KARACHI: The entire episode of Australian imported sheep not only resulted embarrassment for Pakistan government but also raised questions about credibility of importers and the role of media in reporting the sensitive issues.
The Australian government in a recent communication with the Pakistan government demanded a halt of culling the sheep, which were declared infected amid media reports of offloading the consignments after Bahrain rejection and without permission of port and customs authorities.
The Australian High Commission in its communication stated that Pakistan and Australia are signatory to international convention of human treatment of animals, but the seep in Karachi were being butchered in from of the other animals totally disregarded to international guidelines. “The Australian government would like Pakistan to fulfil its obligatory responsibilities,” the letter said.
The high commission presented the fitness certificates to the government of Pakistan and stated that the infection reported by the media was not dangerous for human consumption. “Scabby mouth is a minor disease not notifiable to the World Organization for Animal Health, the international body which deals with animal health matters. Nor is there any suggestion that there are risks to human health from eating animals with scabby mount,” the letter said.
It also clarified some media reports saying the sheep had disease of foot and mount, “Australia is free from foot and mouth disease.”
The letter also clarified that Bahrain had rejected the consignment on objection of some tests of livestock test, which was letter settled, however the ship carrying the sheep was moved as Bahrain port authorities refused to extend the stay at port.
The controversy began last month when a ship Ocean Drover reached at Karachi with Australian sheep imported by PK Livestock, which was rejected by Bahrain. The issue was raised by the media that without approval of port and customs authorities the ship was allowed offload at port areas, which was denied later. However, on health of livestock issue, the hype created by media compelled the government to start culling the sheep which was later stopped on court orders till final judgement.