Kambala still illegal, govt must stop it: Animal Welfare Board

Kambala still illegal, govt must stop it: Animal Welfare Board

 The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) wants the State government to take immediate steps to stop Kambala (the annual buffalo race) planned for the year 2015-16 in the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi.

Acting on a complaint by the animal rights organisation People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the board has written to Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee, the deputy commissioners of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada and the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences.

It cited the High Court of Karnataka’s interim order on December 15, 2014, which stayed the orders of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi district administrations to permit Kambala with certain conditions last year.

On April 10, 2015, the High Court dismissed these orders stating that they can no longer be considered since the events had already been held by the organisers.

This means, the board wrote, that later orders issued by the administrations of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts prohibiting Kambala — and upholding the May 7, 2014, judgment of the Supreme Court which bans bull races in all of India — are still in force and Kambala cannot be held.

The AWBI emphasised that the orders of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada district administrations were not limited to Kambala events organised in 2014–15 but were to be in force forever. A policy decision taken by the Department of Parliamentary Affairs and Legislation on November 14, 2014, also prohibited animal cruelty.

The AWBI inspected three Kambala events in 2014–15, which led to filing of 65 non-cognisable offence complaints and one First Information Report (FIR) at local police stations.

The inspection reports explained the violations of the specific conditions set by the Karnataka High Court under which it allowed Kambala, and it was proved that Kambala was no different from bull races and ‘Jallikattu’ (bull-taming sport played in Tamil Nadu),  which the Supreme Court has banned.

These events violate several sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and Rules thereunder.

PETA India Director of Veterinary Affairs Dr Manilal Valliyate said the State government must enforce the Supreme Court judgment.

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