Australian sheep tested and deemed healthy
October 12, 2012
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.
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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Background – Wellard Rural and Trading
Wellard is a world leader in the production and distribution of livestock and grain.
Its two largest subsidiaries are Wellard Rural Exports, Australia’s largest livestock exporter and ship owner, and Wellard Agri, a large mixed farming land owner and operator specialising in the production of grains, legumes and livestock.
Wellard Rural Exports has supplied quality dairy and beef cattle and sheep and goats to the world for more than 30 years, and its investment in the live export industry is without peer. Based in Fremantle, Western Australia, the company’s operations cover every aspect of the export chain, including feed milling, livestock aggregation, road transport, feedlot facilities throughout Australia and modern shipping.
The company’s flagship carrier, the MV Ocean Drover (formerly the MV Becrux), is a purpose-built livestock carrier capable of carrying 75,000 sheep or 18,000 cattle to major markets around the globe. She was commissioned in 2002.
Two new, technologically advanced, purpose-built vessels, the MV Ocean Swagman and the MV Ocean Outback, were launched in 2010. They offer unparalleled levels of safety for the livestock, crew and vessel, and can transport 7000 cattle, 25,000 sheep, or a combination of both.
Wellard’s abattoir, Beaufort River Meats, processes up to 2500 sheep and lambs a day, enabling Wellard to meet customer demand for both livestock and chilled meat.
Wellard Agri owns and operates eight farms covering 33,000 hectares across three agri-hubs. The two northern hubs are located at Dongara and Watheroo in Western Australia’s central midlands and one is located at Kojonup in the Great Southern region of WA.
The Dongara hub is home to The Grange, a 14,500 hectare property which is considered one of Western Australia’s blue chip farming properties.
The remaining landholding totals more than 18,000 hectares, of which 14,000 hectares is cropped to a variety of grains and legumes. The other 4000ha is devoted to sheep production, including the famous Hyfield Poll Merino stud at Kojonup. In addition, Wellard leases an additional 14,500ha for livestock and grain production.
Wellard Agri also has operations in the farm machinery sector, through management of the CLAAS Harvest Centres at Katanning, Wongan Hills and Esperance for the Landpower range of farm machinery.