KARACHI: A medical board constituted by the Sindh High Court to determine whether the 21,000 Australian sheep were infected with anthrax, filed a request late on Saturday to immediately halt the culling after finding the animals disease free.
Earlier, the SHC had ordered provisional testing by veterinary and microbiological experts of nearly 21,000 sheep imported from Australia.
A division bench, headed by Justice Maqbool Baqir, also ordered that if no anthrax was detected in provisional tests, culling of sheep be stopped till September 24, 2012.
The order came after lengthy arguments advanced by veterinary experts of Sindh government, Commissioner Animal Husbandry of Ministry of Food Security and Research as well as independent experts from the Dow University of Health and Sciences.
Petitioner Tariq Mehmood Butt had approached the SHC to seek restraining order against culling by Karachi municipal administration of his 21,000 sheep recently imported from Australia.
On Saturday, Sindh Secretary Livestock and other experts vehemently opposed the petitioner’s plea for staying culling of the infected sheep, submitting that the animals are infected with deadly disease of anthrax, among other diseases, that could widely spread to livestock as well as human beings.
Professor Rafiq Khanani of Dow University of Health Sciences informed that anthrax was not that deadly a disease, and that it required close physical contact to transmit from animals-to-animals or human-to-human.
He argued that there was no potential risk the disease spreading.
Dr Khursheed Ahmed, Animal Husbandry Commissioner of Ministry of Food Security & Research, submitted that the disease was not deadly, but could be transmitted through mosquitoes or flies.
Professor Rafiq Khanani voluntarily offered to conduct provisional test of the infected sheep and said that it would take hardly four hours to determine whether the animals are suffering from the disease or not.
SHC division bench ordered provisional testing by government and independent veterinary and microbiological experts of the sheep immediately. It also ordered a team of experts to submit its report on September 24 when case will be taken up at 8:30am.
Meanwhile, the court ordered that if no sheep was found infected with the anthrax disease, the culling of animals should immediately be stopped till the next date of hearing.