Australian sheep: importer withdraws petition against culling of sheep
October 19, 2012: In another dramatic move, the importer of Australian sheep, who had moved the court against the culling of controversial animals, withdrew his petition on Thursday. Soon after the fresh development, the culling of sheep may again start, as the court’s stay on the process become ineffective.
The Sindh High Court, on the request of the petitioner, discharged the case against the culling of Australian sheep on Thursday. During the hearing on Thursday, the petitioner’ counsel Tariq Butt informed the court that his client wanted to withdraw the petition unconditionally and hence the case should be discharged. “We are yet to receive a written order of the honourable court,” said Syed Abid Ali Shah, Secretary Livestock and Fisheries department Government of Sindh, adding that “the culling of these sheep may start again after the fresh development.”
“We would fir see the order, then decide about the fate of these sheep,” he told Business Recorder. According to him, not only the health of these sheep was an issue but the importer had also violated a number of government rules while importing the animals. “We will not compromise on the issues related to animals’ health as arrival of new diseases in the province may create a serious threat to local animals and even human beings,” he added.
However, till filing of the story, the concerned authorities had not clarified the position of these sheep after the matter is no more judicial issue. Official of the sheep importing company were not available for comment on the issue. However, sources claimed that an out of court settlement of the issue might also be a reason behind Thursday’s development.
The development came after the report of the Pakistan ambassador to Bahrain regarding rejection of the Australian sheep by the foreign country was submitted in SHC. According to the report, the sheep were rejected by the Bahrain government for being infected by diseases. The government of Bahrain through the ambassador’s letter has confirmed that the consignment of the Australian sheep was rejected by the kingdom as the livestock was infected with Orf disease.
Earlier on Wednesday night, an anti encroachment/illegal construction team had also moved to the slaughter house of PK Live Stock and Meat Company, which according to sources, has been constructed in violation of rules of Karachi Building Control Authority. It is worth mentioning here that on Wednesday, the Sindh government filed a statement on behalf of Pakistani embassy in Bahrain in SHC, which stated that the sheep when found infected by foreign veterinary experts were diverted to Pakistan.
Besides, the provincial government’s counsel, Anwar Mansoor Khan, had also filed the affidavit of Dr Nazeer Kalhoro, a director of the Sindh Poultry Vaccine Center, stating that the samples obtained from five dead sheep, found hidden at the farm of the importer, confirmed the presence of anthrax.
According to Kalhoro, the method adopted for testing the animals for anthrax was as per international guidelines, while the federal government’s laboratory did not follow the same process. According to him, the federal lab had only tested the wool of the sheep. Orf had never been reported in Pakistan and bringing in animals with such a disease was hazardous for livestock and humans. According to him, there was a long history of salmonella resulting in death and abortion in sheep, while E.coli was bacteria which was normal flora in the guts of both human and animals, but in some species it turn pathogenic and cause abdominal cramps and diarrhea. The Sindh government during the previous hearing had also shown its willingness to purchase the sheep from the importer to cull them, besides paying back the import duty and other taxes to the importer.