Alex Massie

Shambo to the Slaughter? For shame!

Shambo to the Slaughter? For shame!
Text settings

A couple of days ago I mentioned the heart-tugging story of Shambo, the Heroic Hindu Bull in west Wales threatened with execution simply because he's contracted TB. This is just the sort of story the British press, bless it, loves: peaceful Hindus, a placid animal, heartless bureaucrats, death, grim gallows humour...It's the perfect silly season story. And indeed, a Google News search reveals brings up 761 stories concerning Shambo's plight.


According to a wire report, the latest exciting developments include:

The plight of Shambo, a bull at the Skanda Vale monastery in Wales, was captured in real-time drama as the monastery launched an Internet campaign to save his life. A Webcast called Moo Tube was tracking the movements of the flower-garlanded bull in his hay-filled shrine.

Shambo was given a reprieve last week when a Welsh judge ordered local authorities to reconsider their decision to kill the bull, considered sacred in the Hindu faith. But the Court of Appeal in London reversed that decision on Monday, ruling that killing him would be justified to prevent the disease's spread.

A veterinary official and two police officers came on Thursday morning to take the bull away, but were met at the monastery's locked gates by monks who demanded that they show a court warrant. The officials left to obtain the paperwork.

Monks warned that removing the bull would be difficult even if the officials get the proper documents.

``They will have to physically desecrate a temple to get him,'' said Brother Michael, one of the monks. ``He's locked here and we will be having an act of worship in front of where he is.'' 

Magnificently, The Guardian are live-blogging the drama. Yes, really. Wonderful stuff and yet another reminder that the British really like animals more than they like people.

UPDATE: The Guardian, being nice chaps, not only link here but write to say they're also live-blogging the misery being endured by the poor sods in much of southern England whose houses have been flooded. Aye, well, fair enough. But that can't compete with the epic yet sweet ridiculousness of the fuss being made over poor Shambo's plight, can it? I bet the Shambo blog is getting more traffic, no matter how many desperate flood warnings are pinged to bloggers across the planet...

UPDATE 2: The jackboot of the state comes crushing down: the police arrive with bolt cutters and start hauling Hindu protestors away...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articleSociety