Bengaluru, Feb 13, 2017: The Karnataka Government on Monday passed an amendment bill in the state Assembly to legalise the traditional buffalo race "Kambala" and bullock cart races.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced in the state Assembly on February 10.
This development comes a month after Tamil Nadu passed a bill to allow Jallikattu.
The clamour for Kambala was spurred by the success of the stir in Tamil Nadu for allowing Jallikattu (taming of bull), which led to the state government bringing a similar amendment to the Central act.
Kambala Committees and various Kannada organisations had held protests at several places against the ban.
Considering the significant role played by the traditional sports events "Kambala" and "Bulls race or Bullock cart race" in preserving and promoting traditions and culture among the people in the state and their vital role in ensuring survival and continuance of native breeds of cattle, the government has decided to exempt their conduct, the bill said.
The centuries-old buffalo races are held in the wetlands of coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Uduipi from November-March every year to celebrate a good harvest and as a recreational sport for farmers and rural folk.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (Central Act 59 of 1960) was enacted to prevent the infliction of unnecessary cruelty and suffering on animals.
It recognises the need to exempt the application of its provisions in certain circumstances.
The amendment bill states that there was no extra expenditure involved in the proposed legislative measure.
Amid growing protests for lifting the court stay on Kambala, the Karnataka Cabinet on January 28 had decided to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to pave the way for the traditional sport.
A Karnataka High Court Division Bench, headed by Chief Justice SK Mukherjee, had in November last year stayed holding of Kambala on a petition by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) challenging it in view of orders passed by the Supreme Court on Jallikattu.
PETA noted that the buffaloes are whipped to race faster in slush paddy fields for their owners to win cash prizes from Rs 10,000 to Rs 5 lakh.
On January 30 last, the high court had said it would await the Supreme Court verdict on Jallikattu case.