Mumbai, April 8: In order to ensure the animals are not harmed Maharashtra government passed the legislation lifting the ban on bullock cart races. This issue got highlighted after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals PETA complained that bulls are treated cruelly during the races.The farmers protested the ban who practiced bullock cart racing as a part of their tradition and culture. Meanwhile, the animal organizations are against the lifting of ban as are hit with nail-studded sticks during races and have their nose ropes yanked. Also the bulls’ tails are bitten and broken, and they are allegedly forced to run past the point of exhaustion, which causes many to collapse.
Dr Manilal Valliyante, Director of Veterinary Affairs, PETA India, said, that “This new fashion of justifying any cruelty to animals by simply labelling it tradition, whether it is to deliberately terrify bulls for Jallikattu or to whip animals for bullock cart races, is one that urgently needs to be put out of style.”
PETA will study the amendment allowing bull races and challenge it in an appropriate court of law, he said. On Thursday, the Maharashtra government passed the legislation amending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960) to ensure there is no injury to the participating animals in a bullock cart race. As per the legislation, the organisers violating the rules will face up to three years of imprisonment or have to pay up to Rs 5 lakh as fine.
Jitesh Jotwani, a member of the organisation People for Animals, alleges that the lifting of the ban portrays the “hypocritical attitude” of the government. “On one hand, the BJP government is protecting and worshipping cows and on the other, they are being cruel to the male species of the breed,” he alleged.
Meher Mathrani, Animal Welfare Officer (H), Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), resuming bullock races whether in Maharashtra, Karnataka or Tamil Nadu along with Jallikattu is illegal.
Pune-based animal rights activist Phiroze Pundol says that as long as the bulls are not injured in the race and are getting good care, there’s nothing wrong with bullock cart racing, which, he feels, is an ancient sport just like horse riding.