Showdown likely on killing of TB-infected bull in Britain


London : Supporters of Shambo, a bull in a Hindu temple in Wales suspected to be infected by bovine tuberculosis, are expected to gather in strength to prevent its killing by Welsh authorities any day this week.

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The Welsh Assembly last week confirmed the decision to put the bull down in line with standard procedures.

The move built into an international campaign after Skanda Vale Temple authorities put up a webcam called MooTube to monitor the bull's activities.

Welsh farmers do not have much patience for this case and say there cannot be one rule for other animals and another for this bull on the ground that it is linked to the religious sentiments of the Hindu community.

Officials are expected to arrive at the temple any day now to carry out the cull. They are expected to be faced by a gathering of priests and activists of Hindu organisations keen to prevent them from carrying out the cull.

Brother Alex, one of the monks at the temple, told The Guardian: "We are not going to actively obstruct anybody. But we will be taking part in a religious festival celebrating the sanctity of life. We will be welcoming pilgrims to participate in the festival.

"As a monastic community what we do is worship god. That is what we will be doing. If anyone wishes to interfere with that, they will have to physically move people out of the way. Anyone who wishes to desecrate our temple will be answerable to almighty god."

Shiv, a temple trustee, said: "Killing Shambo would be like killing a member of the family."

Last week Jane Davidson, the Welsh assembly minister for sustainability and rural development, said it was necessary to kill Shambo to eliminate the possibility of disease spreading from the animal to other cattle or people.

Supporting the move, William Thomas, a county councillor and dairy farmer who has lost four of his pedigree cattle to TB, said: "Most people round here think the animal should be killed. There is not a lot of sympathy for them. They can't have one rule for one and a different one for them. If there's any risk the animal should be killed."