ALLEGATIONS that Australian sheep are riddled with disease and unfit for human consumption have been slapped down again by independent tests in Pakistan.
Pakistani media reports suggest some Australian sheep contracted anthrax, but there is no clear confirmation yet. | Photographer: (7pm TV News WA)
Over the weekend allegations were levelled that the Australian sheep in a Karachi feedlot were infected with Anthrax and that a culling program had to continue.
The livestock have already been accused of having disease, including salmonella, by local authorities despite the Australian and Pakistan government's giving the animals a clean bill of health.
The importer has sought an injunction in the local court which was upheld again after independent testing found no traces of anthrax.
The injunction has not stopped sporadic culling, with some estimates saying up to 7000, of the 21,000 strong consignment had already been killed.
The court was hearing further evidence last night , with a reprieve for culling upheld since Saturday.
The sheep were unloaded earlier this month after being rejected from Bahrain for having the common disease scabby mouth.
After being declared healthy by both Pakistan and Australian officials last week the local authorities ordered that they be culled, as they were diseased and unfit for human consumption.
Local politics, competition from other importers and Bahrain-influence is speculated be the source of the allegations, which has also stymied efforts from Australian government and industry to gather accurate information.
There are serious concerns over the treatment of animals for slaughter.
"We have always insisted the sheep are healthy, disease-free and would pass any proper testing program," Wellard executive director Steve Meerwald, who is in Karachi, said yesterday.
"We will continue to seek to overturn the cull order permanently and to resume normal processing in PK Livestock's modern, accredited and World Animal Health Organization compliant abattoir."
The Australian Agriculture department officials say they are working closely with Pakistani authorities, including holding a "positive meeting" with the Pakistan High Commissioner in Canberra.
The news come as the approval for three companies to export 190,000 sheep and 400 cattle to the Middle East, which has been plagued recently by Bahrain rejecting some animals for import as well as general concerns over animal welfare.
Strict new animal welfare rules were only applied to many Middle East countries at the start of the month.
"Recent experiences with live animal exports to the Middle East has required DAFF and exporters to work together to minimise the risk of consignment being refused permission to unload," a spokesman said.
Exporters, including Wellard which will ship 65,000 sheep to Qatar, are now required to provide more detail about what they would do if a shipment is delayed or refused unloading. They must carry extra feed and water and employ more stock handlers.
Back to News Headlines