Members of a Hindu religious community in south west Wales are refusing to slaughter a bull called Shambo that has tested positive for bovine tuberculosis.

Spokesmen for the Skanda Vale Temple at Llanpumpsaint near Carmarthen and the Hindu Forum of Britain claimed they were ready to resist veterinary authorities by calling thousands of supporters to form a human wall around the shrine housing the bull, which they regard as sacred.

“All the monks and nuns here believe in the sacredness of all life,” said a member of the community. “We have taken advice and instigated bio-security measures that ensure there is negligible risk to anyone outside.”

But Christianne Glossop, Wales’s chief veterinary officer, insisted that the Welsh assembly had a statutory responsibility to protect human and animal heath and welfare.

Shambo has been isolated from other bovines and the public in a specially constructed shrine within the main temple.