Deaths are common in Jallikattu events. Getty Images

At least three men have been gored to death in southern India while watching the bull-taming sport Jallikattu, which sees thousands attempt to chase down bulls and grab prizes attached to their horns.

Authorities have said that at least 60 people were injured during the event held on Tuesday (16 January), which was among the first to be held on such a scale since a Supreme Court ruling banning the sport was lifted by the government.

The ban was issued due to concerns regarding animal cruelty, but was lifted after widespread protests.

Over the years hundreds of people have been hurt in Jallikattu events, including spectators. Many participants have also been killed.

The risks are obvious and come part and parcel with the spectacle itself.

Jallikattu is more than 2,000 years old, making it one of the oldest sports still played.

It is not the same as Spanish bullfighting, as the bull is not killed and those taking part are not permitted to use weapons.

The event begins with a bull being released into a crowd of people who chase the animal and attempt to hold on to its hump for roughly 15-20 meters or three jumps, while also trying to grab prizes – usually bundles of money – which are tied to its sharpened horns.

The government says Jallikattu is important for the "survival and well-being of the native breed of bulls and preserving cultural traditions". However, animal rights activists say it causes unnecessary stress to the animals.

India's Supreme Court agreed when it passed its initial ruling, saying the sport "severely harmed" the animals.