The Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha on Thursday passed a Bill legalising bullock cart races in the state. The state assembly passed the bill to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.
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Animal Husbandry Minister Mahadev Jankar tabled the Bill in the state assembly. The state Cabinet had decided to appoint a cabinet sub-committee last week to examine the draft of the amendment bill. The amendment was proposed to preserve the purity, safety, security and well-being of the native breeds in keeping with the tradition and culture of the state.
The races will now be allowed in every district that traditionally organises it and the following or promotion of culture and tradition will not be considered an offence henceforth. The races can be held with the permission of the Collector on condition that no pain or suffering is caused to the animal by any person or person responsible for the animal used in the bullock cart race. The amendment states that any person who is found guilty of causing any injury or harm to the animal will be sentenced to three years in prison or be charged with a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh.
The Maharashtra government seems to have followed the footsteps of the Tamil Nadu government, which passed an Ordinance in January to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 paving the way for the legalisation of Jallikattu, the bull-taming sport, in the state.