The Karnataka government has decided to bring an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA), 1960 for conducting traditional sports of Kambala and bull-cart race in the State. State Cabinet meeting presided by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah approved amendments to the Act and announced that bill will be placed before both Houses of the State legislature.
- This age-old tradition of buffalo race is a cause of concern for animal lovers and animal activists. The celebration of Kambala was stopped in Karnataka based on an order of Supreme Court, dated 7th May, 2014. This order was actually meant for the violent game of jallikkatu, a bull taming sport in Tamil Nadu. The order did not mention Kambala.
- Kambala, like jallikattu, was banned last year in November 2016 after animal rights group PETA approached the Karnataka High Court, citing animal cruelty in bull taming and buffalo racing. In view of the apex court verdict on jallikattu, the high court had also stayed this event. Kambala Committees opposed this and next hearing is slated on January 30.
- There has been a request to remove this ban on Kambala, following a government order to remove the ban on Jallikattu in January 2017.
- Kambala is an annual traditional Buffalo Race (he-buffalo) held in coastal districts of Karnataka to entertain rural people of the area. Slushy/marshy paddy field track is used for Kambala.
- The sports season generally starts in November and lasts till March. The contest generally takes place between two pairs of buffaloes, each pair race in two seprate wet rice fields tracks, controlled by a whip-lashing farmer.
- In the traditional form of Kambala, buffalo racing is non-competitive and he-buffalo pairs run one by one in paddy fields.
- Besides, there is also ritualistic approach also as some agriculturists race their he-buffaloes for thanks giving to god for protecting their animals from diseases. But in recent times, Kambala has become an organised rural sport.
- Innovations are made in conducting kambala race and in some places day and night races are arranged under floodlights.