Degree of cruelty to buffaloes less in Kambala, HC told

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kambala_udupi_photo_1Bengaluru: The High Court on Thursday asked the State government to spell out its stand on the ban imposed on Kambala (buffalo race) as there were conflicting statements given by different ministers in the Assembly.

The counsel representing the government said that they did not have any explanation on the statements given by ministers in the Assembly.

While hearing the petition filed by the Kambala committee, challenging the ban imposed on the sport in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, Justice S Abdul Nazeer reserved the orders on the interim prayer to hold the Kambala race, till Monday.

The bench questioned the counsel representing the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) if any scientific study had been conducted about Kambala as in the case of Jallikattu or if scientific evidence was documented with regard to the cruelty done to the buffaloes.

The counsel representing AWBI said that the buffaloes are beaten in the race to make them run fast, which amounts to torture. He submitted that the Supreme Court, in the order, had stated that beating animals was an act of cruelty and holding such events was not an act of necessity.

The counsel said that “there has been a drastic paradigm shift in the way we have understood cruelty to animals and said that buffaloes which are not meant for running were being inflicted with unjustifiable cruelty.”

The Assistant Solicitor General (ASG), representing the Central government, said that compared to the torture the bulls suffered in Jallikattu – where their ears were pierced so that they could hear the instructions well, they were poked, beaten and even made to drink liquor – the buffaloes in Kambala are only whipped to ensure they run faster.

The ASG said that the level of cruelty is on the extreme side in case of Jallikattu. He said that Kambala could be permitted if there was no piercing of ear or any kind of mutilation, stabbing or beating, use of any irritant solutions or liquor and no stimulator used on the animal. Having the entire race videotaped would help avoid cruelty to the animals.

Senior counsel B V Acharya, defending the Kambala race, said that it was a folk sport which had a history of more than 900 years. The senior counsel argued that there were scientific theses about Kambala and that the State government had recognised the sport.

The Kambala race could not be compared to Jallikattu as the ban on the latter was imposed based on scientific study. However, Kambala was banned in a single day. Considering the race as cruelty is wrong as the buffaloes are beaten only to guide them. The bench reserved the orders till Monday.

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