Constitutional Law

Holy Cow! Sacred Bull Spared in UK Case

At least for the moment, Shambo is safe from the butcher’s knife. Revered by the Hindu Skanda Vale Community in West Wales, the 6-year-old Friesian bull had tested positive for bovine tuberculosis and been ordered slaughtered by the Welsh Assembly. But a High Court judge in Cardiff ruled today in favor of the religious community’s appeal of the assembly decision, sparing the holy cow for now.

“This is a historic judgment,” Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain, tells the London Times. “A key criticism of the earlier decision to slaughter Shambo had been the subjectivity, and hence unreliability, of the test. This is a landmark judgment in the history of religious worship in the UK.”

Local farmers, however, were not happy with the ruling, which the assembly has appealed. The judgment was “an absolute kick in the teeth for all those farmers who have had animals destroyed as part of the bovine TB controls,” says Dai Davies, president of the National Farmers’ Union in Cymru.

Religious beliefs are protected by Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

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