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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2007, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
'No timetable' for Shambo's death
Shambo the bullock
Shambo's fate has attracted attention from around the world
Officials say they have "no timetable" for the slaughter of a so-called sacred bullock which tested positive for TB.

The religious community at the Skanda Vale Temple in Carmarthenshire says it is "encouraged" by the news on Shambo.

An outcry among some Hindus and members of other faiths followed the original news of Shambo's expected fate.

The Welsh Assembly Government says the slaughter notice remains in force, and it is assessing all the issues "surrounding this very sensitive case".

The six-year-old black Friesian tested positive for bovine TB during a routine screening and the slaughter notice was issued earlier this month, with a provisional date set for it to be carried out next Monday.

But Hindu monks at the multi-faith temple launched a worldwide campaign to save the animal, saying it was contrary to their faith and its killing would desecrate the temple.

Killing as a solution is not an option
Swami Suryananda, Skanda Vale Temple

They threatened a human shield protest, with thousands of supporters travelling to the site at Llanpumsaint.

They claimed the animal, who is kept away from the rest of the 50-strong herd, should be made an exception to the slaughter rule.

The assembly government said its policy "in common with many other countries, is that cattle who have tested positive for TB should be slaughtered to protect public health and animal health."

It said it was "continuing to assess all the issues surrounding this very sensitive case."

A spokesperson said: "There is currently no timetable for the slaughter of the bullock, though the slaughter notice remains in force.

"We would like to remind members of the public of the risk to human health in approaching an animal infected with TB. We will continue to deal with this matter in as discreet and sensitive way as possible with the community."

Dr Christianne Glossop (centre) with some of the brothers at Skanda Vale
Wales's top vet Christianne Glossop (centre) has visited Shambo

Responding to the decision, Swami Suryananda of the Skanda Vale Temple, said that "killing as a solution is not an option."

"We would hope the threat of slaughter could be removed so that we can establish constructive dialogue with the assembly to find a practical solution that upholds the highest values of the Hindu faith but also meets the health and safety requirements," he added.

Ishwer Tailor, president of the Hindu Forum of Britain, said: "The campaign to save Shambo has received considerable support from people of different faiths in the UK and, around the world. "

"It is important that we continue to request the Welsh assembly to remove the slaughter notice that is hanging over Shambo."

'Discreet and sensitive'

In the meantime, he said the temple would continue to take the necessary bio-security measures to protect animals and humans from harm.

An assembly government spokesperson said its policy was that cattle who have tested positive for TB should be slaughtered to protect public and animal health.

"We would like to remind members of the public of the risk to human health in approaching an animal infected with TB.

"We will continue to deal with this matter in as discreet and sensitive way as possible with the community," the spokesperson added.

An online poll calling for support for Shambo has attracted more than 7,000 names, an MP has set down a Commons motion calling for the UK government to grant him a reprieve, and his plight has been followed by news organisations around the world.

But farmers have raised fears about the possibility of the animal being made an exception to the slaughter rule.


SEE ALSO
Farmers' worries if Shambo spared
14 May 07 |  South West Wales
Top vet's visit to 'sacred' bull
11 May 07 |  South West Wales
Slaughter call over 'sacred' bull
11 May 07 |  South West Wales
Slaughter fight for 'sacred' bull
09 May 07 |  South West Wales
Hindu groups in Valentine warning
13 Feb 07 |  South Asia
Millions of Hindus take holy bath
19 Jan 07 |  South Asia
Thousands celebrate Diwali event
21 Oct 06 |  Leicestershire

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