Spared from slaughter, the sacred cow at animal sanctuary

BARBY Keel's Animal Sanctuary is well versed at accepting unusual "guests" but a sacred cow is a "first".

Monday, 6th November 2006, 10:14 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 9:34 pm

If "nobody loves a fairy when she's forty" then it follows that no rare breeds establishment can justify keeping an animal which cannot have young.

That's why love-lorn Athene, one of only 400 Park White cattle left in Britain, faced a one-way journey to the slaughterhouse from her home at a rare breeds centre at Crawley.

But nine year-old Athene's plight raised furore at Crawley where the local Hindu community and the Jains movement mounted a spirited public campaign to save her.

They conducted religious ceremonies over Athene in a bid to protect her.

Their prayers were answered when the local authority agreed that Athene could go to an animal sanctuary.

The problem was finding one that would take her.

Athene is nine years-old. Cows can live to 20. She can't produce calves and the abattoir is not an acceptable alternative.

Barby Keel's Animal Sanctuary accepted Athene at the weekend. She arrived complete with a red symbol on her forehead denoting her sacred status and quickly settled down to munch the grass at Freezeland Lane.

At the sanctuary, Daniel Poustie said: "Park White cattle are an ancient British breed dating back to pre-Christian times."

Athene owes her life to those in Crawley who venerate cattle.

Daniel said: "They will continue to come down and hold blessings for Athene and we have said they are welcome at any time."