The Karnataka Assembly on Monday passed a bill legalising kambala, a traditional buffalo-racing sport, held in parts of the state. The Bill only permits those events in which animals are not subjected to “unnecessary pain” and suffering, The Huffington Post reported. The Bill also says that the sport is vital to “preserving and promoting traditions and culture among the people in the state”.

On February 6, Karnataka Law Minister TB Jayachandra said the state government would introduce the Bill to the legislature. Jayachandra had earlier said that the legislation would amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has also repeatedly expressed his support for bringing back the sport.

Buffalo racing was barred in Karnataka after animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a petition against the practice. In its verdict, the Karnataka High Court had observed: “All animals are not anatomically designed to be performing animals...Unavoidable activities causing pain and suffering to animals must be avoided.” On January 30, the high court had said it would look into a petition challenging the ban on kambala only after the Supreme Court pronounces its verdict on Tamil Nadu’s bull-taming sport jallikattu.