Update on status of Australian sheep being held in Pakistan feedlot

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 2nd October 2012

The Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and the Australian High Commission in Pakistan continue to be actively involved in assisting to resolve issues related to the large consignment of sheep being held in a feedlot in Karachi.

The High Court of Sindh in Pakistan adjourned on 28 September 2012, delaying its decision on an application by the Pakistan importer, PK Livestock, to overturn a cull order from the Sindh Livestock Department.  The delay is to allow for further testing and diagnostic analysis to be undertaken by an independent international laboratory to confirm their disease free status.

The court further ordered that PK Livestock continue to have full and unhindered access to the sheep to continue adequate care, including the supply of feed, water and veterinary medicines. This will be undertaken with assistance from the Australian exporter, Wellard Rural Exports.

The culling of Australian livestock in Pakistan was formally suspended on Saturday, 22 September, after the importer successfully applied for a court order to prevent the cull from continuing. DAFF is aware of, and is looking into, the adverse reports regarding culling practices in Pakistan.

Representatives from the exporter, Wellard Rural Exports, continue to conduct regular inspections of the sheep currently being held in Pakistan that have been exported under the new Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS). They report that the sheep are in good condition, have access to feed and fresh water and display no signs of disease.

It is the responsibility of Australian livestock exporters to ensure they meet the requirements of ESCAS. Under ESCAS, exporters must ensure that livestock will be handled in accordance with internationally accepted World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) standards up to and including the point of slaughter.

Wellard Rural Exports previously self-reported a loss of control of their supply chain in Pakistan when local Sindh authorities entered the facility and commenced culling of sheep under an order issued by the Sindh High Court. Both the importer and Wellard representatives were ordered by local authorities to leave the facility during that time.

DAFF says it will conduct a full investigation of the ESCAS non-compliance and continue to provide further information as it becomes available and can be verified through official channels.