RSPCA give Hare Krishna community a cow to replace one put down

PUBLISHED: 14:55 15 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:48 06 May 2010

AN OFFICIAL apology has been issued to the Hindu community by the RSPCA a year after it carried out a mercy killing on a paralysed cow at a local temple. Hare Krishna worshipers at Bhaktivedanta Manor in Letchmore Heath, near Radlett, wanted Gangotri the

AN OFFICIAL apology has been issued to the Hindu community by the RSPCA a year after it carried out a mercy killing on a paralysed cow at a local temple.

Hare Krishna worshipers at Bhaktivedanta Manor in Letchmore Heath, near Radlett, wanted Gangotri the cow to die naturally but RSPCA vets put her down by lethal injection last year because they believed she was in constant pain.

The temple claimed the drug was administered while worshippers prayed and that the police moved monks attending 13-year-old Gangotri, who had been unable to walk for more than a year.

Cows are sacred to the Hindu faith and they perceived the killing as "illegal".

The Justice for Gangotri task force was established with a mandate from the Hindu community and they have been lobbying the RSPCA and DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) since the death.

The RSPCA has now issued an apology for any offence caused by the killing of Gangotri and they have agreed to give a new cow to the temple.

The cow will be a Meuse-Rhine Issel cow and the temple has asked that it is already in calf. If the calf is a bull he will be kept for field work on the site.

DEFRA has also published a protocol which will govern animal welfare issues in the future.

Kapil Dudakia, the chair of the Gangotri task force, said: "The Hindu community was shocked at the events leading to the killing of Gangotri. However, over the past year we have worked steadfastly with DEFRA and also the RSPCA to seek a solution that would address the issues of concern to the Hindu community and also ensure that animal welfare remains a priority for all of us. We look forward to working with both the RSPCA and DEFRA so that such incidents can be avoided in the future."

Prayers to mark the resolution took place on the anniversary of Gangotri's death on Saturday. A £2.1-million protection centre is currently being built at the temple site, making it the largest programme in the country.

Stuart Coyle, the chief herdsman at this new centre, said: "This resolution will protect our cows at our large new centre opening in August next year and I believe the temple and the RSPCA can now work together for animal welfare. The gesture by the RSPCA of donating a cow has touched our hearts.

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