says.
As part of the bill, a clause has been added to the 1960 Act stating that nothing contained in it shall apply to Kambala, bulls race or bullock cart race and conducting these sports shall not be an offence under it, the report adds.
In November 2016, the Karnataka High Court had stayed the holding of Kambala on a petition filed by PETA.
On Friday, the Karnataka Legislative Assembly had tabled the bill to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 to legalise Kambala, bullock cart racing and Kobbari Hori.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had announced that the amended bill would be introduced in the assembly session when pro-kambala protests had erupted in certain parts of the state in January after the massive peopleâ€™s movement to restore jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.
Kambala is a buffalo race practiced in coastal Karnataka and so is the bullock cart race and Kobbari Hori.
Bulls are decked up and placed in pens or horis. They are allowed to run loose and the possession of the bull goes to the person who catches it.
In a statement issued to the press, Poorva Joshipura, Chief Executive Officer, of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India said that cruelties inherent in events such as Jallikattu and Kambala, violate the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.
"A total of 65 non-cognisable offence complaints and one FIR were filed at just three events inspected by the government body Animal Welfare Board of India during Kambala events in 2014 and 2015. The inspection reports contain a scientific assessment of the welfare of buffaloes when they are forced to participate in such events, including photographic evidence and a description of different forms of cruelty inflicted on the animals, such as being subjected to verbal abuse and physical force â€“ including shouting, hitting with hands, slapping on the face, violent pulling of thick nose ropes (in some cases two or three nose ropes inserted through the same hole in the nasal septum), rough handling by pushing and pulling the animal, overpowering, tail pulling, and restricting the movements of the head using a wooden pole tied to the horns. Many of the buffaloes observed frothed at the mouth, salivated heavily, and displayed increased respiration rates, demonstrating that they are anatomically unfit to be forced to take part," said Poorva Joshipura.