More cattle belonging to the Skanda Vale Hindu community in Carmarthenshire may have to be slaughtered after a postmortem examination on Friday of Shambo showed the animal bore signs of lesions typical of tuberculosis. Shambo was forcibly removed by police from the temple on Thursday.
As the community of monks and sympathisers who had fought a prolonged legal campaign to save Shambo went into mourning on Friday after the six-year-old Friesian was killed by lethal injection, a Welsh assembly statement said: “This means that a positive TB breakdown is now confirmed in the herd. The Welsh assembly government is continuing to consider what other action is now necessary to protect human and animal health in relation to the test results from other animals in the herd.”
Such tests are likely to take some weeks.
Ramesh Kallidai, secretary of the Hindu Council of Britain, said the organisation was seeking a meeting with Hilary Benn, the environment and rural affairs secretary, after the parliamentary recess to discuss ways to address Hindus’ religious sensitivities.
He said: “We don’t want to compromise public health but we want to improve the way the authorities deal with such matters. There was very little dialogue all the way through. It was really shambolic and it was quite unpleasant to see senior monks who are respected persons dragged away. It did not leave a good impression.”
Two Hindu communities are known to have sacred livestock, one in Watford with 40 cattle and Skanda Vale, which has a herd of more than 60, though it is believed that other temples, including one in Stanmore, north London, also wish to rear animals.
Hindus around the world followed the prolonged standoff at Skanda Vale between officials and the police on one side and the monks and their supporters on the other, but media reports in India yesterday were distinctly less extensive than those in the British press, and much lower-key.
Meanwhile, the Hindu Forum of Britain said it wanted reassurances about other temple animals. Its Secretary General Ramesh Kallidai was quoted as saying he wanted “to check how agricultural law could cater to the needs of sacred animals in Hindu temples in Britain.”