Imported sheep pose no threat to humans: Australia
19 September, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Peter Heyward on Tuesday said he was "surprised and concerned" about the sheep cull, as the animals met Pakistan's health requirements for imported sheep and posed "no human or animal health risks".
Salmonella and actinomyces, he said, "are part of normal gut flora and are present in livestock throughout the world, and in this form pose no threat to human health". "The confusion around the delivery of the consignment of live sheep to Pakistan is unfortunate, as is the suggestion that Australia would export diseased or inferior animals that would not be consumed at home," the HC said, adding that his country was held in high standing as a world leader in animal welfare and live exports.
Heyward said the livestock delivered to Pakistan were inspected by the Australian government and assessed to meet international standards. "The animals were certified for export by the Australian government and met Pakistan's animal health requirements for imported sheep," he said.
The animal health requirements were verified with Pakistani officials before Australia issued the animal health certificate, he said.
"The welfare and animal health of the sheep was closely monitored by an accredited veterinarian onboard the vessel and no major disease issues were reported. The animals were inspected by Pakistan's veterinary health officials on arrival and were approved as meeting Pakistan requirements," Heyward said.
He said the same ship that carried the sheep to Pakistan also delivered sheep to Muscat in Oman and Doha in Qatar where they were unloaded without any complaint and were being processed. The shipment of sheep was diverted to Pakistan to ensure the welfare of the sheep - not because of any significant human or animal health risk, he added. "To the best of our knowledge, the sheep remain healthy and pose no risk for human consumption," he said.
However, Karachi's top administrator, Roshan Shaikh, said the cull of 21,268 sheep would continue, denying reports that it had been halted.