Australian sheep declared disease free

KARACHI: A British laboratory has declared the Australian sheep imported to Pakistan as healthy and disease free, said a statement on Friday.

The Pirbright Institute, one of the world’s foremost research institutes for infectious in farm animals stated: “(The samples) have tested negative for the presence of antibodies to Bluetongue, PPR Virus and FMD virus.”

About 102 blood samples drawn from the sheep by an independent committee appointed by Sindh High Court and tested at the world-renowned Pirbright Institute reference laboratory inEngland, proved the sheep were free of infectious disease and posed no threat to human or animal health inPakistan.

The sheep were imported by a Pakistani trade early last month fromAustraliaafterBahrainauthorities had refused to offload the consignments arguing presence of infection.

After hype created by the media that the sheep were infected, the under pressure authorities started culling the livestock. However, the issue moved to the court as the exporter Wellard company emphasized for health test and prayed for stop of culling immediately.

“The Pirbright report, which was requested by the Sindh High Court, validates our belief and our efforts,” said a statement issued by M/s. Wellard. “We refused to accept the culling process forced by the Sindh Livestock Department and abandon the sheep, and have done everything in our power to ensure their welfare was protected after we were forcibly removed from caring for them,” it added.

The report of British lab has been submitted to Sindh High Court.

The report also exposed the weaknesses in Customs as after media reports the Customs instead of defending its stance for clearing the consignment it initiated action against officials involved in clearing process.

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