The Karnataka Assembly on Monday passed a Bill to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 in order to legalise buffalo racing or Kambala, which is popular in the state’s coastal region of Dakshina Kannada. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017 was tabled following protests in Karnataka last month, which came close on the heels of the protests in Tamil Nadu demanding legalisation of Jallikattu or the bull taming sport. The law allows the conduct of Kambala despite a Karnataka High Court order banning the sport in November, 2016.
The new law states that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 allows exemptions in some circumstances. It says that Kambala and bull or bullock cart racing would be exempt from the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 considering the role of the traditional sports “in preserving and promoting tradition and culture among the people in the state’’ and their role “in ensuring survival and continuance of native breeds of cattle’’.
In its key amendment to Section 3 of the principal Act the Bill states that the “conduct of Kambala” shall be permitted subject to condition that no unnecessary pain or suffering is caused to the animals’’. The amendment was passed unanimously.
In a reaction to the passing of the Bill, Poorva Joshipura, CEO of PETA, stated that the cruelties inherent in events like 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 during Kambala events in 2014 and 2015,’’ PETA has stated.