Officials confirm death of sacred bull Shambo

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Shambo the “sacred” bullock at the centre of a controversial three-month legal fight has been slaughtered, it has been confirmed.

The six-year-old Friesian, who tested positive for bovine TB, was moved from a Carmarthenshire multi-faith community on Thursday amid scenes of protests.

Police were called in to move more than 100 worshippers who formed a human shield around the animal.

Hindu leaders are now seeking a meeting with the UK Environment Minister.

The Hindu Forum of Britain said it wanted reassurances about other temple animals.

Secretary General Ramesh Kallidai said he wanted “to check how agricultural law can cater to the needs of sacred animals in Hindu temples in Britain”.

Skanda Vale community leader Brother Alex said that, now Shambo had been taken away from them, a “nightmare” was just beginning for the Welsh assembly.

“Ignorant people have chosen to desecrate our temple and have chosen to destroy life unnecessarily,” he said.

“I am very happy that I am not involved in it, because this is something that will resonate for generations in their lives.”

After a dramatic day in which officials had to obtain warrant to enter the Llanpumsaint community, the six-year-old Friesian was eventually removed from the site at around 1930 BST on Thursday night.

In a joint statement with Dyfed-Powys Police, the Welsh Assembly Government said it had been “an extremely difficult operation for all concerned”.

And on Friday morning, it was confirmed that Shambo had been put down by lethal injection on Thursday evening.

Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said he was glad “common sense had prevailed at last” and that it was “absolutely unacceptable” for people to say their religious rights were supreme.

“The consequences of going the other way and the bull potentially infecting the national herd and the massive financial consequences of that for people’s lives, and indeed potentially people’s health, are just unthinkable,” he said.

“I think we need to have much more of a sense of proportion.”

Akhandadhi Das, a Vaishnava Hindu theologian living near Brecon, said he thought it was “a red herring” to portray the Shambo case as a religious issue and that every farmer and smallholder should have the option of treating animals.

“Those who actually want to care for animals should be able to look after and protect those animals rather than simply kill them on the basis of a TB test,” he said.

The slaughter of Shambo ended a protracted legal battle which started when a TB test returned positive in April and came after the community finally lost its High Court fight on Monday.

Last week, a High Court judge gave the community hope when he ruled that two slaughter orders for Shambo “were unlawful and will be quashed”.

But his ruling was overturned by the appeal court in London earlier this week.

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BBC, UK
July 27, 2007
news.bbc.co.uk

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This post was last updated: Jul. 27, 2007