Protests after RSPCA puts down sacred cow

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Hundreds of Hindu demonstrators staged an angry protest over the killing of an injured sacred cow that, until it was put down two weeks ago, was being cared for at a Watford temple.

Some 200 delegates from the Bhaktivedanta Manor in Hertforshire travelled to the RSPCA's headquarters in West Sussex to protest after Gangotri, a 13-year-old Belgian blue-jersey cross, was destroyed.

The protest coincided with the end of a 13-day mourning period for Gangotri, who was put down on medical advice after contracting painful sores.

Protesters claim the killing was carried out in secret while devotees were praying, in order to avoid any legal challenges or protests. Priests at the temple care for 31 cows and bulls.

Gangotri came to the sanctuary after she was partly paralysed during mating with a bull. The RSPCA said three independent vets said the animal was suffering and that they had told the temple they were going to have to put the cow down.