Vets slaughter bullock at UK Hindu temple

A Hindu leader compared government animal welfare officials to fascists today as an elderly bullock with suspected ovine tuberculosis was slaughtered.

One month exactly after the slaughter of Shambo the sacred bullock, confirmed as having bTB, officials were back in force at the West Wales religious community.

A Government vet and a team of 10 officials clad in green protective clothing, gloves, boots and hats were greeted by up to 80 Hindus chanting in peaceful protest.

Bhakti, the 16-year-old Jersey bullock at the Skanda Vale religious community in Llanpumsaint, has suffered from chronic arthritis for years.

Several hours after the arrival of the veterinary team today, the bullock was sedated and given a lethal injection and was dead within two minutes.

Members of the press and several Hindu monks witnessed the procedure.

The bullock’s body was then bundled up in plastic and manhandled onto a canvas sheet before being fastened in place by straps and winched onto a trailer.

An emotional Brother Michael, a senior monk at the community, stood in silent prayer as the lethal injection was administered.

He said: “These animals are part of the family here, to us all life is sacred.

“This bullock is old and suffers from arthritis and cannot walk more than a metre but he has been lovingly cared for and he knows he is loved.

“Killing an animal like this to me is like killing one of the family.

“I understand now how the Jews must have felt in Nazi Germany waiting for fascist soldiers to knock on the door and then seeing a family member taken away to their death.”

The slaughter today came after the Welsh Assembly Government confirmed yesterday that the bullock and a young water buffalo called Dakshini, which both tested positive for bTB would be slaughtered today.

Last month the police were forced to physically remove supporters of the community who took part in the peaceful protest against the removal and slaughter of Shambo.

His death followed a lengthy and ultimately unsuccessful two-month battle in the courts, and a high-profile media campaign, designed to save his life.

Hindu leaders had agreed today that they would not impede officials as they went about their business.

Earlier Brother Alex, a monk at the community, had confronted Government vet Alan Huxtable and asked him to justify the test and slaughter policy.

“It does not work. This is not a solution, killing can never be a solution. The only long-term solution is widespread vaccination.”

Mr Huxtable replied: “I do appreciate your views and you have expressed them very clearly but I do have a job to do.

“I appreciate the fact that you do not intend to obstruct us. With regard to policy I can only refer you to the Welsh Assembly Government.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday August 24, 2007.
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