Thank goodness that Shambo, the most celebrated friesian bullock in the world, was infected with bovine Tb, following tests on his carcase after he was slaughtered yesterday. Can you just imagine the fallout if he hadn't been infected - something that often happens when animals are taken from farmers after 'positive' tests. The Assembly Government would have been vilified across the entire world. I cannot believe the reach that this story has achieved. Huge picture on the front page of today's Telegraph for instance. Question is, would all this publicity have happened if the name of this rather poor quality, six year old bullock was something as prosaic as 'Bullock' or 'B8'. The monks of Skanda Vale Hindu community would have protested just the same, but the story might have remained no more than of local interest.
One point that does interest me is that if Shambo had not been slaughtered, the disease would have spread and caused other animals to contract bovine Tb - and thus have to die. How does a commitment to the sanctity of life solve this little consequence. One animal lives, but an unspecified number of other animals die as a result. Doesn't sound very humane to me.
And another question is where were Shambo's ear tags when he made his debut on TV. Every bovine in Britain is supposed to have two ear tags, one in each year. Shambo's ears were as free from adornment as the hands of a real man are free from jewelry. A few days later, two big yellow tags appeared. I wonder whether the same action will be taken that would be taken against every other farmer for similar 'offences'.
I'm really glad its all over. I know that some farmers think that the case has raised the profile of the curse of Bovine TB. Personally, I think that public sympathy has moved in favour of the monks. And I hope that there won't be anything like the same publicity when other animals are taken - as they surely will be. I daresay they are all being given cute little names as we speak.