Death-row: Culling aside, sheep dying a slow death

Published: September 21, 2012
"There were symptoms of anthrax in three sheep that were found dead on the farm," says Sindh Poultry Vaccine Centre Director Nazeer Hussain Kalhoro. HOTO: PPI/ FILE

"There were symptoms of anthrax in three sheep that were found dead on the farm," says Sindh Poultry Vaccine Centre Director Nazeer Hussain Kalhoro. HOTO: PPI/ FILE

KARACHI: The stench of the dead, half-dead and unburied sheep at PK Meat and Food’s farm is unbearable to say the least.

Out of 21,000 ‘infected’ sheep that arrived in Pakistan from Australia on September 5, roughly 5,400 have already been slaughtered since last Sunday, according to employees of the company. The farm, which is located roughly 10 kilometres from Quaidabad on the outskirts of Karachi, is heavily guarded by policemen and officials of municipal authorities.

“Government officials are not even letting us feed the sheep. The animals are visibly weak now, as they haven’t eaten properly for days,” an employee said while talking to The Express Tribune in the company’s office built on the corner of the farm.

“They beat our workers the other day when they tried to enter the pen to feed the sheep,” the employee added.

The staffer then played a shaky video clip, recorded with a mobile phone camera, of the ongoing sheep slaughter. It showed seemingly untrained butchers of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) hurriedly slitting throats of sheep and throwing them in a hole that was only six to seven feet deep.

Half-dead sheep with streams of blood oozing from their necks piled onto each other in the hole that filled within a matter of minutes. In another scene, the camera focused on a sheep with a mouth bleed. The animal was evidently alive, yet it had been discarded on a pile of recently slaughtered sheep.

The slaughter was temporarily halted on Thursday, as KMC staff had yet to show up for work even though it was well past 1pm. A lonely KMC worker levelled the ‘burying ground’ with a tractor while a number of dead sheep lay along the boundary of the pen, which was used for slaughtering the sheep the night before, with flies buzzing over their carcasses.

We came back to the office to grab our cameras; however, by the time we went back near the pen, the KMC staff had finally arrived. A burly, uncouth man asked us not to attempt any photography,
but when we refused to stop clicking, he took away our cameras and erased all pictures.

‘Anthrax’ in sheep

Speaking to a TV channel on a nearby farm, where PK Meat and Food had moved about 1,000 sheep on September 13 in view of the expected rains, Sindh Poultry Vaccine Centre Director Nazeer Hussain Kalhoro said he could confidently say that there were symptoms of anthrax in three sheep that were found dead on the farm, although there were no test reports to support his claim.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, a micro-biologist, who works for PK Meat and Food, said the claim was preposterous. “He’s telling the nation about the presence of anthrax here while he’s still standing within the pen that has such animals. Nothing could be more ridiculous,” he said.

Meanwhile, a veterinarian from a leading World Animal Health Organisation (OIE)-accredited lab – Central Veterinary Research Laboratory (VRL Dubai), which operates as a government diagnostic centre for the United Arab Emirates – issued a certificate on Wednesday, saying the sheep are free of any exotic disease and fit for human consumption.

Central Veterinary Research Laboratory Scientific Director Dr Ulrich Wernery visually inspected the sheep in Karachi and found no evidence of exotic disease in the animals, a statement said on Thursday. “It is of paramount importance to stop the needless and unnecessary culling of healthy animals,” it quoted the veterinarian as saying.

It should be noted that local authorities prevented Dr Wernery from taking blood samples from the sheep for further analysis and his diagnosis is based on a visual inspection only.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Gaurav
    Sep 21, 2012 - 4:32AM

    Born with silver spoon in Australia , now its their terrible end in Pakistan.Recommend

  • anwar
    Sep 21, 2012 - 7:42AM

    But the next time sheep (and wheat) sent to this country will be top class and healthy.


  • Sep 21, 2012 - 9:39AM

    this is a horror show beyond words.


  • s shah
    Sep 21, 2012 - 9:56AM

    Shameful cruelty towards defenceless, voiceless animals. Sickening. If these people have no humanity or compassion, at least they should be frightened of the “bud duas” of defenceless and suffering creatures which go straight to Allah SWT.


  • Sahara
    Sep 21, 2012 - 9:56AM

    Bad karma


  • Sep 21, 2012 - 8:08PM

    What are these different statements? Whether they are healthy or ill, how they are allowed to starve to death. Are we humans?


  • s shah
    Sep 22, 2012 - 1:28AM

    There is a Hadith of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) which states that when the Prophet heard that a woman had imprisoned a cat and then starved it to death, he said that the woman will go to Hell. This is how seriously Islam views cruelty to animals and especially starving animals to death. Are we Muslims? Are we humans? For God’s sake, people in Karachi, do something about this!


  • Noman Ansari
    Sep 24, 2012 - 3:01AM

    This is so depressing. :( I wish I hadn’t read this.Recommend

  • Quatrina
    Sep 24, 2012 - 4:03AM

    I was scared of just this scenario when I heard about the sheep. Express Tribune and Express News, please go on air with this story. Please force the callous and insensitive authorities to stop this senseless slaughter of possibly healthy animals. At least, please give them food and water until the test results come back. If the sheep are found to be infected with any dangerous disease, then cull them but in a humane manner, not this savage leaving animals half dead.


  • Imran
    Sep 24, 2012 - 3:52PM

    What a disgusting outrage, lobby for those responsible to be severely punished IN THIS LIFE.


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