Infected sheep

Australia needs to refrain from shipping out diseased sheep and other sub-standard items to poorer countries.

Editorial September 13, 2012

According to recent media reports, Pakistani port authorities allowed a consignment of 21,000 Australian sheep to be offloaded at the Karachi port after the same shipment was refused entry into Bahrain because the sheep were reportedly suffering from scabby mouth — a disease that can also infect humans. Despite assurances by the Australian high commissioner that the sheep were healthy, authorities cannot afford to take any chances as the health of thousands of people may be at stake. The Sindh livestock department has collected blood samples from the sheep and according to some reports, the National Veterinary Laboratory has cleared these samples. However, it must be noted that getting such clearances in our country through means that are not entirely honest, is not too difficult.

If the sheep are indeed healthy, why did Bahrain reject their entry? If they are suffering from a disease, why did our authorities readily accept them? Did they carry out a detailed check of the consignment before allowing it to be offloaded? Was the decision to allow the sheep to enter Pakistan influenced by the fact that Eidul Azha is just weeks away? There is now a huge responsibility on the livestock department, as well as on those responsible for regulating food items sold in our markets to ensure that diseased meat does not find its way into butcher shops. Such fears are understandable as quality control mechanisms in Pakistan are far from stringent.

The sheep need to undergo thorough examination to ensure that they are indeed healthy. If they are not, those responsible for allowing them to enter Pakistan must be taken to task and under no circumstances should meat from the animals enter retail outlets. The relevant Australian authorities also need to be informed to refrain from shipping out diseased sheep and other sub-standard items to poorer countries. If something isn’t good enough to be consumed by the Australian public, it is not good enough to be consumed by others, either.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2012.


Ali | 9 years ago | Reply

Lets clear this up with a few FACTS. Initially some of the sheep had been unloaded at two other middle eastern ports without a problem. In Bahrain few of the sheep were found to have 'scabby mouth disease' - it's not a serious condition and it would have cleared up within days. The fact is that Bahrain had accepted shipments of sheep with this condition in the past. It appears that one of the Princes objected because he had a shipment of livestock that was precluded from entering Bahrain due to changes in regulation. So he kicked up a fuss which meant that these perfectly suitable livestock were sent back onto the seas to suffer from the heat and stress of being kept on board ship for a lot longer than was planned. The export/import company had links to PK Meats in Pakistan that's why they were eventually sent there. They did not have foot and mouth - they did not have anthrax - the poor creatures were simply victims of self interest and pride. Australia should not export to Pakistan any more if you are willing to treat God's creatures so cruelly. I saw the footage of how some animals had been beaten and bulldozed alive into pits filled with their dead and dying brethren. The people responsible should be ashamed.

Riz | 9 years ago | Reply

Now they are going to pollute underground water reserves by burying these underground. Shame on you man.

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