New arrival at Hare Krishna temple

PUBLISHED: 12:55 23 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:57 06 May 2010

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A CALF born at a local temple has been named after a cow which was put down by the RSPCA in 2007, sparking outrage among the Hindu community. The healthy female calf called Gangotri was born to mother Aditi in the early hours of Friday morning at Bhaktive

A CALF born at a local temple has been named after a cow which was put down by the RSPCA in 2007, sparking outrage among the Hindu community.

The healthy female calf called Gangotri was born to mother Aditi in the early hours of Friday morning at Bhaktivedanta Manor near Radlett.

The original Gangotri, aged 13, was given a lethal injection by the RSPCA because it had been unable to walk for more than a year and vets believed it was in constant pain.

But it was done against the wishes of the Hare Krishna worshippers at the temple who wanted the cow to die naturally as the animals are sacred to the Hindu faith.

A campaign against the RSPCA ensued which included legal proceedings.

However, after discussions with DEFRA (the Department for Food and Rural Affairs) which included the Archbishop of Canterbury, the RSPCA agreed to donate a pregnant cow to the temple.

The newborn Gangotri, which has been hailed as a symbol of reconciliation between the Hindus and the RSPCA, is living in the temple's cow protection centre which will be the largest in Europe when it is completed this year.

Kapil Dudakia, the chair of the Gangotri Task Force set up after the cow's death, said: "The whole community is ecstatic with this tremendous news. Only last month we saw the arrival of Aditi to the temple in all her splendour and the birth of Gangotri has brought in an auspicious era for all our diverse communities to celebrate life and a new beginning together."

Srutidharma Das, the chairman of Bhaktivedanta Manor, said the new arrival was a great beginning to the year.

Stewart Coyle, the temple's farm manager, heard the news while he was in India and said that he was "overwhelmed." He added: "I can't wait to get back to England and see the new arrival."

DEFRA has recently published a protocol which will guide future animal welfare at all farms and organisations in the UK which have a non-violent ethos.

Mr Coyle added: "This resolution will now help to protect all our cows and I believe the temple and the RSPCA can now work together for animal welfare.

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Recently we, as a family (minus two of the kids), visited The Lodge RSPB reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire. I had never been before, which is perhaps amiss of me as a birdwatcher as it is the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or RSPB and only 45 minutes drive from home.

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