We received the shocking news this morning that one of our cows had been killed, completely unnecessarily, by the RSPCA in an act which betrayed the trust they had gained from us the day before. Although they worked clinically to the letter of the law, they had not considered the religious sensitivities of the community they were dealing with, nor shown any intent to do so, save to calculate how to avoid any scenes of public protest.
They have made a stupendous and completely avoidable error of judgment and now, unfortunately for them, the full glare of public, political and legal scrutiny will be theirs for some time.
After our exchanges on the phone with the chief vet one hour after the killing we fell into composing a press release which was hurriedly sent to 300 media contacts. All day long the phones were ringing and interviews given to national newspapers including the Guardian, Telegraph, Mail, London Metro and websites like BBC News.
A BBC outside broadcast unit arrived to do a spot on the London lunchtime television news, then ITN came in the afternoon to do a live spot for the evening, as did the BBC again.
Politically, things also began to move. Barry Gardiner MP tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament titled: “The Putting to Death of Gangotri at Bhaktivedanta Hindu Temple” and is asking his fellow MPs to join him in condemning the action.
Tonight we held an emergency meeting of a small number of close Hindu community leaders and tomorrow we will be phoning around to gather together every Hindu, Jain, and Sikh leaders for an emergency meeting on Sunday afternoon.