A bull faces a crowd of tamers during a traditional bull-taming festival called "Jallikattu" in the village of Palamedu, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu state, India. Picture: R. Parthibhan/AP
A bull faces a crowd of tamers during a traditional bull-taming festival called "Jallikattu" in the village of Palamedu, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu state, India. Picture: R. Parthibhan/AP
Jallikattu involves releasing a bull into a crowd of people who attempt to grab it and ride it. Picture: R. Parthibhan/AP
Jallikattu involves releasing a bull into a crowd of people who attempt to grab it and ride it. Picture: R. Parthibhan/AP
Indian villagers try to tame a bull during a traditional bull-taming festival in the village of Palamedu. Picture: R. Parthibhan/AP
Indian villagers try to tame a bull during a traditional bull-taming festival in the village of Palamedu. Picture: R. Parthibhan/AP
An Indian man tries to tame a bull in the village of Palamedu, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu state. Picture: R. Parthibhan/AP
An Indian man tries to tame a bull in the village of Palamedu, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu state. Picture: R. Parthibhan/AP
Picture: R. Parthibhan/AP
Picture: R. Parthibhan/AP
Picture: R. Parthibhan/AP
Picture: R. Parthibhan/AP
Picture: R. Parthibhan/AP
Picture: R. Parthibhan/AP
Picture: R. Parthibhan/AP
Picture: R. Parthibhan/AP

New Delhi - Five men have been killed and more than 70 injured during bull-taming events in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu, news reports said Wednesday.

A spectator was gored by a bull at a jallikattu ("taming the bull" in Tamil) event in the Pudukottai district on Wednesday, the Hindu newspaper reported.

Three spectators died at similar events on Tuesday, taking to five the total number of deaths in jallikattu events that began on Sunday, the report said, adding that an estimated 72 people had been injured.

The controversial sport was banned in 2014 by India's Supreme Court, which agreed with a petition by animal rights activists that the practics constitutes animal cruelty.

However, the government passed an executive order lifting the ban in 2017 following protests by locals demanding that the traditional sport be allowed.

Jallikattu is similar to the Spanish bull fighting tradition and is held during the Tamil New Year harvest festival season of Pongal.

A bull is made to run in an open space where several men try to tame it by controlling its horns. The winner gets cash rewards, gold coins and other prizes.

Animal rights activists have long opposed the tradition, pointing to the injuries it causes to bulls as well as human deaths. They claim the animals are often given alcohol and chili powder is thrown at them to make them react.