Infected sheep: Disease reports are ‘false propaganda’

Published: September 16, 2012

Australian sheep at the PK livestock meet company warehouse in Razzaqabad on Saturday. PHOTO: PPI

KARACHI: 

A Sindh government official said on Saturday that media reports suggesting the recently imported Australian sheep are infected with contagious bacteria are baseless and fabricated.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Sindh Livestock and Fisheries Secretary Syed Abid Ali Shah said he is not aware of the test report – published by Dawn on Saturday – that claims the 21,000 Australian sheep have bacterial presence of salmonella and actinomyces.

Sent by an Australian company called Wellard Exports, the ship carrying 21,000 sheep arrived in Pakistan in the first week of September after Bahrain refused to accept the consignment because the animals allegedly had the scabby mouth disease.

Quoting the “test report” prepared by the Sindh Poultry Vaccine Centre of the provincial livestock department, the Dawn story claimed that oral swabs were found positive for highly contagious actinomyces, which causes the lumpy jaw disease in sheep.

“The Sindh government has not released any such report,” Shah said, adding that the federal government has constituted a committee headed by the federal food secretary to investigate the matter in a thorough manner. “The committee is going to present its findings in a few days. You can expect the release of the final report on the physical condition of the sheep on either Monday or Tuesday.”

Meanwhile, he added, police and government vets have been deployed at the animal farm in the Razzaqabad area of Karachi to ensure that no movement of sheep takes place until the final word is out on their condition. “People should not jump to conclusions, as investigations are still underway.”

When contacted by The Express Tribune, a senior official of the Sindh Poultry Vaccine Centre said that although tests have been carried out at the centre’s laboratory, their results are yet to be finalised. “The newspaper seems to have picked up something from our internal correspondence. It cannot be considered official until we approve it. Moreover, it was based on just one component of the overall investigation into the issue,” he said while requesting anonymity because he did not have the ministry’s approval to speak to the media.

Saying that he was a professional veterinarian himself, he stated that the bacteria the alleged test results refer to can be found in any animal and is not harmful. “It’s not sufficient evidence to call the entire consignment infected.”

He said samples were sent to laboratories in Islamabad, Karachi and Tandojam. The National Veterinary Laboratory submitted its results three days ago, he said, adding that results from the Tandojam lab were expected to arrive soon. “We are going to have an internal meeting on Monday. Only then we will be able to share with the media whether the sheep are indeed infected.”

The Pakistani importer of the Australian sheep, PK Livestock and Meat Managing Director Tariq Mehmood Butt, also reiterated his claim that the consignment of live animals is free of disease. “Why do not they present us any evidence? Can they produce any proof of the lab results they are talking about?” Butt said while speaking to The Express Tribune on the phone.

In a statement emailed to The Express Tribune, company’s Executive Director Saqib Butt said the report was false and part of a propaganda campaign. “We received a report from the federal laboratory in Islamabad, saying the animals are absolutely free from any disease and are safe for human consumption.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2012. 

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Reader Comments (28)

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Sep 16, 2012 - 1:42AM

    Poor sheep are kept in muddy water under the sun. Is this the way to treat animals.? Shame on importers, warehouse owners and government authorities.

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  • Sep 16, 2012 - 2:03AM

    Well the same story emerged some time back as well. Sheep originated from the same country, Australia and were destined to same country, Bahrain, who refused to accept the consignment and it was delivered to Pakistan. Why on earth we are importing sheep, aren’t we producing enough on our own?? I mean someday I will wake up and will read that acute milk shortage in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta and tenders have been given to procure milk from other countries.

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  • just_someone
    Sep 16, 2012 - 2:06AM

    so the officials never said media reports were propoganda, it was the company reps who said that. MAKE THAT CLEAR IN HEADLINE. god, ET, your editorial standards are worse than middle school newspapers!

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  • Scholar
    Sep 16, 2012 - 2:07AM

    And the report would take ages until than the sheeps would be cut and sold in the market for people to have further trouble. Shame on this pervert who imported this lot of infected animal and what to say about the inept PPP government.

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  • Caramelized_Onion
    Sep 16, 2012 - 2:54AM

    From what I know of the way government officials work, if DAWN news hadn’t reported this, these sheep would have been quietly passed on for consumptions as some officials clearly took kickbacks for buying infected sheep at full price.

    Now that they news is out, they will conduct and ‘investigation’. This is how Pakistan ticks.

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  • kala_bacha
    Sep 16, 2012 - 3:09AM

    This is so funny, the sheep shipment which were meant for Bahrain and Muscat. The two countries refused it when they saw infected sheep out of blue that ship found park at the Port Qasim, Karachi. Look like on their way back to Australia some Pakistani bahi log made the deal and got the infected sheep in pennies and now they are going to play with people life just to make money on DEAD BODIES – this is quite common in my country now a days.

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  • R
    Sep 16, 2012 - 7:02AM

    Australian sheep are perfectly healthy

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  • Sid
    Sep 16, 2012 - 7:56AM

    Does anyone care to figure out the reasons why did Bahrain reportedly refused the shipment at first place. The importer should be held responsible for any wrong doing. Is he willing to volunteer, to eat first from such imports ?

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  • ghazni
    Sep 16, 2012 - 8:55AM

    It svery clear government is hiding something to protect vested interests of business people. i have decided not to buy mutton for atleast another 2 to 3 months.

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  • ghazniyacob
    Sep 16, 2012 - 8:59AM

    Not eating meat ffor sometime will do us no harm. Let us pladge for another 3 to 6 months to eat only chicken or beef till culling of all the sheep in the country is completed.

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  • Not me
    Sep 16, 2012 - 9:49AM

    What I find very odd is how did 21,000 sheep disembark from the ship (who gave them certiifcate of good health) and how did the go from port Qasim to Razakabad.
    Once again FBR Custom department has played it’s role

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  • Sep 16, 2012 - 10:42AM

    Why Bahrain rejected them in the first place if everything is Okay?

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  • ahmer
    Sep 16, 2012 - 10:52AM

    seems like a media smear campaign to make a quick buck through intimidation

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  • Sep 16, 2012 - 12:01PM

    We want answer to the question that if nothing was wrong with the Australian sheep, why many gulf countries turned the ship back? Rather, the ship was not even allowed to come near their ports.

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  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Sep 16, 2012 - 2:12PM

    Looks like one big experiment is under way “The effect of meat consumption in humans from scabby mouth disease infected sheep”. The number of people involved 10, 000 humans. If nothing happens then in future will import more sheep. If people start getting sick than we will come up with conspiracy theory and blame it on CIA, RAW, MI-5/6 and Mossad.

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  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Sep 16, 2012 - 2:16PM

    A memorandum of understanding put in place after the Cormo Express disaster of 2003, where 6,000 sheep died, is meant to protect animals involved in the live export trade.

    The memorandum of understanding now looks like worthless bits of paper. What they require is for the sheep to be unloaded within 36 hours of docking. Even if they’re sick, they’re supposed to be put into quarantine feedlots.

    Pakistani officials have allowed the off loading of sheep in quarantine feed lot. Unfortunately I do not see any feed or water. It looks like that the ship got off with its potential law suit for animal welfare violations.

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  • Neutral
    Sep 16, 2012 - 2:27PM

    Ahmer…B4 u make an statement…try to think…why this consignment was refused by the Bahraini authorities ?….bcz they value their peoples health….& if u think this is all propaganda, wud suggest go to Razzaqabad & c by yrself…..& same goes for all such individuals who thinks it is all propaganda….Recommend

  • Caramelized_Onion
    Sep 16, 2012 - 3:07PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad: Thats still better than how Nawaz Sharif treats people from interior punjab

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  • Zain
    Sep 16, 2012 - 4:55PM

    ET always support gov side

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  • balaj
    Sep 16, 2012 - 9:27PM

    please give us some poor sheeps

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  • nomi
    Sep 16, 2012 - 10:56PM

    Why did PK buy these sheep when Bahraini Govt refused them?Recommend

  • dontamasino
    Sep 17, 2012 - 11:22AM

    Here is the report in GDN, the english newspaper in Bahrain. It specifically mentioned in a report on September the 6th that “However, reports in the Australian daily Herald Sun yesterday stated the sheep were being unloaded in Pakistan”

    http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/source/XXXV/170/pdf/page11.pdf

    The Pakistani importer who bought these sheeps must have only paid the shipping cost of the consignment given they were diseased and would have cost more to be culled.

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  • dontamasino
    Sep 17, 2012 - 11:31AM

    And here is the report of DH dated September 5, 2012

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/australian-sheep-stuck-on-ship-because-of-scabby-mouth-disease-fears-unloaded-in-pakistan/story-fndo48ca-1226465530566

    It’s shameful that a Pakistani company is playing with the lives of millions.

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  • A K N
    Sep 17, 2012 - 12:25PM

    The sheep are perfectly all right. This is a typical blackmail campaign which unfortunately is a tool used by some of our media.

    All those who are commenting, do you know that the meat that is being domestically produced is not even tested at all. Australian sheep have to undergo a rigorous test before they are exported. The same ship which brought them here also discharged sheep in Oman as well as Qatar.

    I myself am a dairy and beef cattle breeder. I have had the opportunity to visit the company which imported these sheep. They have a state of the art plant for butchering animals and processing their meat. They are one of the largest exporters of meat from Pakistan. The plant is absolutely amazing with regards to hygiene, climate controlled plant with no flies and dirt.

    If any of you go to for example the government sanctioned Karachi slaughter house, most of you will probably faint at the unbelievable disregard to any type of hygiene. Literally there are millions of flies everywhere. Animals waste is all over the place. The animals are being butchered in front of other live animals, which itself is a cruel thing. Please people don’t believe everything you read. This matter is all about extorting money from a very successful and patriotic pakistani, who has done wonders in developing a Pakistani company that can compete with its peers internationally.

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  • ansar
    Sep 17, 2012 - 5:18PM

    Dear
    This is sick sheep brought in Pakistan.The owner of PK company must be brought into court and punished as he played with health of pakistani

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  • A K N
    Sep 17, 2012 - 5:50PM

    In addition for those who are not aware, scabby mouth disease is a minor viral disease present in most sheep and goat flocks around the world.

    It is a widespread in pakistan, in addition to foot and mouth disease, brucellosis, and many others.

    What is sad to see, is that some one with a vested interest is creating a panic over nothing. People unfortunately are not seeing their malafide intentions.

    It’s so easy to target private businessmen, while those who plunder the nation are safe and sound.

    For a start, thousands of acres on government land has been occupied and sold by cronies of the heads of the coalition government. However no one dares to mention them. I would love to state those names, but unfortunately I know my comments will not get posted.

    It’s sad that our public is so naive.

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  • dr hanif
    Sep 21, 2012 - 12:23PM

    lumpy jaw is already present in all proviences of pakistan. if these sheeps are affected frm lumpy jaw we can use these for food porpose because meet boiled at tem up to 100c theres nothig alive at that temprature.

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  • Arif Hussain
    Sep 27, 2012 - 7:02PM

    This is disgusting,What a nation we are? When the sheep are rejected by the Bahrains government then how a pakistani importer dare to import the consignment it is very much clear
    thath the importer knows that there is no law in pakistan and anybody can be forced to do illegal work by kickback or by approach.So the importer decided to play with the health of poor pakistani for the sake of money.Please think for a while if we are muslims then shame for us.

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