PRESS RELEASE: Pakistan sheep debacle demands investigation

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PRESS RELEASE: By ANIMALS AUSTRALIA On SEP 18, 2012

Animals Australia is demanding a full government investigation into the supply of 21,000 sheep to Pakistan, amid local media reports that some sheep have been on-sold in breach of live export regulations and the remainder will be ‘culled’.

“This is an absolute debacle. Pakistan was a fast-tracked ‘solution’ for an exporter desperate to avoid a PR disaster when this shipment of sheep was rejected by Bahrain,” said Animals Australia Campaign Director Lyn White.

“Not only are we hearing reports of sheep being sold outside of the approved supply chain, but that there is a mass cull underway. This is an absolute disaster in animal welfare terms and the Australian community will rightfully be outraged once again.

“We have enormous concerns that these sheep will be subjected to cruel treatment. To suggest that Australian sheep that are considered diseased and have no commercial value will be slaughtered humanely en mass is nonsense.”

That DAFF assisted the exporter, Wellard, to facilitate this ‘solution’ in Pakistan - knowing that Pakistan had no track record with importing Australian sheep – makes this situation even more concerning. If reports coming from Pakistan are accurate, it is clear they are not complying with regulatory requirements.

Animals Australia said exporters need to wake up to the fact that they can no longer hide their welfare disasters in other countries.

“It is understandable that the Pakistani media raised questions as to why their country would import sheep that had been rejected by another for disease concerns. It is highly likely that ordering this cull is the government’s response to those fears - regardless of the real health status of these sheep.”

Aerial photos of the feedlot holding Australian sheep were featured online in the Pakistani media yesterday.

“We were shocked that this holding facility was approved by the Australian government. These 21,000 sheep are crammed together so tightly in this feedlot that their ability to lie down, or access food and water is severely limited.

“What these Australian sheep have been forced to endure as a result of the system completely failing them is inexcusable. Nearly a month after being rejected by Bahrain and spending additional weeks at sea in high temperatures – they are being cruelly slaughtered and their bodies reportedly dumped in pits in Pakistan.”

“Enough is enough. The Australian community is overwhelmingly disgusted by this trade. These sheep could have been sold to local markets in Australia for considerable profit. There is no excuse whatsoever to continue to put animals at such unacceptable risk when we have no control whatsoever over their eventual fate.”

Media contact: Lisa Chalk 0488 006 478 / 03 9329 6333

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