LIVE dairy cattle exported this month from Portland to Pakistan will be shipped under the strictest animal health and welfare standards, the company behind the shipments has declared.
Elders International gave the assurance in the wake of an ABC Four Corners program on Monday that showed a recent brutal cull of 21,000 live sheep in Pakistan.
The program also made reference to Elders International’s recent shipment of breeding cattle to Qatar and Pakistan.
Elders International said the shipment comprised 2085 dairy heifers and four dairy bulls bound for Pakistan and 800 dairy heifers bound for Qatar.
The cattle were high value, specially selected breeding cattle destined to enter long-standing breeding programs.
“The Pakistan incident aired on the Four Corners program is an isolated one and does not reflect normal trading conditions, particularly with regards to breeding cattle which are used by agricultural operators in destination markets to supplement and grow their existing herds,” Elders said.
The company said the shipment had been approved by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) which had sought additional stringent assurances from Elders. The livestock would be delivered only to properties with well established breeding programs and facilities.
Unprecedented levels of detail from importers, government agencies and senior officials was provided to ensure the safe passage and delivery of the livestock to their destinations, Elders said. The company said it had exported seven shipments of breeding cattle in the past three years to the Middle East and Gulf States. The shipments comprised about 9500 breeding cattle, 6200 of which went to Pakistan. Each shipment occurred safely and successfully without incident.
In other developments over the brutal culling of the sheep in Pakistan, Victorian Farmers Federation president Ian Feldtmann said the voluntary ban imposed on live sheep exports to Pakistan and Bahrain in response to the brutal cull was unlikely to have a big impact on Victorian sheep producers.
“There are other markets in the Middle East that will take up the livestock,” Mr Feldtmann said.
He said the vision of the cull, as shown in the ABC Four Corner’s program this week, was very disturbing and the treatment of the sheep could not be condoned. He said the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) had been effective until the final stage where the sheep were in Pakistan.
The circumstances in which the sheep were slaughtered were exceptional and had prompted the federal government to launch an investigation, he said.