RSPCA cow gift signals end of dispute with Hindus

PUBLISHED: 10:10 20 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:51 06 May 2010

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HINDUS at a local temple have welcomed the arrival of a pregnant cow which has been donated by the RSPCA as a symbol of reconciliation. The animal welfare charity had put down a sick cow called Gangotri at Bhaktivedanta Manor in Letchmore Heath, near Alde

HINDUS at a local temple have welcomed the arrival of a pregnant cow which has been donated by the RSPCA as a symbol of reconciliation.

The animal welfare charity had put down a sick cow called Gangotri at Bhaktivedanta Manor in Letchmore Heath, near Aldenham, in 2007.

The Hare Krishna worshippers at the temple wanted the 13-year-old cow to die naturally as the animals are sacred to the Hindu faith.

But the RSPCA administered the lethal injection because Gangotri had been unable to walk for more than a year and vets believed she was in constant pain.

The decision sparked outrage among the Hindu community and a big campaign against the RSPCA ensued which included legal proceedings.

However, after discussions with DEFRA and which included the Archbishop of Canterbury, the RSPCA agreed to donate a pregnant cow to the temple as an apology.

The cow has been named Aditi, which means "the free one, boundless and the archaic mother", and its arrival at the temple this week signals the end of the dispute.

Kapil Dudakia, the chair of the Gangotri Task Force, said on the day: "We trust that the level of awareness has increased and the RSPCA and the Hindu community can work together learning from this unfortunate episode. This is a tremendous day and it is my hope that we do not witness such difficulties again."

Stewart Coyle, the farm manager, said: "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."

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

The Hindus at the temple are hoping that when Aditi's calf is born in February that those involved in the campaign and the RSPCA can come together to celebrate.


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