Home  >  Corporate  >  Media & Publications  >  Media Releases  >  Media Release Archive  >  2012 Media Releases  >  Wellard Pakistan Update

MEDIA RELEASE

Wellard Pakistan Update

6 November 2012

Wellard provides the following statement and information in response to issues raised on the Four Corners program which aired last night (5 November 2012).

We remain appalled at what happened to the sheep in Pakistan and we will not be exporting sheep into that market as a result of the events that occurred.

The footage of the appalling treatment of the sheep

  • Wellard exposed the cruel treatment of sheep and expressed our disgust five weeks ago (September 27) in statements to both Pakistan and Australian media. Media stories from that time are widely available on the internet.
  • The vision broadcast yesterday corroborates our previous statements.
  • We remain shocked at the events that occurred and are co-operating with a Federal Government investigation into the events in Pakistan.
  • In addition, we will discuss, assess and recommend further improvements to Australia’s regulatory regime to provide increased assurance that an event like this will not be repeated.

Disclosure of the issue in Bahrain to the Pakistan Government prior to the arrival of the sheep

  • The issue in Bahrain had become very public well before the Ocean Drover reached Pakistan, with numerous news articles published in Arabic and English media outlets in the region and in Australia.
  • The issue of disclosure of the events in Bahrain to Pakistan was not raised by Sindh Livestock Department as the trigger for its decision to the cull the animals.
  • All decisions were made with the best information available at the time and the best intentions for the welfare of the sheep. Hindsight indicates some of our decisions may have contributed to the cull, but we didn’t have the benefit of hindsight at the time.
  • The original concern in Pakistan was over scabby mouth,  and it is important to note:
    • The sheep had been declared healthy by an independent veterinary team in Bahrain and approved by quarantine authorities to unload, so it would have been providing inaccurate information to suggest the sheep were diseased
    • Scabby mouth is a virus present in every country in the world that has sheep and goat flocks
    • Scabby Mouth is not identified by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a notifiable disease;
    • Pakistan has never listed freedom from scabby mouth as a quarantine requirement, and this was reconfirmed by the Australian Government before it issued a health certificate for the sheep

That ESCAS-accreditation of the PK Livestock in Pakistan was rushed

  • The abattoir had been undergoing the ESCAS registration process since March 2012 (see email below) – well in advance of this issue – and because most of the work had been done and the infrastructure was modern, was able to be ESCAS-accredited before the sheep arrived.
  • It remains frustrating and sad for us that the sheep were culled just metres from a modern, high quality, Australian-built abattoir at PK Livestock.
  • It is important to note that ESCAS was never designed to, nor could hope to, prevent livestock from being taken away from our control by armed forces. Instead ESCAS requires Wellard to notify the Government of loss of control, which we did, and to attempt to regain control of the animals, which we did.
  • As a consequence of this issue, Pakistan has now been removed from Wellard’s ESCAS supply chain.

Conclusion

We know and understand the Australian community demands Australian animals be treated humanely and respectfully at all times whether they are in Australia or overseas. We agree.

Our company and our industry remains committed to providing an important market for Australian farmers while furthering the improvements we have already made in animal welfare throughout the world so every single sheep we export is handled and processed according to both our own and international animal welfare standards.

For further information please contact:

Cameron Morse
Phone: + 61 8 9485 8888
Mobile: +61 (0) 433 886 871
Website: www.wellard.com.au

Appendix 1: Emails confirming Wellard and PK Livestock had begun implementing ESCAS in Pakistan in March 2012 – well before the incident occurred