Wellard lose control of Pakistan sheep cull

22 Oct, 2012 05:59 AM

LIVE exporting company Wellard says its battle to defend 11,500 Australian sheep from being culled in Karachi, Pakistan, has been completely “exhausted”.

Wellard issued a statement on Saturday saying the culling process had resumed, despite an out of court agreement being reached on Friday to process the sheep humanely at an Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme (ESCAS) approved facility.

Wellard expected the cull to be completed on Saturday, with the livestock authorities responsible assuring the importing company PK Livestock it would be carried out according to World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) standards.

However it was unable to verify the humane processing because Wellard and PK Livestock staff were “forcibly removed from the facility”.

“After months of battling in court and at diplomatic levels; after managing to prove that the sheep were healthy and fit for human consumption; and despite one of the biggest efforts the industry has ever mustered to defend animal welfare, Wellard and PK Livestock have been unfortunately subject to an event outside their control,” the statement said.

“Everyone in Wellard is devastated because 11,500 animals, that the entire world knows are healthy, will be culled.

“This is a first for the industry in more than 40 years of operation.

“PK Livestock has offered the use of its modern, OIE-complaint facility to the Sindh Livestock Department for the cull to assure the welfare of the animals and the safety of the operators - but it appears that its offer has not been accepted.”

Wellard said company’s exports to Pakistan would remain suspended because they could not accept placing animals into states where animal welfare outcomes failed to meet standards that the company demands.

“It is unfortunate this issue has undermined 20 years of incident-free livestock exports to Pakistan,” the statement said.

“Instead, we will continue to work with other markets where there are no risks of such events and which share our commitment to world class animal welfare standards.”

Wellard said it was grateful for assistance from the Australian Government, Wellard staff in Pakistan and PK Livestock “during what has been the most challenging and continuously changing situation we have been faced with in more than 30 years exporting livestock”.

At the weekend, the Federal Agriculture Department said it was working with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Australian High Commission in Pakistan to confirm information relating to the culling.

The cull contravened the agreement reached on Friday to hand control of the animals to representatives of Wellard for humane processing, which was reached after the Sindh High Court received test results from the Pirbright Institute reference laboratory in England confirming the sheep were fit for human consumption.

Wellard self-reported the loss of control of their supply chain in Pakistan when local Sindh authorities entered the facility and commenced culling of sheep, claiming they were diseased.

It’s understood staff members from Wellard and PK Livestock were ordered off the premises at gunpoint by Pakistani authorities at the time.

The Court ordered the cull to be stopped on September 22 while the test results were gathered.

The Agriculture Department is conducting a full investigation of non-compliance under ESCAS.

The Australian Livestock Exporters Council (ALEC) and Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA) condemned the action to cull healthy Australian sheep, contravening the negotiated agreement between the importer and the Sindh Livestock Department.

ALEC and SCA issued a joint statement saying they had hoped that the Pakistan High Court process, which determined the sheep to be healthy and fit for human consumption, would allow the sheep to be processed in OIE and ESCAS compliant facilities.

“Instead, it appears that the local authorities have ignored the legal agreement and chosen a completely unacceptable and unnecessary cull with little regard for the animal’s welfare and Pakistan High Court processes,” the statement said.

“We totally deplore this turn of events in what is an isolated incident to one particular market.

“In light of the above, we welcome exporter Wellard’s decision that no further shipments of Australian sheep will be sent to Pakistan for the foreseeable future.

“Australian and Pakistan staff of both the importer and the exporter have put their lives on the line to care and protect the sheep.

“No reasonable person could have foreseen the events which have transpired in Pakistan and these events are clearly a force majeure on the ESCAS.

“Australia remains the only country amongst over 100 livestock exporting nations that regulates the animal welfare of livestock destined for export from paddock to point of processing and industry continues to back ESCAS which is delivering substantial animal welfare improvements in traditional export markets.”

Animals Australia Campaign Director Lyn White was “horrified” the cull of 11,5000 Australian sheep had recommenced in Pakistan.

She said it again proves that once animals our outside of Australian control “there is nothing we can do to prevent horrendous treatment”.

Animals Australia said the incident had been a complete debacle from the beginning, with the animals already enduring a month at sea after Bahrain ignored their MoU obligations and refused to unload them, amid claims of scabby mouth disease.

Ms White said Pakistan was a “fast-tracked solution” so Wellard could avoid a PR disaster when the sheep were rejected by Bahrain.

She said Pakistan doesn’t have a track record importing sheep from Australia and the country wasn’t even approved to take Australian sheep when these animals left Fremantle in early August.

“Nearly half of the consignment of 21,000 sheep is already dead or missing,” she said.

“Media reports from Pakistan revealed that sheep had been clubbed, stabbed and buried alive during the initial cull of the animals a few weeks ago.

“Exporters take this risk every time they export live animals from Australia because we have no control over their treatment in importing countries.

“This is why Australians and animal welfare groups are appalled by this trade and will continue to demand that it ends.”

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X AG Socialist
22/10/2012 8:12:23 AM

I do wonder if the impending Australian Uranium sales to India was behind Pakistan's actions,
Mary G
22/10/2012 8:15:55 AM

So much for the "supply chain assurances" that do nothing to protect the sheep. It was always simply a smoke-screen to food the concerned public. The sheep are not welcome in Pakistan, and the whole live export industry is fraudulent in its claims that it is promoting "animal welfare", and has control over the animals. Once animals are sent overseas, they are taken over by the source countries, and are treated and killed inhumanely. There can be no justification for continuing the trade.
22/10/2012 8:59:52 AM

I truly would like to know, who will be held accountable for this atrocity ??? The rest of the world watched this abhorrent story of pure animal abuse and now we are known as the " CRUEL COUNTRY " We have sold our soul for greed.
22/10/2012 9:54:56 AM

Obviously there is a real story behind all this. Does anyone know it? Why arnt the reporters reporting the inner workings of this situation. It must come out, this can't continue. The Pakistanies are doing it for a real - retaliation / payback / to make a point? Why are they doing it?
no control industry
22/10/2012 10:11:45 AM

Wellard lost control when the ship left Fremantle 4 August 2012.
22/10/2012 11:03:05 AM

No Socialist, it is just more evidence that there is a globalist funded global war on meat producers and processors at the moment, because the turkeys over at the FAO understand the world cannot afford to have 3rd world meat eaters joining the ranks. Unfortunately that means staying the game is risky to your wealth and that is a real shame for the sustainability of our agricultural systems. We are all being herded into producing grains for human consumption.
X AG Socialist
22/10/2012 11:41:33 AM

I really must speak to Garry again Aaron you still need a bit of straighten out, PGAs right wing think tank stuff is one thing Citizens Electoral Council of Australia flights of fancy are something else entirely .
Jen from the bush
22/10/2012 12:04:52 PM

PAYBACK IS PAYBACK - can't have payback if you let half of them be slaughtered humanly. Suggest all you do gooders have a good think about going around publicly slapping Muslim nations. Next suggestion is you start praying that is all they are going to do. Surely you have half a brain left to think about what else they can do and in case you haven't here is some - FMD Rabies a bomb or 2 You get the idea or are you completely braindead
Get Real
22/10/2012 12:56:44 PM

Disgusting! How do the people at Wellard sleep at night?
22/10/2012 12:57:10 PM

Local farmers don't want cheap Australian sheep in their market.Just like Australian unions don't cheap foreign workers in thier market.It's that simple!
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