Hindu monks face pressure to cull more TB reactor cattle

Hindu monks at the Skanda Vale multi-faith community in west Wales are facing new demands for the slaughter of some of their cattle.

Almost a month after a post mortem showed a bullock monks called Shambo had lesions indicating the presence of bovine TB, politicians and farming unions want the immediate slaughter of two animals that gave inconclusive skin tests.

Brynle Williams, Conservative rural affairs spokesman at the Welsh assembly, said decisive action was the only way of coming to grips with the disease, but assembly officials were dragging their feet over the fate of possible cases at Skanda Vale.

The two animals with inconclusive results, believed to be a Jersey cross bullock and a water buffalo, should have been destroyed as soon as tests on Shambo proved positive.

He was slaughtered on 26 July following failed High Court action.

Any positive results from a new series of tests conducted on the community’s livestock last week should also lead to swift slaughter.

A Welsh Assembly spokesman said the TB test results would be presented to the monks early this week and any necessary appropriate action taken swiftly to protect animal and public health.

Gareth Vaughan, Farmers Union of Wales president, said his members respected the religious views of others, but exceptions could not be made when fighting a terrible disease like bovine TB.

“I hope that any further removal of animals will be completed quickly and efficiently without the sort of opposition we saw with the original positive reactor,” Mr Vaughan said.

A spokesman for Skanda Vale said the community’s stance remained the same. Members believed all life was sacred and reactors should be isolated and treated using antibiotics.

No decision had been taken on whether to take legal action against the proposed slaughter of any animals.