London lab issues clean bill of health: National Assembly panel briefed on Australian sheep case
October 11, 2012: While many questions regarding the health of Australian sheep, their importing procedure, number of missing animals and testing process in the country remained unanswered, London lab, on Wednesday, reportedly cleared the sheep’s health.
The foreign lab, which was forwarded the samples of the sheep for test, has cleared it saying that the animals were fit for human consumption posing serious questions on some Pakistani labs which earlier reported dangerous disease in the imported sheep.
Sindh High Court had referred the case to the foreign lab after receiving controversial reports from federal and provincial laboratories regarding the health of these animals recently.
Dr Nazeer Hussain Kalhoro, a veterinary expert and one of the members of medical board set up by the court expressed reservations over the way the samples were collected from the sheep and forwarded to the foreign lab. The medical team headed by Professor Rafeeq Ahmed Khanani from Dow Medical University would be submitting it to the court, sources told Business Recorder.
On the other hand, Khursheed of Animal Husbandry Commission with other concerned official of Quarantine department has also briefed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research on Wednesday. The committee was given detailed briefing about the fresh laboratory report received from London lab, sources claimed. A detailed report about the sample forwarded by Pakistan has also been sent to the court by the foreign lab, they added.
Following the new development, the importer and petitioner of the case in the court has also filed another petition in the court to make early hearing of the case which according to the importer has been fixed on October 12, 2012. “I am still confident about the health status of imported sheep,” said Tariq Butt Managing Director of PK Live Stock and Meet Company, in a statement.
Talking about the report received by the government authorities, Kalhoro, said that he was unaware of the development as no one from the team and government official informed him about the report so far. It is worth mentioning here that, in compliance of the court orders members of an Inquiry Committee had held a meeting on September 29, 2012 to finalise the modalities of sampling and dispatching to the Institute of Animal Health, World Reference Laboratory, Pirbright, Surey, UK. The board members agreed to send the email along with relevant passages of court orders to get the input, modalities and protocol required for the exercise from the laboratory.
The Board members, as claimed by findings of committee constituted by Ministry of National Food Security and Research, on September 30, 2012 had collected blood samples and processed overnight. The processed samples were packed as per guidelines of the laboratory and after completing all the formalities the same were sent to Institute of Animal Health, World Reference Laboratory, Pirbright, Surey, UK through Emirates Airlines on October 01, 2012.