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Australian High Commissioner “surprised” over Pakistan sheep cull

Published Sep 18, 2012 02:31pm


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A large number of Australian sheep seen at PK Livestock and Meat Company Warehouse in Razzaqabad, Karachi on Saturday, September 15, 2012. — Photo by PPI

KARACHI: Australia’s High Commissioner to Pakistan, Peter Heyward, said on Tuesday he was “surprised and concerned” about a cull of imported Australian sheep over disease fears, despite assurances from Australian diplomats that the animals are safe for human consumption

Heyward claimed the animals met Pakistan’s health requirements for imported sheep and they posed “no human or animal health risks”.

Pakistan ordered the cull on Sunday after the sheep, which had been turned away from Bahrain, tested positive for the salmonella and actinomyces bacteria, officials said.

Salmonella and actinomyces, said Heyward, “are part of normal gut flora and are present in livestock throughout the world, and in this form pose no threat to human health”.

But Karachi’s top administrator, Roshan Shaikh, said the cull of 21,268 sheep would continue, denying reports it had been halted.

“There is no suspension in the process, as the bacterial presence in the animal is confirmed and we can’t put human life in danger in Pakistan,” he said.

Five years ago, Pakistan culled thousands of chickens after they were found to be infected with the H5N1 “birdflu” virus.

Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, veterinary chief of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, who is supervising the cull, said orders to dispose of the sheep had come “from the top”.

“We are busy in culling the infected sheep with no respite barring a few hours in nighttime when the area experiences power outages,” he said.


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Comments (15) Closed

obs Sep 18, 2012 03:35pm
Tragic and strange. In this modern technology era, there is no scientific opinion in a country of 190 million people. Only in Pakistan can rumors work so well and truth is so difficult to obtain. This makes a good case of improter suing the government if what the Australian ambassador has said is true. All the loss of importer must be met by the local government (or whoever ordered the mass culling in a country of chronis mutton shortages). I am a concerned overseas Pakistani.
Abdullah Hussain Sep 18, 2012 07:00pm
First of all Mr. Heyward should very kindly explain why these animals were rejected by the authorities in Bahrain. Secondly, what he meant by claiming that the sheep met Pakistan standard, how many standards are there to safeguard humans from getting infected by the ill sheep. I think culling is the only option available to arrest the dangerous virus from spreading to humans
Farhan Azmat Sep 18, 2012 06:30pm
Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, veterinary chief of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, who is supervising the cull, said orders to dispose of the sheep had come
Talha Sep 18, 2012 03:24pm
These ships drawn in underground as soon as possible.
Nadir Sep 18, 2012 05:22pm
well they were christians
Manoj Sep 18, 2012 05:24pm
Akil Akhtar Sep 19, 2012 12:21am
Tell him to take them to Australia and feed it to his citizens, What do you think he will do...?
jamal Sep 19, 2012 01:45am
why media is not finding facts about why shipment was regetted
babur Sep 19, 2012 03:34am
I think Mr. Heyward is right. Usually these organisms are the part of the regular gut flora of animals and pose no threat to human life. Secondly the way we cook our food no organism can survive at such a high temperature.
Sajjad Sep 18, 2012 04:24pm
why dosnt Australians consume themselves if they are no danger to humans. Pathetic that these countries test their disease ridden animals on third world contries.
Saad (DXB) Sep 18, 2012 03:52pm
Salman Sep 19, 2012 11:50am
everything is possible in pakistan.They should have consulted with the health authorities to cary out proper tests and then they could decide to dispose them or use them.As health minister said orders came from above who dont even the spelling of their names. what a shame.
watandost baloch Sep 19, 2012 06:44am
Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, why don't you dare to tell who are those at the top orders to dispose of the sheep , for God sake give us the name or don't say that please. Dont make us fool in this way which is a routine in Pakistan establishment that those told us, he told me please tell the poeple the name of the particular person or party and be a gentleman. Or, I will pray from almighty god your kids should eat the same meat in the coming Eid and then u will know what is the grevience's of others when they become sick like ordinary Pakistani.
Jamshed Khan Sep 19, 2012 05:41am
Of course, Salmonella or other bacteria do not pose any threat to the health of Pakistani people. Is that what His Excellency Mr Heyward means? On the other hand consider the dishonest top and bottom of the Pakistani officials, who know what the real truth is behind this cull! The meat may just end up in the markets for sale. A note to the consmers: Please wash and cook your meat thoroughly over the next few days because you may just be eating one of the culled sheep.
farmerdr Sep 19, 2012 04:31am
A second look is warranted. Commensal bacteria in the gut of sheep do not harm humans. We never even test for them in domestic animals although if they are such a big risk all slaughter animals in Sindh should be tested.