Australian firm demands end to sheep culling
24 September, 2012
KARACHI: Managing Director (MD), Wellard Livestock Exports Company, Stephen Merwald, who had exported sheep to a local importer of Pakistan, said on Wednesday that Wellard is a highly credible Australian-based company known for exporting healthy animals, so the culling of thousands of sheep should be stopped immediately.
Addressing a press conference along with First Secretary of Australian High Commission on Economic and Political Affairs and animal expert, Dr Ulrich Wernery, at a local hotel in Karach recently, Merwald said that a credible independent inspection of the animals was undertaken by international experts to ascertain whether the animals were fit for human consumption after speculations in the media and other circles.
"The reports threaten to damage Australian livestock sector and are equally dangerous for Pakistani meat export that earns millions of dollars for the country."
Merwald said that he was optimistic about the results of independent investigations in the matter. He said that the issue shall be resolved on immediate basis as it was sending a very negative message to business community around the world, besides casting inverse affect on the meat exports from Pakistan.
Merwald said that the shipment of livestock was regulated by Australian government to ensure that every animal exported complied with Australia's strict animal welfare and health standards as well as those of the importing country.
Wellard has exported 30 million animals world over in last 32 years and it has been exporting from North and South America, New Zealand and Europe. It has business relations with Pakistan since 1996, he claimed.
He said that Australian companies have to comply with a very strict set of regulations before leaving Australian port for any international destination. "And in this consignment, we met all the conditions agreed between Pakistan and Australia for livestock trade," he added.
Replying to a query about the sheep export voyage, he said that vessel ocean drover was loaded in Australia on t4th August 2012 with a cargo of 75,000 sheep and 72 cattle heads. Vessel moved to Muscat, Oman where it discharged 7,000 sheep before departing to Doha, Qatar where it discharged 46,000 sheep and the cattle. The vessel proceeded to Bahrain where during the veterinary inspection a small number of animals were found to have minor lesions of a common viral infection known as Scabby mouth. Scabby mouth is found in every country that runs commercial livestock flocks and herds, including Bahrain and Pakistan, Merwald concluded.