Skanda Vale unlikely to appeal to House of Lords for Shambo

The Skanda Vale multi-faith community at Llanpumsaint in Carmarthenshire is taking legal advice about possibly challenging a Court of Appeal decision that overturned a High Court judgement to spare Shambo, their “sacred” bull, from slaughter.

The High Court had previously ruled that to slaughter Shambo, a bullock owned by the community that tested positive for bovine tuberculosis, would contravene their rights under the European Convention of Human Rights.

The Court of Appeal in London upheld an appeal lodged by the Welsh Assembly Government against a ruling by the High Court in Cardiff that the slaughter order should not go ahead.

Lord Justice Pill ruled that the order was justified, though he acknowledged that killing the Friesian bullock would be considered a sacrilegious act by the community’s monks.

Brother Michael, a Skanda Vale spokesman, agreed and claimed that the law had let down those who believed that all life was sacred, including the wider Hindu community.

A number of organisations would be pressing the assembly to perform another skin test on the animal they called Shambo to ascertain whether the original skin test had produced a false positive result.

He said that to do so would be a magnanimous gesture to the many people who had campaigned to save the “sacred” animal.

The community’s legal team would also meet to decide whether an appeal to the House of Lords was a “realistic” option.

A Welsh assembly spokesman welcomed the court ruling as an acknowledgement of important public and animal health arguments.

“This has been a difficult case for all involved. We are glad that the court has accepted the important public and animal health arguments in this case. 

“We will now be looking to move forward but it is not possible to give any timetable at this stage.  We now aim to work closely with the community to resolve the situation with the minimum of distress to the animal and its carers,” said a WAG spokesperson.

He promised that there would be no rush to slaughter the beast. Veterinary surgeons would work closely with the monks to ensure the situation was resolved with the minimum of distress to the animal and its carers.

Dai Davies, president of NFU Cymru, claimed to speak for the majority of Wales’ farmers when he applauded the ruling that the slaughter should go ahead.

But he expressed the same concern for the monks as he felt for any farmer who lost cattle to bovine TB.

A decision about a further appeal will be made public on Wednesday (25 July).