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Legislative Assembly of Karnataka on 13 February 2017 passed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017. The bill seeks to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, in its application to Karnataka.
The bill presented in the assembly by Minister for Animal Husbandry and Sericulture, A Manju was passed to facilitate the conduct of traditional buffalo race “Kambala” and bullock cart races in South Kanara and Udupi districts.
Kambala is a traditional annual buffalo race that is held in the marshy fields of the coastal districts of Karnataka. It is traditionally held under the sponsorship of local landlords and households or Patel of the village. The season for the race generally starts in November and lasts until March. At present, some 45 races are held annually in the Coastal Karnataka, including smaller remote villages.
Why was amendment needed?
The amendment to the Act of 1960 was needed to exempt the conduct of bullock cart racing from the ambit of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960. Earlier, the High Court of the state had banned the sports following a petition of PETA.
This ban by the high court led to protests by Kambala committees and other Kannada organizations in the coastal districts of the state.
The protests caught momentum after the success of stir in support of Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu. The protests in the Tamil Nadu forced the state government to bring a similar amendment to the central act.