SHC orders provisional testing of sheep
KARACHI, Sept 22: The Sindh High Court on Saturday ordered provisional testing by veterinary and microbiological experts of nearly 20,000 sheep imported from Australia.
A division bench, headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar, also ordered that the culling of the sheep be stopped till Sept 24 if no signs of deadly anthrax were found in the herd.
The order came following lengthy arguments by veterinary experts of the Sindh government, commissioner of the animal
husbandry, the ministry of food security and research, as well as independent experts from the Dow University of Health Sciences.
In his petition filed in the high court, Tariq Mehmood Butt had sought a restraining order against the culling by the Karachi municipal administration of his recently imported 21,000 sheep.
On Saturday, the Sindh secretary for livestock and other experts opposed the petitioner’s plea for staying the culling of the
‘infected’ sheep, claiming that the animals were infected with the deadly disease of anthrax, among other diseases, that could widely spread to livestock as well as human beings.
Prof Rafiq Khanani of the DUHS informed the court that anthrax was ‘not much deadly disease’, as it only spread from animals to animal and human to human only through close physical contact. He argued that there was no potential risk of spread of the disease.
Animal Husbandry Commissioner Dr Khursheed Ahmed said the disease ‘was not much deadly’, but it could be transmitted through mosquitoes or flies.
Prof Khanani then offered to conduct provisional test of the sheep that would take hardly four hours to determine whether the animals were suffering from the disease or not.
The SHC division bench ordered provisional testing by government as well as independent veterinary and microbiological experts of the sheep immediately (on Saturday). It also ordered the experts’ team to submit its report on Sept 24 at 8:30am when the case would be taken up.
The court ordered that the culling of the animals should immediately be stopped till the next date of hearing if no sheep was found infected with anthrax.—PPI