Chennai, February 13: After the High Court banned Kamabala when the PIL was filed against it by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals PETA, today the Karnataka Assembly passed the bill to legalize the traditional buffalo race Kambala. A month ago Karnataka passed a bill to legalize Jalikattu.The centuries-old buffalo races are held in the wetlands of coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Uduipi, about 400km from Bengaluru, from November-March every year to celebrate a good harvest and as a recreational sport for farmers and rural folk. Kambala is a buffalo-cart race that is organised from November to March by heads of villages in coastal Karnataka.
It was banned by the Karnataka High court after public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by the India unit of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in 2016. Protests in favor of organizing Kambala gathered momentum in Karnataka following agitation against the ban on the Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.
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.
Current CM Siddaramaiah also said that he was in favor of bringing back the sport. "We are for Kambala, not against it. It is a rural sport. If necessary, we will bring legislation for it," Siddaramaiah had said.
PETA India CEO Poorva Joshipura released a statement on Monday, saying: "Some have been calling for the legalization of events such as 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. Cruelties inherent in these events violate the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960."
“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 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,” she added.