- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 12, 2007

LONDON — Hindus across Britain are threatening to form a human chain to prevent the slaughter of a sacred bull after it tested positive for tuberculosis.

Shambo, a 6-year-old Friesian, will be killed later this month unless he is granted a reprieve.

Senior monks at the Skanda Vale Temple, near Carmarthen in west Wales, where Shambo lives, said the killing of cows and bulls was against their religious principles.

Shambo, part of a herd of 35 cows and bulls, is named for Lord Shiva, one of the three primary Hindu deities. The bull has been placed in a shrine within the main temple.

Last week, he appeared to be enjoying the attention of the press as he was given treats including his favorite brand of nuts. He is also being adorned with flower garlands each day.

“He would normally be grazing with the rest of the herd,” said Swami Suryananda, a senior monk, “but he does not appear lonely. He is adapting to his new lifestyle as an international superstar. We have had media calls from as far away as Canada.”

Agriculture officials have told the temple, which was established in 1973 and attracts more than 90,000 pilgrims a year, that they would like to value the bull tomorrow with a view to slaughtering him a week later. However, Swami Suryananda said the temple — which is known as the Community of the Many Names of God — had begun an online petition and would seek an injunction to save Shambo.

“The sacred life of a temple bull cannot be desecrated,” he said. “If all else fails, we have been assured … that we will have immense support, and many thousands of people will come here to form a human chain as a peaceful protest to prevent the slaughter.”

Swami Suryananda said the rest of the herd and other animals and birds, including 15 water buffalo, an elephant, deer, goats, llamas and peacocks were “absolutely fine.”

He said he understood the authorities’ concern over public health but added: “In testing positive, Shambo is suspected, not proven, to be carrying TB. Our own vet examined Shambo yesterday and assured us he was in excellent health.”

Ramesh Kallidal, of the Hindu Forum of Great Britain, said: “To have a sacred bull slaughtered … strikes at the very core of our beliefs.

“It is very important that sometimes governments understand that, if there is a way out of the situation, they should look at that seriously.”

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