A close up picture of Shambo wearing a garland of flowers. Shambo was the sacred temple bull who was the focus of an intense debate about the sanctity of life

Shambo & the sanctity of life

  • Shambo diaries - May 2007
  • 03.05.2007

    We have today received a ‘Notice of Intended Slaughter’ from the National Assembly for Wales. We are taking steps to challenge this decision through the courts.


    Shambo has been isolated from other bovines and from contact with the public in a specially constructed shrine within our main Temple.


    Shambo has settled into his new home and is coping well with the pressures of bovine superstardom. Nearly 600 supporters from all over the world have signed up to our petition in the first 24 hours. Please tell all your friends to get on their computer and sign the petition.


    Today we had written confirmation from our vet that Shambo is in excellent health and showing no clinical signs of TB. We also had a visit from the chief veterinary officer for the Welsh Assembly, the head of the TB policy unit and the head of public health. They reviewed Shambo’s welfare, his isolation and the bio security procedures that we had implemented. They were satisfied and we reassured by all our procedures to ensure that there is no risk to animal or public health.

    This house expresses concern at the decision of DEFRA inspectors, that Shambo the bull, (part of the herd kept at Skanda Vale Hindu temple and monastery), must be slaughtered; recognised this to be a matter of utmost importance to the Hindu community, with some 90,000 pilgrims visiting Skanda Vale from around the country who regard such slaughter as an act of desecration; and urges the government to use its discretion under section 34 animal health act 1981 to reprieve ShamboHouse of Commons motion by Andrew Dismore, MP for Hendon

    St Francis of Assisi

    If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.


    It’s been another busy day back at Skanda Vale, more news channels piling in, Fox news, BBC again, ITV again… also a number of newspapers following up.

    Many, many farmers called in giving us support; all disillusioned with DEFRAS’s policy of slaughter. Slaughter on the basis of this highly inaccurate test. It is well known that cattle that have tested negative turned out to have TB and of course a vast number of those who test positive do not have TB, unfortunately this is only discovered by a post mortem.

    However, that aside, we look forward to a positive response from the Welsh Assembly tomorrow. They themselves have recognised that Shambo is in very good health, so we hope to move forward constructively with their help and advice to resolve this situation without resorting to slaughter.


    The National Assembly of Wales has deferred its original intention to slaughter Shambo, the sacred bull at the Skanda Vale Temple. The authorities were going to move to slaughter next week but they have since delayed this action. They have said that they are still carefully considering what they concede to be a sensitive and unusual case. The Temple hopes that this consideration will lead to a change of policy and change of practice.

    We are encouraged by the response of the authorities to defer their decision on the future of Shambo. To consider killing as a solution is not an option and 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.Swami Suryananda of Skanda Vale, responding to the Assembly's decision
    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. In the meantime the temple we will continue to take the necessary bio-security measures to protect animals and humans from harm.Ishwer Tailor, President of the Hindu Forum of Britain
    There is still a lot of concern among the community, but the Assembly’s decision to respond sensitively to this unusual case is heartening. We would suggest other diagnostic tests are conducted to ascertain if infection is actually present and, if so, identify the area infected and treat accordingly with medication.CB Patel, Chair of the Patrons Council of the Hindu Forum of Britain
    The deferral of the decision to slaughter Shambo could mean that the Welsh Assembly is considering various options. We hope that the sensitiveness of the issue and the needs of the different communities can be carefully considered.Sudarshan Bhatia, President of the National Council of Hindu Temples

    Other UK Hindu organisations that have given their support to Skanda Vales’ campaign include the Hindu Council of Birmingham, Hindu Council of Brent, Hindu Council of Harrow, Hindu Council of the North, Leicester Festival Hindu Council, Hindu Council UK and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad UK.

    Mahatma Gandhi, truly one of the great figures of the 20th century, believed that the protection of cows was one of the true signs of the Hindu faith. It is for that reason that the case of Shambo, reported in many newspapers, raises such a high degree of concern for many British Hindus. Their representatives have written to me about their concern.David Miliband, secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

    Support for Shambo is on the increase, his petition has now sailed past 11,000. However the Welsh Assembly’s slaughter notice still stands so we still need your continued support.

    How you can help

    • Sign the petition!
    • Tell all your friends!
    • Contact your M.P!

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