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Last Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007, 21:35 GMT 22:35 UK
Shambo monks aim to protect herd
Shambo
Shambo tested positive for bovine TB in April

The monk owners of Shambo the "sacred" bullock have appealed for the assembly government not to slaughter any more of their herd which may test TB positive.

Skanda Vale, the multi-faith community in Carmarthenshire from where Shambo was taken and slaughtered, is also home to cows, water buffalo and an elephant.

The assembly government said its post-mortem examination on Shambo found the bullock had lesions typical of TB.

Officials are considering test results on other animals owned by the monks.

Shambo was taken from the Skanda Vale temple on Thursday after the Court of Appeal upheld the assembly government's slaughter notice on the bullock, as part of its policy to counter bovine TB.

In a statement on Friday, the assembly government said it was now considering what other action was necessary "to protect human and animal health in relation to the test results from other animals in the herd".

"Further samples have been taken for further laboratory investigations, including bacteriological culture - these results will not be available for several weeks," continued the statement.

The community also owns an elephant called Valli, 10 ponies, 13 water buffalo, 12 goats, 40 cows and bulls, two llamas, 20 deer, about 300 poultry and waterfowl, more than 100 fish, five terrapins and more than 20 rabbits.

Protester
Protesters were moved by police officers from Shambo's enclosure

A spokesman for Skanda Vale said that during the annual test which occurred in June, the tests on three cattle came back inconclusive.

These animals would be re-tested 60 days after the original test, he added.

Brother Michael from Skanda Vale said he hoped the assembly government would work with the community to find a solution which did not involve killing.

When asked if the community would go back to court to save any further animals, he said he thought their legal options had been "exhausted down the line we pushed last time".

He added that if vaccination was an option, they would welcome it at any financial cost.

Friesian

But a farmers' union said that other animals could have been put at risk because of the time it took for the issue to be resolved.

Brian Walters from the Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) said the time the process took had endangered other animals at Skanda Vale and beyond.

Mr Walters added that the post-mortem examination result justified the pressure that was put on the community to slaughter the bullock.

The six-year-old Friesian, who tested positive for bovine TB in April, prompted a legal battle which ended in the appeal court on Monday.

Shambo was loaded into a trailer
Shambo was loaded into a trailer

A judge had given the community hope when he ruled that two slaughter orders for Shambo "were unlawful and will be quashed".

But his ruling was overturned.

Shambo was eventually removed from Skanda Vale on Thursday evening after 100 protesters formed a human shield around the bullock.

It was destroyed later that night.

Hindu leaders said they were seeking a meeting with the UK Environment Minister Hillary Benn asking for reassurances about other temple animals.

Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain, said he wanted "to check how agricultural law can cater to the needs of sacred animals in Hindu temples in Britain".

And Skanda Vale community leader Brother Alex said that, now Shambo had been taken away from them, a "nightmare" was just beginning for the Welsh assembly.

"Ignorant people have chosen to desecrate our temple and have chosen to destroy life unnecessarily," he said.

The National Secular Society said it was glad "common sense had prevailed at last" and that it was "absolutely unacceptable" for people to say their religious rights were supreme.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Shambo 'may be reborn', says Brother Alex



SEE ALSO
In pictures: Shambo stand-off
26 Jul 07 |  In Pictures
Timeline: Shambo
12 Jul 07 |  Wales
Anxious wait at Shambo's temple
12 Jul 07 |  South West Wales

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