Hindu monks sue RSPCA over slaughter of sacred cow Gangotri

Hindu monks are to sue the RSPCA in protest over the killing of a sacred cow. A group of monks from Bhaktivedanta Manor Hindu temple, in Hertfordshire, yesterday served legal papers on the animal welfare charity for trespassing when they put down the temple's sacred cow Gangotri on 13 December last year.

Gauri das, temple president at Bhaktivedanta Manor, who marched with five other saffron-robed monks to the RSPCA's West Sussex headquarters, said: "The RSPCA unlawfully trespassed on temple property and unlawfully trespassed on the life of a cow. The cow was under veterinary care and was recovering. There was absolutely no reason for her to be killed.

"The way they carried out this act on the sacred premises of a temple with no dialogue was completely unacceptable." The cow, a Belgian blue-jersey cross, was killed while monks were worshipping, and the temple alleges that the RSPCA used an illegal warrant to enter their property. The charity was in negotiations with the temple for weeks over the slaughter of the 13-year-old animal because it had a broken leg and had bed sores.

John Rolls, RSPCA director of animal welfare promotion, greeted the delegation. He said: "We believe we acted properly, within the law, but clearly they are of a different opinion. I am sorry it has got to this point."

Radha Mohan das, a spokesman for the temple, said the action was "highly offensive" and that the charity had conducted itself in a "high-handed and devious fashion".

The animal welfare charity said the cow needed to be put down for welfare reasons. Three independent vets agreed it was suffering and should be put down. The cow had been ill for a year and was unable to stand because of its injuries, but Mr Mohan das said that the RSPCA's actions were "an insult and a threat to the Hindu community".

He said the heavy-handedness of the RSPCA had been an attempt to stave off a legal battle like that which took place over the killing of Shambo the bull last year.

Shambo, a sacred bull belonging to the Skanda Vale religious community near Carmarthen, Dyfed, tested positive for bovine TB last year and was finally slaughtered in July after much controversy.

Kapil Dudakia, of the Gangotri task force, said the RSPCA had caused great offence to the Hindu community. "The killing of a cow on grounds where we have a temple is the worst act that anyone can have committed to Hindus," he said. "It showed a level of contempt that deserved a challenge."

The RSPCA apologised for any offence caused, and added: "The RSPCA will always seek to respect religious views, but the most important thing is to stop animals suffering. That is what the RSPCA is for, and what the public expects us to do. Nonetheless, the RSPCA is based on a profound respect for animals, something we share with many religious communities. Since the death of Gangotri, we have requested to meet with Hindu bodies and hope to hear from them very soon, to begin progressive dialogue to ensure this situation never arises again."

Last month around 100 protesters gathered outside the House of Commons to to protest against the RSPCA's actions.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
news
Extras
indybest
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Sport
Brendan Rodgers looks on from the touchline
SPORT
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Analyst - Bristol

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick