Author Topic: Govt tries to stop the killing of 20,000 Australian sheep in Pakistan  (Read 624 times)

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Govt tries to stop the killing of 20,000 Australian sheep in Pakistan
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2012, 06:03:11 PM »
Govt tries to stop culling of 20,000 sheep.   

ELEANOR HALL: Back home now, the Federal Government says it is working stop the culling of more than 20,000 Australian sheep in Pakistan.

As we reported here yesterday, there is a disagreement between Pakistani authorities and the Australian export company about whether the sheep pose a risk to human health.

The Federal Minister for Agriculture says he's trying to stop the culling. And animal rights group says the situation is a 'debacle' and is calling for a full investigation.

Miriam Hall has our report.

MIRIAM HALL: The shipment of more than 20,000 sheep was delivered to Karachi earlier this month, after it was rejected at their original destination of Bahrain, because of claims the sheep were infected with 'scabby mouth'.

Yesterday Pakistani officials announced the government had already started culling the sheep because they were infected with bacteria, including salmonella.

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Joe Ludwig, says the culling has been halted, and the Government is working with the high commissioner in Pakistan to make sure the sheep are processed as usual.

JOE LUDWIG: The animals were inspected by the Pakistani veterinary health officials on arrival and were approved as meeting the Pakistan requirements, so these are sometimes issues that arise, there's sometimes confusion that occurs.

What's best to do is work through the detail.

MIRIAM HALL: So what exactly is going on here, do you think? Why has this happened?

JOE LUDWIG: Oh I don't want to speculate, there is always a range of complex issues, sometimes you canů

MIRIAM HALL: But what kind of complex issues, I mean, it just seems pretty cut and dry. The sheep - Australian exporters say the sheep aren't sick, that they aren't unhealthy. So what is the problem do you think?

JOE LUDWIG: Well as again, I don't want to speculate. You could imagine a range of things, there might be commercial issues going on in the background, all of that might overlay. There may be scabby mouth which has been misdiagnosed, there could be all of those things and of course, then we then start travelling down the hypotheticals, it's very difficult to move that way.

MIRIAM HALL: The Pakistan exporters association says there's a 'political or commercial reason' behind suggestions that the animals are infected with dangerous bacteria. But Joe Ludwig says he can't say why Pakistan would claim that the animals are diseased.

JOE LUDWIG: There are always issues that sometimes come to the fore, sometimes we'll be able to establish what they are. What our job is to make sure that animal welfare is at the heart of the trade, that the exporter maintains control of the animals so that they move through to the slaughter yard.

That's our part of it, our part is not to speculate on commercial arrangements.

MIRIAM HALL: Animal rights group Animals Australia in describing the situation as a debacle.

Campaign director, Lyn White.

LYN WHITE: What we have enormous concerns about is that if these sheep end up being culled through being considered diseased, they will have no commercial value and therefore there is no way in the world that they will be slaughtered humanely.

MIRIAM HALL: Lyn White says the Australian Government 'fast-tracked' arrangements to make Pakistan an export destination after the sheep were rejected by Bahrain, and she says there are media reports in Pakistan that sheep are being sold outside of the normal supply chain.

LYN WHITE: Well I think the sad part is that we are in a situation where we cannot intervene to assure the welfare of these sheep, so we will be calling on a full government inquiry as to why this shipment was rejected in the first place, what has happened in Pakistan.

We believe that that situation should not have been fast tracked as a solution. So there is a need for a full government inquiry into this situation to ensure that all of the facts are revealed.

MIRIAM HALL: But Joe Ludwig says the Government is investigating and he's confident that even if the animals do have to be culled, they will be treated properly.

JOE LUDWIG: Now even with ESCAS there is the ability to (inaudible) to be still within ESCAS, which is the supply chain control system for humane culling. Occasionally culling does occur, it's one of those areas where providing it is done humanely, then there is, then the exporter can allow that to occur, because they've maintained control of the animal.

It is to ensure that animal welfare is looked after.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Joe Ludwig, ending that report from Miriam Hall.

Miriam Hall reported this story on Tuesday, September 18, 2012
http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2012/s3592407.htm