The Shofar is the ancient trumpet which called the people of God to prayer, repentance, sacrifice and war.

Atheist ignorance in Skanda Vale slaughter

Immediate 6.00pm 23rd August 2007

The Skanda Vale community was facing the slaughter of more animals today as an old bullock and a young water buffalo indicated positive from a bovine tuberculosis skin test.

The announcement by Welsh Assembly officials comes less than a month after Shambo, another bullock regarded as sacred by the Hindus at Skanda Vale Temple in Carmarthenshire, was forcibly removed and later reported to have had 'lesions typical of bovine tuberculosis' after being killed by lethal injection.

But the report of Shambo's diagnosis was greeted with scepticism by a Christian prayer and lobby group.

Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said today: 'Interestingly, the results of "further tests" which were supposed to be carried out to verify TB do not seem to have been made public to date. Even if the vets did come back with positive results, the suspicion must be that no autopsy on Shambo would ever be allowed to find him free of TB. The outcry would be too great for the "animal health" people to live with. The fact is, there is discretion in the Animal Health Act 1981 for an animal to be isolated and treated. Poor old Shambo was sacrificed to an animal health policy which is flawed and implacable.'

But there was also scorn from Christian Voice for the atheist 'National Secular Society', which the BBC in particular appears to regard as the fount of all wisdom, after its director was quoted expressing his pleasure that Shambo had been put down. Keith Porteous Wood (sic), accused the Skanda Vale protestors of 'putting religious dogma before the welfare of the community' and said 'The consequences of the bull potentially infecting the national herd and the financial consequences of that for people's lives, and indeed potentially people's health, are just unthinkable.'

Stephen Green, who lives and farms in Carmarthenshire, went on, 'Poor Wood has let his hatred of all things religious run away with him. The pompous secularist is now claiming to be an expert on farming and animal health, from his comfortable pad in the livestock-rearing heartland of suburban West London.

'The truth is that the risk to humans of catching TB from drinking milk from cattle which have the disease is very low, as is the risk from eating meat. In the UK, cases of humans catching it by aerosol from infected animals are miniscule. There is a picture of three of the officials who collected Shambo on the SkandaVale website. None of them is wearing protective gloves and there is not a facemask between them. Clearly Skanda Vale endangered 'the welfare of the community' not one whit.

'In addition, the test for bovine TB is not 100% accurate. It isn't even 50% accurate. As it happens, only around 35% of animals who react to the TB skin test were actually proved post-slaughter to have TB in the last three years, according to Ben Bradshaw MP in a written answer in Parliament on 8th January 2007. Defra admit that for the new Gamma-Interferon test the proportion drops to 20%, but cover themselves by saying all the others probably had it anyway. On the ground, farmers in the know make sure they drench their cattle for liver fluke when a TB test is due. That simple measure reduces false positives.

'Finally, the image Wood conjured up of Shambo rampaging around the British countryside infecting 'the national herd' is not 'unthinkable', his word, but laughable. Shambo was in a secluded, secure pen. Hindu monks may view things differently from other people, but they were not going to turn Shambo loose in the Carmarthenshire lanes to spread his infections from Land's End to John O'Groats. And Shambo looked more like a bullock than a bull to me.

'What farmers have been saying all the way through is not that the TB test is infallible - no-one can claim that - but that everyone should be treated the same. Farmers have lost whole herds on the basis on a flawed TB test, but if they were going to be treated like that, then they said the Hindus at Skanda Vale should be dealt with just the same.

'Of course it is daft to deify created things rather than the God who made them, but secularists are unable to say that; after all, they deify mankind: Man is his own god to them. People like Keith Wood can't or won't see any difference between any religion, and in such a blinkered mind, a chance to do Hinduism down just because it is a world religion was just too tempting a bait to pass by.

'Perhaps in future Pompous will stick to pontificating upon things he knows something about. Of course that will narrow it down quite a lot.

In the meantime, it is really rather sad that animal health officials are so inflexible as not to allow quarantine and treatment of animals including the newly-tested bovines. It isn't as if the Skanda Vale bullock and water buffalo will be getting anywhere near the food chain or pose any risk, properly quarantined, to other animals. But of course flexibility, humanity and common sense have not been demonstrable qualities amongst Defra or Welsh Assembly officials.'

Seven things you might not have known about the National Secular Society:

1 Its Executive Director, Keith Porteous Wood, is homosexual.

2 Its President, Terry Sanderson, is also homosexual.

3 Wood and Sanderson are partners in, er, perversion, sharing a house in Ealing and having chosen to benefit from entering into a 'civil partnership', which, of course, the National Secular Society campaigned for.,12592,1326003,00.html

4 Both are leading members of the Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association (Galha).

5 The National Secular Society hates all religions and despises all people of faith with a passion. It is especially piqued at Christianity in general and Britain's Christian Constitution in particular. Its leadership detests all expressions of Christian morality, and the virtues of chastity and fidelity are especially repugnant to them, given the intensity with which they fulminate against projects like the Silver Ring Thing.,,1800964,00.html

6 The National Secular Society is very keen on children being sexualised at an early age by free condoms and sex education - especially if it includes material on homosexuality. What a surprise!

7 The NSS don't know the difference between a bull and a bullock. For the record, a bullock (or steer) is a bull who was castrated as a calf. Such an animal is more placid than a bull and lacks the bull's characteristic high neck-muscle and powerful fore-quarters. Bulls are only kept for breeding, bullocks are for meat. (Or, rarely, to have garlands hung round them in Hindu temples in Wales.)


The Story:


Skanda Vale:

Wood pontificating: nodeId=161818&command=displayContent&sourceNode=161644& contentPK=17947062&folderPk=88499&pNodeId=161375

Ben Bradshaw:

Defra on Gamma-Interferon: