An Indian court on Friday banned a centuries-old tradition of bullfighting in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, calling the ritual "barbaric".
During the fights, staged annually throughout the state on January 16, bulls are forced to drink liquor and have chili powder thrown into their eyes before tens of thousands of revellers chase and stone them to death.
"We cannot continue with such events if it is barbaric," Supreme Court Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan said in the ruling.
"We cannot allow any event involving cruelty towards animals," he said, dismissing the Tamil Nadu government's appeal to allow the event, which marks the harvest season in the state of 55 million people.
Animal lovers cheered the verdict but the ruling dampened spirits in the state, where banners and posters were put up in towns and villages opposing the ban, the Press Trust of India reported.
"The Supreme Court declining permission to allow the cruel event is wonderful," said Maneka Gandhi, India's best-known animal rights activist.