Paving the way for the conduct of kambala, traditional buffalo race, the Karnataka Legislative Assembly passed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017.

The amended bill
The Bill seeks to exempt kambala and bullock-cart racing from the ambit of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960. Kambala is currently stayed by the High Court following a petition by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Thousands in the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi, where kambala is widely held, had protested the ban. They argued that the annual kambala races in paddy fields were part of their tradition. The movement gathered momentum after the jallikattu agitation in the neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

Allegation of cruelty
PETA said the inspection reports contained a scientific assessment of the welfare of buffaloes that were forced to participate in such events, including evidence of different forms of cruelty inflicted on the animals.

Legislative procedure to pass the bill
Governor is likely to send Bill, passed by the State Assembly, to President for his assent. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960 is passed under powers mentioned under Concurrent list. As there is a law by Parliament on cruelty to animals, State legislature can bring the change into law only with prior approval of president.