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All News Updates & Public Comment => Live Export News Updates => : WA Export News October 19, 2012, 07:55:04 PM

: Pakistan sheep importer pressured: reports 19.10.2012
: WA Export News October 19, 2012, 07:55:04 PM
THE Pakistani livestock importer who bought Australian sheep that were inhumanely slaughtered on health grounds has agreed to not seek damages, reports from Pakistan claim.    

A shipment of about 21,000 mainly West Australian sheep was sent to Pakistan on September 5 after being rejected in Bahrain due to health concerns, but further disease fears emerged there, leading to the brutal culling of thousands of the animals in a feedlot and reports that some had been buried alive.

Overnight, Fremantle-based exporter Wellard said the importer, PK Livestock, had reached an agreement with Sindh Livestock Department and the Federal Quarantine Department of Pakistan to guarantee the humane processing of the remaining 11,500 sheep.

It said PK Livestock had agreed to drop action in the Sindh High Court, which had aimed to overturn the government-ordered cull, while a final agreement was negotiated.

Pakistani website The News on Friday reported that PK Livestock had agreed not to lodge a claim against the government for financial losses it had sustained. In exchange, it would be allowed to process the sheep in its own abattoir for export.

Unlike the earlier cull, the sheep would be slaughtered in compliance with World Animal Health Organisation standards and would be processed through a modern abattoir, Wellard said.

The facility was accredited under Australia's food safety control system HACCP, the federal government's Australian Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme and the international quality management system ISO 9000, the company said.

The News cited "sources close to both sides" as saying that "backdoor diplomacy and pressure tactics" convinced PK Livestock owner Tariq Mehmood Butt to settle the matter out of court.

Wellard executive director Steve Meerwald said the welfare of the sheep, which the companies had fought hard to get back in its possession, was the No.1 priority.

"A negotiated agreement achieves that goal," Mr Meerwald said.

Animals Australia campaign director Lyn White dismissed Wellard's claim that the sheep would be destroyed humanely as "PR spin".

"They know how damaging this terrible situation has been for their reputation and also for the live export trade," Ms White said.

"No one in Australia is going to be happy knowing that these animals will be slaughtered while they are fully conscious."

All animals that are slaughtered in Australia are stunned beforehand, excluding some 200,000 sheep killed for the kosher market.

Wellard has currently suspended trade with Pakistan but has not ruled out resuming trade.

The controversy has fuelled calls for an end to live exports from Australia.

Four animal rights activists were charged with a variety of offences after protests on and around sheep export ships at Fremantle Port on Friday. http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/breaking-news/humane-cull-for-aust-sheep-in-pakistan/story-e6frg13c-1226499216193 (http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/breaking-news/humane-cull-for-aust-sheep-in-pakistan/story-e6frg13c-1226499216193)