Three months to the day after Shambo, the temple bull at the Community of the Many Names of God, Skanda Vale, West Wales, tested positive for Bovine TB, the slaughtermen are due to arrive to take him from the temple.

Since the diagnosis – which allows for no treatment in farmed animals – Shambo has lived apart from the herd inside the temple itself. Worshippers and other well wishers are gathering to pray outside the temple at this moment.The monks make no distinction between the killing of a non-human and human animal and affirm that when the slaughtermen come, they will be desecrating the temple.

We signed the petition against the slaughter – among some 20, 00 others – and have written on several occasions to the Welsh Executive.

The following is a statement of Mahatma Gandhi, particularly appropriate at this time:

Let no thief carry them away; let no hostile weapon fall upon them.

Hindu blessing for the divine cow.

“Cow protection to me is not mere protection of the cow.

It means protection of all that lives and is helpless and weak in the world.

“The cow is a poem of pity. One reads pity in the gentle animal. She is the mother to millions of Indian mankind. Protection of the cow means protection of the whole creation of God. The ancient seer, whoever he was, began with the cow. The appeal of the lower order of creation is all the more forcible because it is speechless.

The cow is the purest type of sub-human life. She pleads on behalf of the whole of the sub-human species for justice to it at the hands of man, the first among all that lives. She seems to speak to us through her eyes: ‘You are not appointed over us to kill us and eat our flesh or otherwise ill-treat us, but to be our friend and guardian.’

I worship it and I shall defend its worship against the whole world.”