TB reactor Shambo splits farmer opinion

The proposed slaughter of Shambo, the sacred bullock that tested positive for bovine tuberculosis, has sparked a heated discussion among UK farmers on the FWi forums.

Shambo is part of a herd of cattle cared for by the Hindu Skanda Vale Temple in Llanpumsaint, Carmarthernshire. 

Its followers have vowed to unite and form a human chain around the bull to prevent its slaughter which is against their religion. 

But those in support of the killing believe it is essential in preventing the spread of TB and is in the best interests of the animal.

Writing on the forums at FWi, tbfco said: “I think everyone should have the right to decide for themselves if they want to quarantine and treat their animal… shooting pet and sacred cows is not the way to lower [the] risk of TB.”

A key criticism of the decision is the alleged unreliability of the test that deemed the bullock TB positive. Producers point out that animals have tested positive and subsequently slaughtered but when retested they were found to be free of the disease.

However some farmers are angry that the religious aspect may change the final decision and there is strong support for the bull to be slaughtered. 

Contributor Peter Wells said: “If this were a pet Jersey cow kept in a small herd by an ethnically traditional English farmer, the place would be swarming with Trading Standards officers, animal health bureaucrats, court officials, police and bailiffs, all eager to carry out DEFRA’s edicts on slaughter and disposal.”

Shambo’s fate still hangs in the balance with the final verdict resting with the Welsh Assembly.  One thing is certain, whatever the decision, it will be controversial.

Why not have your say on the issue by joining in the discussion. Or why not take a look at some other hot topics on the forums, such as whether it is legal to use barbed wire next to a footpath. Or post your own question on the Talking Point section.