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Sacred Cows

Distressing news from Wales, where Shambo the bull has lost his appeal against imminent slaughter. You haven't been following the case? Shame on you, naturally; but a quick recap for the stragglers.

Shambo is a six year-old British Fresian that tested positive for tuberculosis a couple of months ago and was ordered to be slaughtered by the authorities, as is usual in these circumstances. Only trouble is, Shambo is no ordinary bull; he is a very sacred Hindu bull, and lives in a shrine owned by "The Community of the Many Names of God", a "multi-denominational monastic centre" (no, no idea) in Skanda Vale, south Wales (take the A485 through Rhydargaeau  and Pontarsais for about 5 miles, then turn left after the Stag and Pheasant pub). As a sacred animal, the Hindu monks have steadfastly refused to abandon him to his fate.

Shambo has not taken the authorities' fascistic ruling lying down, either; he's started a blog and webcam (warning: occasional adult material) and the great British public, beefcake lovers that they are, are rallying to his cause. However, his routes of appeal all but exhausted, there are fears that the new MooTube star could be for the chop. The monks, for their part, have been making dark threats about their willingness to "defend his life with their own", raising the irresistible prospect of a Waco-style Götterdämmerung in the hills of south Wales, with orange-clad survivalist monks holding out in their compound, and steely-eyed government veterinarians waiting for the telltale aroma of barbequeing steaks that will denote a community close to surrender.

In the end, though, it's unlikely, sadly, to go that far. This is, ultimately, a very British affair: lots of apologies all round, but in the end, one senses, the bureaucrats will have their way.

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