Our little cow Gangotri, killed one year ago today; made the news all around the world; immersed into the confluence of sacred rivers surrounded by holy men, and even in death has the Government of Britain adjusting its protocols.
I still can’t quite believe that I’m able to write these words, but here goes:
Today is the one year anniversary of the killing of the cow Gangotri by
officers of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) at Bhaktivedanta Manor in Hertfordshire. A year ago on 13th December 2007 officers of the RSPCA came on to the 78
acre estate of the Krishna Temple and Gangotri was killed by lethal injection.
The Justice for Gangotri Taskforce was set up with the mandate from the Hindu
Community. They have been campaigning and lobbying the RSPCA and the government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairas (DEFRA ) for a year.
In the last 48 hours the RSPCA have issued an official apology for any
offence caused by their actions. In an unprecedented move the RSPCA have agreed
to give a cow to the Temple. The cow will be a Meuse-Rhine Issel cow, a hardy
and high-yielding milker from Holland and Germany. The Temple have asked that
the cow be already in calf, and say that if the calf turns out to be a bull, it
would be used for field work at the Temple rather than being slaughtered as
In specific consideration for faith communities, DEFRA has published a protocol which will in future govern animal welfare issues.
“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.’
Apology from the RSPCA to the Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities:
”The RSPCA as a charity will, by all lawful means, prevent cruelty, promote
kindness to and alleviate suffering of animals.
We share the above objective with the Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities and
realise that these communities through their faith strive to live in harmony
with all creatures.
The Society, recognising the hurt caused to the sentiments of these
communities, and wishing to build a progressive relationship, apologises
unreservedly for causing hurt and offence.
The RSPCA is based on a profound respect for animals, something we share with
the Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities and we look forward to working together to
promote respect and caring, and to cherish all life.”
At a meeting with the Justice for Gangotri Taskforce, Hilary Benn, Secretary of
State for Environment and Rural Affairs assured the community that a ‘protocol’
would be defined by DEFRA on how to deal with animals at Hindu temples.
The protocol has now been published by DEFRA.
New Gokul – The Largest Cow Protection Centre in Europe
New Gokul will open in August 2009. It will have a visitors centre and will
provide insight into the highest care of cows and the ancient teachings of
protecting all animals. The centre will have up to 60 cows.