Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Friday, 28 March 2008

Hindu monks serve papers on RSPCA

Gangotri was a 13-year-old Belgian blue-jersey cross

Hindu monks are to sue the RSPCA over the killing of a sacred cow at a Hertfordshire temple.

Six monks went to the charity's HQ in Horsham, West Sussex, to serve papers and they threatened to start legal proceedings over the death of Gangotri.

The Belgian blue-jersey cross was kept at Bhaktivedanta Manor temple, Watford.

The monks said while they were praying, an RSPCA vet put the cow down, last December. An RSPCA spokesman said they had avoided worship times.

Campaigners also claim the killing was illegal and took place while members of Europe's largest Hindu temple were at worship.

The cow was under veterinary care and was recovering. There was absolutely no reason for her to be killed
Temple president Gauri das

Standing outside the charity's reception, Gauri das, temple president at Bhaktivedanta Manor, said: "The RSPCA unlawfully trespassed on temple property and unlawfully trespassed on the life of a cow.

"The cow was under veterinary care and was recovering. There was absolutely no reason for her to be killed.

"We are asking the RSPCA to accept full liability for this act. They deceived us and should accept responsibility, otherwise we will be forced to sue," he added.

Cows are sacred to followers of the Hindu religion, and the killing of one is considered sacrilege.

'No legal proceedings'

The RSPCA state they informed staff what would happen and avoided killing the cow during prayer hours.

At the time of her death, Gangotri had been injured for more than a year and suffered from bed sores because she could no longer stand.

RSPCA spokesperson Becky Hawkes said no legal proceedings had begun.

"We have received a letter today, though no legal proceedings have been started against us," she said.

"The letter asks us to admit liability for trespass to land and trespass to property. However, we entered the property accompanied by the police who were holding a valid warrant.

"We acted properly, within the law, and on the advice of three independent vets who said Gangotri was in constant pain and should be put to sleep immediately."

Hindu protest over cow slaughter
13 Feb 08 |  England
Shambo home animals slaughtered
23 Aug 07 |  South West Wales
Two temple animals face slaughter
22 Aug 07 |  South West Wales

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific