Kambala Back Despite Cruelty Claims, Karnataka Assembly Amends Law

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Kambala Back Despite Cruelty Claims, Karnataka Assembly Amends Law

Kambala was banned at the same time as Jallikattu and for the same reason.


Bengaluru:  Following in the steps of neighbouring Tamil Nadu, Karnataka has made a move to make the banned buffalo-racing sport Kambala legal again. On Monday, the state assembly passed a bill that would amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to allow the sport following huge protests in the state. The move was backed by all parties, which had made it clear that they would support the state's Congress government in its bid to bring back the event, popular in the coastal belt of Karnataka.

Kambala was banned at the same time as Jallikattu and for the same reason - the potential cruelty to the animals involved. But a committee headed by law minister TB Jayachandra decided that there was no cruelty to animals.

In Kambala, buffaloes are raced along a muddy stretch, usually whipped along by a man running with them.

"The recent decision to allow Jallikattu has had dire consequences," said Poorva Joshipura, Chief Executive of the Animal rights group PETA (India), in a statement.

Since Jallikattu was re-introduced in Tamil Nadu, there have been numerous bull and human deaths, the statement read. "Some have been calling for legalising events like bull and buffalo races, during which animals are often hit with nail-studded sticks; cockfights, in which knives are often tied to roosters' feet to make fights bloodier; and bulbul bird fights, for which birds are trapped and fed intoxicants," the statement read. All these events, the statement added, violate the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.

Late last year, the Karnataka High Court had put a stop to Kambala following a petition by PETA. On January 30, the court said it would observe the Supreme Court's decision in the ongoing case against Jallikattu.

In 2014 and 2015, the government's Animal Welfare Board recorded 65 complaints while inspecting Kambala events. One police case was also filed.

Its report - which contained photographic evidence - said the animals were shouted at and hit, ropes inserted through their noses were violently pulled.

Many of the buffaloes were seen frothing at the mouth, salivating heavily, and having increased respiration rates, "demonstrating that they are anatomically unfit to be forced to take part," the report said. "Allowing this cruelty to animals is a shameful black mark on our nation."


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