Sri Lanka bans cruelty to bulls in April races

April 04, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka announced a cracked down on cruelty to bulls at cart races during next week’s New Year celebrations, President Mahinda Rajapakse’s office said Wednesday.

Cart rallies are common during Sri Lanka’s traditional two day New Year celebration, which starts on April 13, but animal rights activists say the carriages are driven by carters who treat the animals badly.

Bulls are usually pulled by the tail and their testicles are kicked by the cart drivers who also whips the animal while holding the holding the reigns which are passed through its nostrils, activists have complained.

Animal rights activists say these events, usually common outside Colombo, should not be seen by children. However, these races are popular among adults who also place bets.

Rajapakse’s office urged the public to report such races to the police.

“All police personnel have been instructed to prevent the incidence of cruelty to cart bulls,” the statement said. Those found guilty, could face a fine up to 100 rupees (one dollar), according to the current laws which were drawn up over 100 years ago during Britain’s occupation of the island which ended in 1948.