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All News Updates & Public Comment => Live Export News Updates => : Export News Tasmania October 02, 2012, 10:13:39 PM

: Australian sheep: MoUs
: Export News Tasmania October 02, 2012, 10:13:39 PM
ABOUT 22,000 live export sheep was rejected by Bahrain citing the reason that the sheep had ‘scabby mouth’ which is caused by a virus which can infect humans as well. The sheep remained on board without a destination.

The memorandums of understanding were signed between the Australian government and Bahrain. It appears they haven’t been followed, as they prescribe sheep to be offloaded within 36 hours, if there’s a quarantine dispute.

As per standard norms, commercial discussions are preferable to governments demanding that MOUs be invoked. The MOU did not come into play. Were the sheep really infected?

The ship should have returned to Australia but it was diverted to Pakistan, docked at Port Qasim and 22,000 sheep were offloaded. The international media did cover the scandal, but at that time the authorities remained indifferent as usual.

The government machinery came into action after the scam was reported in the local electronic media. The report of samples examined in two specialised laboratories said the results were positive and confirmed presence of bacteria salmonella and actinomysis, which is harmful for human consumption.

The provincial livestock ministry ordered culling of these infected sheep. During the course of culling, it revealed that about 3,000 sheep from the consignment have been separated and kept in a nearby farm.

Few carcasses were also found from the site, with blood oozing out from their mouths and noses, confirming the severity of the situation. Here is an important point: if the sheep were not infected, they should not have been separated from the herd? What is the guarantee that the remaining are not infected?

It may be said here that such incidents had taken place in the past as well. In 2003, a live export controversy, now known as the Cormo Express, caused a storm in Australia when Australian sheep were rejected by Saudi Arabia, with ‘scabby mouth’ infection given as the reason. A total of 57,000 sheep left Australia, and 80 days later these were finally accepted by Eritrea. In our case also the tainted livestock has been offloaded in Pakistan. Culling of infected sheep will send a clear message to the world not to treat Pakistan as a dumping ground for products rejected by other countries.

This alarming incident underscores the need for a thorough investigation to determine the circumstances under which the diseased livestock was brought into Pakistan and to unearth the black sheep in society involved in the trade of diseased white sheep.

I would suggest that those who declare these sheep safe for human consumption should be invited for dinner and served their meat.


Karachi (