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    Priest gored to death by bull he rescued

Tuesday 19th June 2001

A priest in Sri Lanka has been gored to death by a bull he saved from a slaughterhouse seven days earlier.

Dharmarathna Thero, 70, chief priest of the temple in Badureliya, was feeding the bull bananas when it repeatedly gored him.

Buddhist priests often visit slaughterhouses to save cows and bulls. They believe the good deed will help release them from the cycle of rebirth.

Priests told police the bull was brought to the shrine after Mr Thero had saved its life.

The animal had not behaved abnormally until the moment it attacked.


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Officials say the elephants confined themselves to crop-raiding until mid-1999 when they claimed their first human victim.

Armed soldiers are on guard but officials say they are reluctant to kill the elephants because of heavy penalties under environmental laws.

The South China Morning Post quotes one witness to the latest attack as saying: "Following a trail of blood, we came upon his remains which were spread over an area of about 100 square metres.

"It appeared that he had been thrown and trampled until his body was crushed and his remains and clothing were strewn all over a nearby hill. The attack also saw four houses destroyed and the survivors remain terrified."

Local commune chief Nguyen Than said: "Everybody is living in fear. No-one can work and people are afraid to stay in their homes because they may attack again at any time."

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