Maharashtra okays bulls races, but Rs 5 lakh fine for injury to animal

Added clause allows bullock cart race in state in interest of 'tradition and culture' but announces fine if rules are violated

The tails of bulls are twisted by a farmer to make them run faster in a race in Satara district. File Pic

Maharashtra can begin racing bullocks again, a favourite sport in the interiors of the state. In an amendment made to the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act, 1960, on July 31, the state has revoked its ban on bullock cart racing imposed two years ago. In April, the legislature had cleared the bill aiming to amend the PCA Act.

A newly inserted clause in the act points out that bullock cart racing can be held in the state with a "view to follow tradition and culture", with prior approval of the district collector. However, it also stated that the races were subject to the condition that no pain or suffering is caused to the animal and any violation of the rule would invite a fine of R5 lakh or imprisonment of up to three years.

Animal activists are, however, furious with the decision. Slamming the decision to allow bullock cart racing in the state once again, Dr Manilal Valliyate, CEO of PETA India, said, "Most Indians abhor cruelty to animals, yet just to please a few outliers, an SC verdict and animal protection laws are being tossed aside in Maharashtra."

He added, "It has been documented that bulls used for racing run because they are treated in ways that violate the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. They are hit, often with nail-studded sticks, have their tails twisted and broken, and are dragged up by their nose ropes if they collapse."

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