State supports plea by owners of cart race bullocks

Says will implement guidelines for conduct of races.

The state government told Bombay High Court (HC) on Monday it intends to put in practice a number of guidelines for bullock-cart races held in rural parts of Maharashtra.

The guidelines include prohibition on whipping the bulls and getting the animals mandatorily inspected by a veterinarian. A seperate track for each participating bullock cart will also become compulsory.

HC had banned bullock-cart racing in the state on March 12 in response to a petition by Kandivali-based animal rights activist Gargi Gogoi.

On Monday, the court was hearing a petition by Khed Taluka Chalak Malak Sangh, an organisation of owners of such bulls, seeking a review.

Additional government pleader G W Mattos told HC the state supported the review petition. He also placed an affidavit, signed by Surdas Shende, under secretary (animal husbandry), before the court explaining government stand.

The affidavit said not all carts were driven by cartmen and hence, the question of cruelty or harassment did not arise. It pointed out, "In several districts such as Satara, Kolhapur and Sangli, farmers depend on rearing calves for the purpose of selling at such village shows." Mattos said the bulls used for such races were generally of Mysore breed and physically strong. The hearing will continue on November 22.

Dos and Don'ts

Do not whip bulls

Get animals mandatorily inspected by a veterinarian

Ensure a seperate track for each participating bullock cart

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