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WA Export News

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Pakistan takes stranded WA sheep
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2012, 10:24:11 PM »
 Pakistan takes stranded WA sheep  Nick Butterly Canberra, The West Australian Updated September 5, 2012,

A ship has offloaded more than 20,000 WA sheep in Pakistan after Arab authorities barred it from docking amid claims the animals were sick.

Live export vessel the Ocean Drover berthed in Qasim yesterday after it was turned back in Bahrain, with suggestions some sheep had scabby mouth disease.

The sheep had been stuck aboard in sweltering Middle Eastern heat as the vessel was shunted from port to port for more than two weeks.

It is believed the Australian Government rushed through an animal welfare agreement with the exporter to allow the sheep to be diverted to Pakistan.

Under rules introduced after last year's ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia, all importing countries must demonstrate what happens to stock once it is offloaded.

A spokesman for exporter Wellard Rural Exports said the death rate on the ship remained below the mandated benchmark of 2 per cent.

The exporter was puzzled by the Bahraini decision because the animals had been certified for export by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service before leaving Fremantle.

"While on board, the sheep have been cared for by an AQIS accredited veterinarian, two Livecorp accredited stockmen and 47 on-board officers and crew," the spokesman said. "At the port of unloading, the animals were cleared for import by local quarantine authorities."

Lyn White, of activist group Animals Australia, said the incident had echoes of the 2003 Cormo Express episode, where 50,000 Australian sheep were stranded aboard a live export vessel for 79 days.

"How can any government allow live animals to leave this shore when they do not have a rock solid guarantee that animals will be accepted," she said.

She warned the incident showed the Government had no control over the welfare of Australian animals once they were aboard a ship.

The company was unsure why Bahrain turned away the ship, but industry sources suggested importers may be badmouthing Australian stock to source cheaper stock from Sudan.