KOCHI: Ernakulam District Collector Mohammed Hanish on Sunday banned the Kakkoor Kalavayal (bull race) this year. In a petition submitted to the District Collector, Kerala ParistitiSamrakshana Samithy and Muvattupuzha-based NGO Daya had demanded the banning of the contest on the grounds that it amounted to the violation of animal rights and was conducted against the spirit of the High Court Order which issued nine guidelines for the conduct of bull races. Announcing the decision to ban the Kakkoor kalavayal at a special meeting of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), the Collector said that a committee appointed as per the High Court order had submitted its report stating that the race was conducted squarely violating the guidelines. The committee was appointed last year to look into the allegations of various instances of animal cruelty and adherence of the nine guidelines issued by the court with regard to the conduct of the race. There were reports that a panel was formed last week at Kakkoor to conduct the race and preparations were underway to make it a big event. Kakkoor Kalavayal is held annually and it attracts large crowd, even from far-flung places. Animal rights activist claim that the bulls were tortured and physically assaulted in addition to the heavy stress put on them to win the race.