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India
13 Feb 2018

SC refuses interim stay on Karnataka's Kambala buffalo race

Kambala, Karnataka's buffalo-racing sport, will continue for now as the SC refused to order an interim stay on it.

However, the bench comprising judges AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud has fixed March 12 as the final hearing on the plea by animal rights body People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

They were opposed to the festival on grounds of cruelty to animals.

In context

What has SC decided in the Kambala case?
What is Kambala?

About

What is Kambala?

Kambala is held mainly in the Dakshina Kannada district between November and March.

It involves a pair of buffaloes tied to a plough and anchored by one person. The bullocks are made to run in parallel muddy tracks in a competition in which the fastest team wins.

Apart from being a recreational sport, it is celebrated to obtain the blessings of a good harvest.

PETA's argument

What do animal rights groups argue?

PETA argued that about 100 buffaloes participating in the race were beaten and prodded with sticks.

Further, they claimed that buffaloes with bloody wounds were forced to participate. Many of them were frothing at the mouth and their respiration rates increased, indicating that the race was unnatural.

Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organization (FIAPO) had also approached SC challenging the bill legalizing buffalo races.

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Has the government taken any steps to address these concerns?

Government steps

Has the government taken any steps to address these concerns?

Meanwhile, to allow the festival to continue, in January'17, the state cabinet had amended the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to prevent unnecessary cruelty and suffering on animals.

Later, in July'17, ex-President Pranab Mukherjee promulgated the Karnataka government's ordinance legalizing the sport after the government banned it.

PETA's advocate argued that Karnataka's ordinance lapsed and presently the buffalo race has no legal sanction.

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