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Annual cattle race abandoned

Staff Reporter

Animal lovers had been opposing the event citing cruelty


Collector says administration complying with court orders

SPCA says it is a victory for animal lovers




No starting point: Training sessions like these were a common sight at Anandappally near Adoor.

PATHANAMTHITTA: The Anandappally Karshaka Samiti which organises the Maramadi festival at Anandappaly, near Adoor, has abandoned the 59th annual cattle race scheduled for August 15 following objection from animal lovers.

Talking to The Hindu, samiti secretary V.K. Stanley said the decision was taken after an official meeting convened by District Collector P.C. Sanalkumar at the Collectorate on Thursday. The cattle issue was taken up by the Honorary Animal Welfare Officer appointed by the Animal Welfare Board of India, A.G. Babu, as an act involving cruelty to animals.

The Collector had directed the Revenue Divisional Officer at Adoor, N. Mahesan, to ensure that the organisers of the Maramadi festival strictly complied with the rules and regulations passed by Parliament for conducting events involving performance of animals for public entertainment.

Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, MLA; Ajitha Suresh, Adoor municipal chairperson; N. Mahesan, Adoor RDO; P.K. Jayasree, Thiruvalla RDO; Thomas Francis, Mr. Stanley, Anandappally Surendran and Binu K. Mathew, Karshaka Samiti leaders, attended the meeting.

The MLA and samiti leaders strongly opposed the allegations of cruelty levelled by the Idukki unit of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) against the Maramadi festival. They claimed that the race oxen could not be taken as performing animals.

The MLA even threatened to stage a satyagraha, if the district authority denied permission for the annual event that had been taking place at Anandappally for the last five decades.

The Collector said the District Magistrate had not yet banned the event. Instead, the authority had directed the RDO to ensure its conduct as per the prevailing norms prescribed for the same.

Mr. Sanalkumar said both the Supreme Court and the Kerala High Court had unambiguously issued definite guidelines for performing animals at a public function and the administration was bound to comply with the court orders.

The samiti leaders alleged that the SPCA in Pathanamthitta had never opposed the cattle race. Instead, the SPCA office-bearers in the district had been supporting or rather encouraging the cattle race all these years, Mr. Stanley said.

He said the SPCA could have informed the organisers in advance on the legal aspects involved in the issue so that the organisers could promptly obtain the mandatory certificates for conducting the event from the Animal Welfare Board of India.

According to him, there is “little option left before the organisers at this eleventh hour other than abandoning the event this year, leaving much disappointment to the cattle race lovers in this part of the State.”

A.G. Babu, secretary of Idukki SPCA, said the samiti decision to drop the cattle race was, in effect, the third victory for animal lovers in a series in their fight against cattle race. Earlier, the court had banned the cattle race at Thodupuzha in Idukki and Kakkoor in Ernakulam, following opposition from animal lovers, he added.

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