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Lab tests confirm Aust sheep in Pakistan disease-free


Australian sheep exported to Pakistan by Wellard have been declared healthy and disease free by The Pirbright Institute, one of the world’s foremost research institutes into infectious diseases in farm animals.

Wellard Rural Exports released a media statement confirming the results over the weekend.

It said that blood samples drawn from the sheep by an independent committee appointed by the Sindh High Court in Pakistan, and tested at the world-renowned Pirbright Institute reference laboratory in England, proved the sheep were free of infectious diseases and posed no threat to human or animal health in Pakistan.

In his report, Dr Jef Hammond, the Pirbright Institute’s Head of Vesicular Disease Reference Laboratories stated:

(The samples) have tested negative for the presence of antibodies to Bluetongue, PPR Virus and FMD virus.

The interpretation of these results is that because no antibodies to these disease agents were found then the sheep were not infected with these diseases and there is no reason to exclude them from being processed for human consumption on these grounds subject to the usual meat inspection processes.

Wellard Managing Director Mauro Balzarini said the judgment was further and final endorsement of the health of the sheep.

“From the outset, Wellard, PK Livestock and the Australian Government have claimed the sheep to be healthy and fit for human consumption,” Mr Balzarini said.

“The Pirbright report, which was requested by the Sindh High Court, validates our belief and our efforts. We refused to accept the culling process forced by the Sindh Livestock Department and have done everything in our power to ensure their welfare was protected after we were forcibly removed from caring for them.”

The Sindh High Court is considering the Pirbright report and has yet to make a decision on an application by PK Livestock and Wellard to overturn the original cull order issued and enforced by the Sindh Livestock Department. The court will reconvene next Wednesday.

The sheep remain in the care of PK Livestock and Wellard pending the Sindh High Court decision.


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