Oh who cares about TB, big deal

Joan Smith considers the Shambo question.

The temple has been served with a notice insisting that he be put down, prompting outrage among representatives of the country’s Hindus, who consider cattle sacred and claim that slaughtering the infected animal would be an affront to their religion. “It strikes at the very core of our beliefs,” said Ramesh Kallidai, the secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain…[I]n 1935, when a voluntary testing scheme was introduced for cattle, 50,000 new cases of human TB were recorded annually in this country and 2,500 people died from a form of the disease passed on through cow’s milk. That’s why testing was made compulsory in 1950, along with a raft of other measures designed to prevent transmission between cattle and humans. The low incidence of the disease in recent years is in large part due to the measures adopted in the past century.

So there you have it: ‘the very core of our beliefs’ versus the public health. The public health should trump the beliefs.

One of the myths promulgated by believers – a sacred cow, if I might use that term – is that there is no conflict between science and religion. Nothing could be further from the truth, as this sorry tale demonstrates, and I’m beginning to wonder whether there are any limits at all on the demands by different faith groups for special treatment.

I can answer that. No, there are no such limits. Fasten your seat belts.

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