Australia takes up sheep disease issue with Bahrain, Pakistan

The Australian and Bahraini governments are working on the issue of a vessel carrying 21,000 sheep were not allowed by the authorities to unload in Bahrain, an official at the regional office of Meat & livestock Australia (MLA) said.

The Bahraini authorities found traces of mouth infections among animals and decided not to allow the shipment to unload in the Kingdom.

“We are not in a position to comment as this is a trade issue that is being worked through by the commercial entities and the relevant governments,” Jamie Ferguson Regional Manager Middle East North Africa (MENA) told the 24X7 News from his offices in Dubai.

Jamie Ferguson when asked to comment whether those sheep were infected or healthy reiterated that this was a commercial issue and was being discussed by the concerned entities.

Earlier, the website of ABC News, an Australian news network, posted a story on September 5, stating that an Australian ship carrying 22,000 sheep was barred from unloading in Bahrain because there were concerns about the discovery of scabby mouth disease in some animals. Two weeks later, it added, the ship showed up at Port Qasim in Karachi for unloading.

However, the ABC News story quoted an official of Wellard Exports as saying that the company could not understand why its cargo had not been accepted in Bahrain.

The importer of the Australian sheep in Pakistan is PK Livestock and Meat.

The story took yet another turn when the same ship carrying approximately 22,000 sheep that arrived from Australia to Pakistan and the Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Peter Heyward quoted saying that the sheep were ‘entirely healthy’ and free of any disease.

Ambassador Heyward told journalists at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the Australian sheep could be consumed, as they posed no threat to human health.

“They were examined while they left the Australian port. They were inspected upon arrival at the Karachi port. Independent veterinarians also checked them on the vessel. There was no trace of any disease,” the Australian High Commissioner insisted.

Following a mystery which shrouded for 10 days on Sunday Geo TV News channel said that authorities in Pakistan have decided to destroy the entire shipment and maintained that the sheep was not healthy for human consumption.

The Ambassador of Pakistan in Bahrain Jauhar Saleem told the 24X7 News that he had informed the Pakistan Foreign Office that the sheep were infected as per the official position of Bahraini authorities.

Despite the health concerns the same shipment dispatched to Port Qassim in Karachi Pakistan and was unloaded 21,000 sheep on September 5, 2012 as a result of new brokered deal.

Who brokered the deal to send the ship carrying ‘infected sheep’ to Pakistan is remained a mystery. The Pakistan’s Ambassador said the deal was perhaps brokered in the sea and not in Bahrain.

The sheep were sent by an Australian company called Wellard Exports.

PK Livestock and Meat Managing Director Tariq Mehmood Butt while confirming the import of 21,000 Australian sheep said that the sheep were good and healthy.

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