Not very long ago, the village carnivals aka mela madis were a regular feature in Central Punjab and Sindh. However, the urbanization especially of our rural districts has limited these activities to some more remote parts of the country. Urbanization and over-industrialization offered more lucrative ventures to the people in rural societies, so many traditional sports including the oxen races started vanishing from the scene. To further discourage the people to indulge in these simple, home grown enjoying moments of fun and frolic, came also the NGO’s and animal rights activists who argued that such races were cruel sports that tormented the animals for humans’ luscious enjoyment only.
“Bullocks and oxen are not the horses, argue these activists. They are meek and gentle creatures already worn out from a hard day’s labour, even then they are forced to run. Many a time chillies are thrown into their eyes or even pushed into the arses, jabbing them in their privates with naked sticks; lashing them with steel whips and forcing alcohol down their throats”. Then the difference in the height and weight of one bullock can exert a tremendous amount of pressure on the other bullock, no wonder, that muscular injuries are common in case of these racing bulls. Such injuries are mostly caused through lashing and poking of sticks to make the animals run faster which sometimes cripples them and may even cause their death as well.