Approximately 21,000 sheep that arrived from Australia to Pakistan earlier this week are ‘entirely healthy’ and free of any disease, Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Peter Heyward said on Saturday.
Talking to journalists at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Heyward said the Australian sheep could be consumed, as they posed no threat to human health.
“They were examined while they left the Australian port. They were inspected upon arrival at the Karachi port. Independent veterinarians also checked them on the vessel. There was no trace of any disease,” the Australian high commissioner said.
The website of ABC News, an Australian news network, posted a story on September 5, stating that an Australian ship carrying 22,000 sheep was barred from unloading in Bahrain because there were concerns about the discovery of scabby mouth disease in some animals. Two weeks later, it added, the ship showed up at Port Qasim in Karachi for unloading.
“The same ship had gone to Oman and Qatar to discharge cargo before it went to Bahrain. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I can tell you that the sheep are perfectly healthy,” he said.
The sheep were sent by an Australian company called Wellard Exports. The Express Tribune emailed the company on September 5, enquiring whether the cargo was turned down by a government authority or private party. The company has not yet responded to the questions.
However, the ABC News story quoted an official of Wellard Exports as saying that the company could not understand why its cargo had not been accepted in Bahrain.
The importer of the Australian sheep in Pakistan is PK Livestock and Meat.
“It is true that approximately 21,000 Australian sheep were delivered to us in Karachi. The sheep are good and healthy, as Australia is one of the best countries in the world as far as animal health standards are concerned,” PK Livestock and Meat Managing Director Tariq Mehmood Butt told The Express Tribune.
He said the company received a no-objection certificate as well as a release certificate from the Animal Quarantine Department, adding there were no hiccups at Port Qasim because the company had all the relevant documents available.
“The vessel complied with all health certification requirements. We have a health certificate from the Australian government as well, saying the sheep are healthy and safe for human consumption,” he added.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Sindh Livestock and Fisheries Secretary Syed Abid Ali Shah said he sent a team of veterinarians to the abattoir located in the Razzaqabad area of Karachi along with policemen.
“Our team has collected 120 blood samples from these sheep. They’ve been already sent to different laboratories in Karachi, Tandojam and Islamabad for tests,” Shah said, adding test results were expected on Sunday.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2012.