The ‘Justice for Gangotri’ Campaign Begins


I started the day with a broadcast to 20 online watchers, then finished the day with a broadcast to 2 million radio listeners.

As I usually do on Wednesday mornings at 7.30, I gave the online Srimad Bhagavatam class via webcam broadcast. Today we were discussing how the leader of society has four duties: (1) To follow dharmic principles (2) To encourage others to do so (3) To protect dharma within society (4) To challenge atheism and sinful practises. Even though it was Boxing Day there were still around 20 devotees up bright and early to catch the class.

At the temple we held a ceremony for the thirteenth day after the passing of Gangotri, our cow. The Vedas enjoin that the cow is accorded the funeral rites of humans. Sri Ramachandra performed the same shraddha ceremony for the bird Jatayu.

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Gadadhara Pandit and Shyamasundara perform tarpana for Gangotri

In Vedic culture the cow is known as Aghanya meaning ‘one who it is forbidden to kill’ and the fire sacrifice was performed both to pray for the continued journey of the departed and to alleviate the burden of sin created by the act of killing.

Simultaneous with the temple ceremony was a protest outside the headquarters of the RSPCA down in Horsham, West Sussex. Surprisingly, a significant amount of media interest was generated by this and local newspapers were joined by national dailies the Sun, Independent, and Mail. Sky News also attended.

This afternoon I was interviewed on PM, the BBC Radio 4 late afternoon news programme with around 2 million listeners. No RSPCA spokesperson was available for comment. You can see many more photos of the two events here.

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1 Comment

Filed under Animal Rights

One response to “The ‘Justice for Gangotri’ Campaign Begins

  1. Ananda Hari

    When I first heard what the RSPCA had done, I wrote them the following message:

    Cow at Bhaktivedanta Manor in Watford responded 17/12/2007
    I was completely shocked to hear that the RSPCA killed a cow by force in Watford. I have been a lifelong supporter of the RSPCA and even collected for your organisation as a child, I shall now be making the best effort possible to let people know what you are really about.
    How can you be so insensitive as to not respect others views on what is cruel. If my mother or Grandmother was ill it would not be humane to kill her.
    Never ever thought I would be reporting the RSPCA for cruelty, it is shocking.

    Today I received what was probably a standard responce from them:

    Thank you for your comments.

    This cow has been in constant pain and suffering for some time, and we understand the animal has been unable to stand up for more than a year. We know the cow has been suffering from painful and infected sores, her limbs had become wasted and her breathing difficult.

    Three separate vets, including from the Royal Veterinary College, from Defra and an independent vet have all agreed that the animal was suffering and should be immediately euthanased.

    The RSPCA has been working in conjunction with local police and other experts, and we have been discussing with the religious community how to resolve this situation. The RSPCA believes animals should not suffer – irrespective of individual religious beliefs.

    We have done everything we can to take account of religious sensitivities, and is sad that we have had to take this action, but the most important thing has been to stop this poor animal from suffering. We are an animal welfare charity – the public understand that and expect us to act accordingly.

    Thank you for contacting the Society.

    Kind regards
    RSPCA Enquiries Service

    I then wrote them the following message:

    I am sorry but this is unacceptable,
    Your mandate as an organisation is to stop cruelty. Most of us are not cruel and do our best to minimise suffering, however suffering is sometimes a part of life and is not the same as cruelty.
    If or when I get old and am close to death I will no doubt suffer to some degree, while I would hope those around me will do their best to minimise my suffering through treatment etc: I in no way expect to be ‘put out of my misery’ by being killed.
    You have made a mistake in this instance but I don’t feel you will be able to admit it.

    Saying that I am still grateful for all the positive work that the RSPCA has done over the years and I hope you will continue and learn from this.

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