Bahrain returned sheep due to presence of Orf disease: Pakistan envoy

Published: October 17, 2012
Bahrain authorities had detected Orf or scabby mouth disease in some of the sheep. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Bahrain authorities had detected Orf or scabby mouth disease in some of the sheep. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

KARACHI: Pakistani Ambassador to Bahrain on Wednesday informed the Sindh High Court that the Gulf country had refused to accept a consignment of 22,000 sheep being imported from Australia because the herd suffered from Orf disease.

This was submitted in a report by Deputy Attorney General before a division bench, which is hearing the importer’s petition against culling of 21,000 sheep imported from Australia upon refusal by Bahrain.

Petitioner Tariq Mehmood Butt claims that provincial livestock officers had declared his healthy animals unfit for human consumption on the basis of medical reports issued by incompetent government veterinary laboratory. The Karachi Metropolitan Administration had started culling the sheep based on these reports.

In his report, Ambassador Jauhar Saleem said that his deputy had approached the Bahrain Assistant Undersecretary of Agricultural Affairs to seek an explanation on why the country had refused to allow the offloading of sheep. Saleem said that Bahraini authorities inspected the sheep prior to offloading, as per existing practice for live and frozen imported livestock. Their inspections discovered that some of the sheep were infected with Orf and, therefore, the shipment was refused and returned. The Ambassador’s report added that any supporting medical reports and findings could be shared once the Bahraini Undersecretary returns from his foreign visit, on October 17, 2012.

Advocate Anwar Mansoor Khan also filed an affidavit of Dr Nazeer Hussain Kalhoro, the Director at Sindh Poultry Vaccine Center. The affidavit said that 1800 samples were drawn from 100 sheep by a team of experts constituted on orders of the SHC. These samples were then preserved as per international guidelines and sent abroad for testing at UK-based laboratory.

“It is interesting that the controversy before provincial labs was over five diseases – Anthrax, Salmonella, E.coli, Actinomyces (lumpy jaw disease) and Orf/mouth scabby disease. However, the samples were not tested for any of the above disputed diseases,” he concluded in his affidavit.

After hearing arguments, SHC division bench headed by Justice Maqbool Baqir adjourned hearing till October 18, 2012.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Sir King Kong Bunty
    Oct 17, 2012 - 8:53PM

    Looks like these poor sheep will die waiting before my Lord the CJ of SCP take a suo moto on the sheeps to get their tests done


  • Cautious
    Oct 17, 2012 - 9:30PM

    Scabby mouth (aka orf disease) is a common ailment in sheep – something that you could have discovered by picking up the phone and calling anyone who raises sheep for a living. While the disease reduces the value of the sheep (which is probably the core dispute with Bahrain) eating the sheep doesn’t present a health hazard. The big concern in Australia is that the crews that sheer sheep require additional compensation because they don’t like handling the sheep. The amazing thing to me is that apparently Pakistan can’t determine what kind of disease an animal has or even ascertain whether the disease is worth all the hoopla.


  • Nixky
    Oct 20, 2012 - 5:42PM

    And how is it that an ‘Authorised Australian Veterinary Officer’ signed a health certificate for these poor, hapless sheep in Perth, Australia, 27 days after they had left that country? Maasive corruption involving the exporter, Wellards and the Australian government? Meanwhile, these sheep have suffered horrendously, and now face more brutal culling practices. Australia’s live export trade is a blight on the conscience oif every decent Australian, and we are deeply, deeply ashamed of everyone who is part of it.


  • Oct 21, 2012 - 4:00AM

    If any Australian livestock are shipped o’seas,and found to be unhealthy,should they not be returned to Australia at the exporters expense?
    It seems to me that this should be a legal requirement, and punishable by law if the exporters dont oblige.
    If Australia was importing livestock (22,0000 for example ) which were found to be diseased, how would we deal with this problem?
    Would we offload said stock and put them into quarantine? probably.So why would not that not happen in another country?
    And again,if Australia was importing a massive consignment of livestock,would a vet be sent to the exporting country to do tests on the livestock,and sign them off as healthy?Perhaps not, but in future,before livestock go overseas, a vet from the exprting country should sign them off as disease free,before they leave Austalia.


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