Shambo centre of temple stand-off

Shambo the temple bullock was at the centre of a stand-off between animal health officials and Hindu worshippers.

Vets and animal inspectors were denied entry to the Skanda Vale religious community when they arrived to take Shambo for slaughter on Thursday morning.

They returned with a small group of police officers at about 2pm with a court warrant, but were unable to reach the six-year-old Friesian.

In bizarre scenes a warrant was stuck to an office door while officials “took advice” on what to do next.

Shambo, who is to be put down after failing a bovine tuberculosis test, has been surrounded by up to 100 chanting Hindu worshippers since early on Thursday morning.

They have vowed to protect the bullock at the remote Skanda Vale temple in Carmarthenshire, West Wales. A legal challenge by the community’s monks to stop the Welsh Assembly Government destroying Shambo failed at the Court of Appeal this week.

Worshippers laughed as one of the monks, Brother Alex, said the Assembly Government had asked the gathering to disperse because “they are worried it might be upsetting Shambo”.

A Welsh Assembly Government spokeswoman said officials had to be turned away before they could apply for a warrant, and appealed for co-operation from the community.

She said: “We were aware this may happen but we have to be denied access before we can obtain a warrant. We are monitoring the situation at Skanda Vale very carefully and are very concerned that the bullock may be getting distressed by the noise and activity around him.

“Our concern has always been to minimise distress to the animal throughout this sensitive operation. We appeal to the community and the media to facilitate this by allowing our staff to get on with their work.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday July 26, 2007.
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