Bulls gore five men to death during controversial Indian festival

At least five men were gored to death during a bull-taming festival in southern India known as Jallikattu.

During the controversial event, which started Sunday across the southern state of Tamil Nadu, bulls are released into a crowd and the wild animals are forced to fend off people trying to either ride them or pluck bundles of money and gold tied to their specially sharpened horns.

On Wednesday, at least five people – including a 45-year-old vendor – were killed by raging bulls.

A villager is pinned down by a bull as another attempts to control him during the annual bull-taming festival called Jallikattu, which is part of south India's Pongal harvest festival of Pongal, on the outskirts of the southern city of Madurai, India, January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa - RC1BD66C2560

Officials said at least 60 people had been injured or mauled since Sunday  (Reuters)

The Hindu reported the vendor, identified as M Jeeva Kumar of Koilpatty, was watching the events when a ferocious bull gored him in Vadamalapur, near the exit point.

One person was killed in Palamedu on Monday, while two died in Siravayal and another in Palakurishi on Tuesday.

Officials said at least 60 people have been injured or mauled since Sunday.

The controversial sport was banned by the Indian Supreme Court in 2014 on grounds of animal cruelty. However, the government lifted the ban last year after widespread protests, BBC News reported.

Villagers attempt to control a bull during the annual bull-taming festival called Jallikattu, which is part of south India's Pongal harvest festival, on the outskirts of the southern city of Madurai, India January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Abhishek Chinnappa - RC14F0C86E40

During Jallikattu, bulls are released into a crowd as people pluck bundles of money or gold tied to their sharpened horns.  (Reuters)

In its decision to overturn the ban, government officials said Jallikattu was important for the “survival and well-being of the native breed of bulls and preserving cultural traditions.”

Animal rights activists claim the event causes unnecessary stress to the bulls. According to the BBC, Jallikattu is more than 2,000 years old and is considered one of the world’s oldest sports still practiced today.

Unlike traditional bullfighting, the bull is not killed in Jallikattu. Instead men try to dominate and tame the animal without using weapons.

Lucia I. Suarez Sang is a Reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang