More Hindu cattle to be slaughtered

The Welsh assembly has issued slaughter notices on two more bovines at the Skanda Vale multi-faith community in Carmarthenshire.
A 16-year-old Jersey bullock, which has been unable to stand for a year, and a yearling water buffalo gave inconclusive tuberculin test results when the Friesian cross bullock Hindu monks called Shambo tested positive.
He was killed by lethal injection after failed High Court action by the community and worldwide protests from Hindus and animal rights activists.
A post mortem on July 26 revealed respiratory tract lesions, indicative of bovine TB. Farming unions demanded that the two animals that produced inconclusive test results should be slaughtered immediately.
After being forced to resort to using police officers to remove Shambo in the full glare of television cameras, animal health officials decided to delay action.
But calls for slaughter were renewed this week when there were inconclusive results from new tests on five animals that were in contact with the infected bullock.
Brynle Williams, Conservative rural affairs spokesman at the assembly, accused the administration of dragging its feet and exposing bovines and humans to risk.
Elin Jones, assembly rural affairs minister, came under sustained pressure from union leaders and ordinary farmers at agricultural shows to treat the religious community like any other farm.
Late on Wednesday (22 August) Ms Jones announced that formal slaughter notices would be served and implemented.
“I deeply regret the distress that this process causes for the Hindu community and others, but as an assembly government we have a duty to protect human and animal health,” the minister said.
Her decision was applauded by the leaders of both Welsh farming unions. Dai Davies, NFU Cymru president, insisted that Skanda Vale must not be allowed to continue to be a potential reservoir of bovine TB.
Gareth Vaughan, Farmers Union of Wales president, professed sympathy with the feelings of the community’s monks, but insisted that the two original inconclusive animals should have been destroyed as soon as Shambo proved to be infected.
Community spokesman Brother Michael again said he was bitterly disappointed, and called for the use of vaccination and antibiotics rather than slaughter to control bovine TB.
He admitted that Skanda Vale had exhausted possible legal challenges, but the monks would not physically resist the removal of the two animals.