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Rediff.com  » News » Judge saves Shambo the bull from slaughter

Judge saves Shambo the bull from slaughter

July 16, 2007 21:46 IST

A judge in Britain's Cardiff has saved a 'Hindu' bull that the Welsh Assembly had condemned to slaughter.

The decision to slaughter six-year-old Shambo, who had tested positive for bovine TB, was unlawful and will be quashed, the judge said.

Killing the bull that lives at the Hindu Skanda Vale Community would be a serious infringement of the community's rights, Judge Gary Hickinbottom said.

He said the Assembly government have adopted the wrong approach and would have to rethink the matter. He said there was not enough evidence.

The judge added that the government would be obliged to reconsider the public health objectives behind the surveillance and slaughter policy and decide whether slaughter would be proportional given the serious infringement of the community's rights under Article 9 that it would involve.

Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights guarantees the right to manifest religious beliefs.

But the judge also added that the ruling did not guarantee Shambo would be allowed to live on until he dies of natural causes. He said that on the basis of evidence before him, it is very likely that Shambo is infected, despite the Skanda Vale Community's claims to the contrary, but he emphasised that animals with the disease have been cured in the past.

"This judgment merely rules that the decisions of May 3 and July 3 to issue the slaughter notice and to pursue the slaughter under that notice were unlawful and will be quashed."

During the judicial review of the decision to kill the sacred bull, Clive Lewis, for the Assembly government, said that Wales's Rural Affairs Minister, Jane Davidson, had considered the matter carefully before deciding that Shambo should be slaughtered.

He said: "We understand how difficult this is going to be for the community. We know they are not commercial farmers but we also know that an animal, using the internationally-approved test, has tested positive for exposure to M bovis."

More than 20,000 people have signed a petition on the Skanda Valewebsite to show their support for Shambo.

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