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All News Updates & Public Comment => Live Export News Updates => : WA Export News September 27, 2012, 06:38:52 PM

: Report from M. Waqar Bhatti direct in Pakistan. 27.9.2012
: WA Export News September 27, 2012, 06:38:52 PM
      Karachi
Like a giant mass of wool, bloodied and filthy, they lay in trenches – slit open, stabbed or clubbed to death, while many still wriggled with some life left in them, soon to be buried alive.

This was the horrific and brutal fate that the Australian sheep, which provincial authorities had claimed were diseased, met after their culling was ordered.

Of the 20,468 imported sheep, 7,667 were culled until the Sindh High Court issued a stay order.

A video footage of the mass execution, obtained by The News, reveals that the sheep were disposed of in a shockingly brutal and unethical manner. Many of them were still alive when they were thrown into trenches dug at the importer’s farmhouse in Razzaqabad.

The video shows the executioners slitting the animals’ throats or callously stabbing or clubbing them.

The people killing the animals or throwing them into the trenches were not wearing any protective gear whatsoever, even though the animals were being culled on the basis that they were suffering from a “contagious disease”.

The PK Livestock and Meat Company, which imported the sheep, has a modern abattoir at one of its farm houses, where hundreds of animals can be slaughtered in a proper manner.

However, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) staff never bothered to use that facility and instead used gruesome and inhumane methods to get rid of the sheep.

“I have watched the video and let me tell you that ever since I have seen those gruesome visuals, I haven’t eaten or slept. Regardless of whether they were healthy or not, the way they were killed or buried alive is neither humane, nor Islamic,” Stephen Meerwald, the managing director of the Wellard Rural Exports, the firm that exported the sheep, told The News.

“The federal government had directed the Sindh government to dispose of the sheep in a ‘merciful and Islamic manner’, but that was not how it got rid of them.”
 
Untrained butchers
The butchers hired by the KMC were not trained and they used all sorts of unethical and unprofessional ways to kill the sheep.

“Instead of hiring professional butchers to carry out the job of slaughtering the animals, untrained people including sanitary workers were used to do the job,” a KMC source told The News.

The video discloses that several half-alive sheep were taken out of the trenches the next morning. They were slaughtered or clubbed with heavy wooden sticks and thrown back into the trenches again.

In one of the more disturbing parts of the video, the executioners can be seen kicking some sheep into the trenches and using any sharp object they can find to stab them.

Apparently, there was no counting of sheep taking place when they were being executed.

‘Environmental hazard’

The trenches were dug in the middle of the importer’s farm house without taking into consideration the environmental hazards posed to the workers and other animals there.

The source said after realising their mistake, the KMC employees had dug up the carcasses and buried them again in trenches off the National Highway.

The importer of the sheep was of the view that if the civil society and animal rights activists even had a hint of what the KMC staff had done to the animals in the name of “safe culling”, there could be serious problems for the country’s livestock industry.

Threat to trade
An expert told The News that the barbaric killing of the sheep, irrespective of their health status, can have serious repercussions.

“I can bet on one thing that if the Australians find out how the sheep were killed - the stabbing, the clubbing and the burying alive - they will definitely ban animal exports to Pakistan,” he noted.

Islamic point of view

Terming the infliction of pain on animals as “un-Islamic”, a renowned Islamic scholar says Muslims have been directed to give food and water to animals prior to slaughtering. They should be slaughtered using extremely sharp knives to minimise the pain. In addition, they should not be slaughtered in front of other animals.

“Islam prohibits inflicting pain on animals. Burying them alive, beating them to death and inflicting pain on them is an offence in Islam and Allah Almighty prohibits meting out such cruel treatment to animals,” Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman told The News.

Laws against animal cruelty

The Pakistan Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1890 clearly states,

“If any person overdrives, beats, or otherwise treats any animal so as to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering, he shall be punished, in the case of a first offence, with fine which may extend to fifty rupees, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month and, in the case of second or subsequent offence committed within three years of the previous offence, with fine which may extend to one hundred rupees, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months, or with both.”

A portion of the Act titled, “Penalty for killing animals with unnecessary cruelty anywhere”, states, “If any person kills any animal in an unnecessarily cruel manner, he shall be punished with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with both.”

 M. Waqar Bhatti
 (http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintWriterName.aspx?ID=4&URL=M.%20Waqar%20Bhatti)
Thursday, September 27, 2012
 From Print Edition