Animal Welfare Board Warns Karnataka that Allowing Kambala is in Contempt of Supreme Court Directive and Must be Stopped

For Immediate Release:
15 January 2016

Dr Manilal Valliyate +91 9910817382; [email protected]
Nikunj Sharma +91 9910397382; [email protected]

Letter Follows PETA Complaint to AWBI and Supreme Court Stay on Central Government’s Notification Allowing Use of Bulls for Performances

Bengaluru – Acting on a complaint from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has fired off a letter to Karnataka’s chief secretary, the deputy commissioners of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts, officials in the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services and superintendents of police asking that all recipients take immediate steps to stop the Kambala events planned and listed in the 2015–16 calendar.

In its letter dated 14 January 2016, the AWBI points out that the Supreme Court of India has stayed the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF & CC)’s 7 January 2016 notification which permitted the use of bulls in jallikattu, bullock cart races and similar events – and the court refused to revoke the stay through an order dated 13 January 2016. The stay applies to Karnataka, too. The letter further explains that the MoEF & CC has already clarified that the word “bulls” refers to oxen, bullocks, cows, calves (male and female) and castrated and uncastrated bulls – and that the term “oxen” is the plural of ox, meaning “any member of the bovine family”, which includes buffalo and cattle. The letter further clarifies that “ox” means “domesticated bovine animal kept for milk or meat; a cow or bull”, and “oxen” includes “any of various large, bulky bovids, as domestic cattle, water buffaloes, and yaks”.

The AWBI letter further states that the Karnataka government’s decision to allow Kambala directly violates the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, and is squarely in contempt of Supreme Court directives and judgement.

The AWBI previously wrote a letter to the Karnataka government on 18 December 2015 stating that the order of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada district officials which banned Kambala events in the year 2014 is not limited to events organised in 2014–15 but rather is permanent, and hence the ban on such events must continue. The AWBI conducted inspections of three Kambala events in 2014–15 which resulted in the filing of 65 non-cognisable offence complaints and one first-information report at local police stations, and it was proved beyond doubt that Kambala events are inherently cruel and are no different from bull races and jallikattu, which the Supreme Court also banned from taking place in the country.

“There’s absolutely no room in today’s civilised society for races that involve forcing already overworked bulls to run because of fear and physical abuse, and India’s Supreme Court has already confirmed that”, says PETA India Director of Veterinary Affairs Dr Manilal Valliyate. “PETA asks Karnataka to uphold the law and the Supreme Court judgement and to spare buffaloes needless suffering.”

PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – has taken part in the AWBI inspections and documented cruelty to buffalo used in Kambala events. The inspection found violations of the Supreme Court’s order and several sections of the Indian Penal Code as well as the PCA Act and the rules thereunder. The findings include that buffalo used in racing were not registered with the AWBI, drivers and animal handlers did not possess certificates for transportation of animals, buffalo had two or three tight-fitting thick nose ropes inserted through a hole in the nasal septum (which were constantly pulled and yanked, causing tremendous distress and pain), and buffalo had nose rings and plastic coverings on nose ropes that caused pain and distress. During the race, the buffalo were subjected to violent acts, including being hit on the body, being slapped in the face and having their tails pulled. Many were forced to participate in the race throughout the night, and after the race, the animals frothed at the mouth and salivated heavily because of severe dehydration and exhaustion.

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