Court of Appeal to decide Shambo’s fate

Brick Court Chambers and 11KBW went head-to-head at the Court of Appeal today (23 July) over the fate of one of the UK’s most famous bulls – Shambo.

The ‘sacred’ bullock’s life hangs in the balance as the judgment is handed down orally this afternoon. The ruling commenced at 2.45pm and was still being read out at the time of writing (5pm).

Shambo, which is kept in a Carmarthenshire temple by Hindu monks, tested positive for TB, leading the Welsh Assembly to order his slaughter.

In the High Court last Monday (16 July) His Honour Judge Hickinbottom quashed two Assembly government orders to end Shambo’s life.

Hickinbottom ruled that destroying Shambo, who is being kept at the Skanda Vale community in Llanpumsaint, would be unlawful. He held that the slaughter orders failed to give enough weight to the rights of the monks.

The Community for the Many Names of God argued that the slaughter of Shambo would be a particularly sacreligious act.

It also argued that it was “a serious desecration of their temple and a gross invasion of their right to manifest their religion, a right protected by Article 9” of the European Convention of Human Rights.

The Court of Appeal hearing was brought by the Welsh Assembly on Friday (20 July) in front of three Court of Appeal judges sitting in Cardiff, with the verdict due to be handed down in London today.

The Government’s counsel sought to overturn the quashing, arguing that the slaughter of the six-year-old bull would eliminate all risk of this infection form of TB being passed on to any other cattle.

The Community for the Many Names of God and Swami Suryananda were represented by Mark Hoskins, assisted by Maya Lester, both of Brick Court.

They were instructed by head of public and human rights law Stephen Grosz from Bindmans & Partners. At first instance David Anderson QC of Brick Court led for the Hindu community.

Clive Lewis QC and Joanne Clement of 11KBW acted for the Welsh Assembly, instructed by the Treasury Solicitors.