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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2008, 19:25 GMT
Hindu protest over cow slaughter
Hindu protesters
Protesters claim their religious rights were infringed
Hindus staged a noisy and colourful protest in London over the slaughter of a sacred cow at a Hertfordshire temple.

Over 100 protestors were at the House of Commons to raise awareness over the death of Gangotri, a cow kept at the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple at Watford.

While monks were praying, a vet from the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA) put the cow down on welfare grounds last December.

An RSPCA spokesman said the cow was suffering and vets advised euthanasia.

Hindu protesters danced and chanted at the House of Commons and later at the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs while holding placards saying "RSPCA - suited and booted murderers" and "while we pray the RSPCA slay".

We did all we could to take religious sensitivities into account
RSPCA

Spokesman Kapil Dudakia said: "It has been two months since the death of Gangotri and her ashes have now been scattered in the River Ganges by some of our devotees in India."

Campaigners argued that the RSPCA broke a promise that no immediate action would be taken to euthanise the cow who was suffering from muscular and bone problems and sores.

An RSPCA spokesman said they had made an inspection of the cow after receiving a complaint and three independent vets said the cow should be "euthanised" immediately.

"The RSPCA will always seek to respect religious views, but the most important thing is to stop animals suffering. That is what the RSPCA is for and what the public expects us to do.

"We are sorry for any offence caused. We did all we could to take religious sensitivities into account.

The spokesman added: "The RSPCA is based on a profound respect for animals, something we share with many religious communities.

"We hope to work with this community and their leaders to ensure that this situation never arises again."

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