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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007, 20:58 GMT 21:58 UK
Parties demand Shambo's slaughter
Shambo the bullock
Shambo tested positive for bovine TB in late April
All three Welsh assembly opposition parties have called for the slaughter of a "sacred" bullock which has tested positive for bovine TB.

The Conservatives, Lib Dems and Plaid have called for Shambo, who lives at the Skanda Vale multi-faith temple in Carmarthenshire, to be put down.

An order to slaughter Shambo was made early in May, shortly after he tested positive for TB in routine screening.

Monks at the temple and supporters have waged a campaign to keep Shambo alive.

Monks at Skanda Vale, at Llanpumsaint, have said killing Shambo would violate their religious principles and have mounted a campaign to save the animal.

An online petition has so far attracted 15,000 names and a video stream has broadcast live from Shambo's pen in the temple.

Shambo's keepers have claimed he is not proven to be a carrier of TB and said that even if it did develop "he can be expected to make a full recovery given appropriate care".

The temple's website said slaughter would be an "appalling desecration of life".

There is currently no timetable for the slaughter of the bullock, though the slaughter notice remains in force
Welsh Assembly Government

But assembly rules state cattle with TB must be destroyed and opposition parties in the assembly have called on new Welsh rural development minister Jane Davidson to give the order for Shambo to be culled.

Conservative rural affairs spokesman Brynle Williams said he had been contacted by many people across Wales asking him when the bullock would be culled.

He said: "Jane Davidson has one of the most unsavoury decisions that she ever has to make in her life.

"I would have to make the decision that there would be no exceptions and I'm afraid the bullock would have to go."

Liberal Democrat rural affairs spokesman Mick Bates said that Shambo posed a danger to other animals and Ms Davidson had no choice but to order the immediate slaughter of the animal.

For Plaid Cymru, Elin Jones said that all cattle that tested positive for TB should be treated in the same way - and that meant Shambo should be culled.

'Minimise risk'

In a statement, a Welsh Assembly Government spokesperson said that the case was still being considered carefully.

The statement read: "It is important to emphasise that the legal context for this case is complex and many issues have to be taken into account.

"In assessing this case the Welsh Assembly Government is required to consider and comply with the European Convention of Human Rights, which protects the right to freedom of religion.

"In the meantime, the bullock has been isolated to minimise the risk of the disease spreading.

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

Meanwhile, assembly animal health officials have been at Skanda Vale testing the rest of the monks' 52 cattle.

Three of the tests were inconclusive and the animals will be re-tested in 60 days. The rest were cleared.

According to temple spokesman Brother Michael, a vet has visited Shambo and declared him to be in excellent health.




SEE ALSO
Fresh call for Shambo's slaughter
19 May 07 |  South West Wales
'No timetable' for Shambo's death
16 May 07 |  South West Wales
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

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