A villager was gored to death during a traditional bull-taming festival in southern India, underlining the dangers of the bloody sport.
P. Murugan, 40, was trampled Thursday by a running bull who was agitated by the noise of drums, a local police official told AFP.
“Murugan tried to catch the bull but it trampled him to death,” he said.
Bull-taming is extremely popular in rural pockets of Tamil Nadu where every year hundreds of men try to hold the hump of the beasts and run, as spectators cheer raucously at events held across the state.
As many as 66 men were injured in the city of Madurai, 37 of them bull tamers and the rest owners and spectators, local media reports said.
A female spectator was also injured when a bull hit her near the exit to a venue, the Press Trust of India reported.
Images showed men in colourful jerseys trying to grab the bulls who swayed their long horns and gnarled in fury.
India’s Supreme Court had outlawed the practice in 2014 after a plea by animal rights groups.
However, the sport was reinstated in 2017 after days of massive protests following which the Tamil Nadu government stepped in and declared bull-taming was part of the state’s culture and identity.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which has been campaigning for an end to the “abusive” practice, says its past investigations had revealed the bulls were treated with utmost cruelty.
“Their tails were bitten, twisted, and yanked to force them to run towards the menacing crowd,” it said in a report last year.
“Panicked bulls fled onto village streets, injuring onlookers and even goring some to death.”