Infected Bull to Die Despite Hindu Protest

June 27, 2007

Author: Simon de Bruxelles

Source: Times Online

A sacred bull that tested positive for bovine tuberculosis is to be destroyed despite protests from Hindus around the world.

Shambo, a six-year-old Friesian, is part of a 52-strong herd of cattle and water buffalo at a Hindu temple in West Wales. Barring a last-minute change of mind, he is likely to be put down on Monday.

Jane Davidson, the Welsh Assembly’s new Rural Affairs Minister, said yesterday that the slaughter would be carried out despite threats by Hindus to form a protective human chain.

Hindus believe all creatures living within the precincts of the temple should be regarded as sacred. The sanctity of cattle is a central tenet of the religion.

Since the diagnosis Shambo has been isolated from other cattle in his own barn where he is monitored by a webcam, nicknamed Moo Tube. Last month he was granted a temporary stay of execution while the Welsh Assembly listened to representations.

Even the Foreign and Commonwealth Office became involved amid fears that the decision to have a “holy” animal killed could lead to a crisis in relations with India. However, Welsh farmers, who have lost hundreds of cattle to TB, have insisted that no exception should be made.