After remaining a hot topic for local and Australian media, the saga of imported Australian sheep has ended after authorities concerned culled all animals, here on Saturday. Livestock Department of Government of Sindh culled 11,306 infected sheep in two days. The process was initiated Friday morning. Talking to Business Recorder, Kazi Jan Muhammad, Deputy Commissioner District Malir confirmed that all the live, imported animals were culled by 5:30pm on Saturday.
The infected animals were slaughtered as per Halal, merciful and humanly practices under the supervision of livestock department. In reply to a query that how the thousands of animals were culled within two days, he said that butchers were called from all the districts of Karachi. They finished their job in various shifts. Interestingly, earlier 7,600 sheep were culled by the authorities.
The number of culled animals was 18,906 out of the imported over 20,400 animals showing around 1500 missing. This was number of sheep reported missing after reaching Karachi while the number of missing animals could increase to over 3000 if the same was counted since the departure of the consignment carrying 22,000 sheep from Bahrain after rejection.
The provincial livestock department which had started culling after diagnosing diseases in the imported animals stuck to its earlier stance despite some reports obtained by the importing company showing the animals fit for human consumption. According to veterinary experts of the provincial government the imported sheep carrying orf were needed to be disposed off which is normal practices in the world to avoid the spread of the disease in animals. In Pakistan, Orf has not been reported in local animals before this. The efforts of Australian exporter, who visited Pakistan since the issue was highlighted in local media and started a campaign through press conference and media interactions to convince the people/concerned authorities that these sheep were not infected or sick.
However, the officials of Wellard, the foreign company failed to do so apparently because of multiple reasons such as rejection of the consignment earlier by Bahrain government, the overnight approval of Pakistan for ”Supply Chain Assurance System” of Australia, serious violation of rules while importing these animals in Pakistan, reports of provincial laboratories and experts” unchanged stance, Pakistani ambassador”s letter regarding the official version of Bahrain government over rejection of sheep consignment and lastly the withdrawal of case from court by importer/petitioner.
Some lab test reports obtained from national and London-based laboratory showing negative results of the much debated disease in these animals also proved useless as the provincial veterinary experts raised serious questions over the merit and procedure of obtaining samples from the sheep which according to them were not transparent and as per due procedure.
Besides, as sources claimed, pressure from local government over the importer, who had not only violated various government rules while importing the animals, but the slaughter house he holds was also constructed in violation of KBCA rules, also forced him to withdraw the case.