Pakistan accepted on Tuesday night 22,000 Australian sheep stranded at sea for two weeks after Bahrain rejected the shipment over fears the animals are sick of orf or scabby mouth disease.
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Wellards, the export firm, said the sheep started to be unloaded from the ship Ocean Drover to a government-approved supply chain which meets Australian and international animal welfare standards. However, Wellards did not disclose the identity of the new destination due to commercial confidentiality.
The exporter said the animals were inspected and cleared for import by Pakistani quarantine authorities at Port Qasim in Karachi City.
The vessel left Australia in August with 75,000 heads but had offloaded 53,000 sheep prior to its stop at Bahrain on Aug 29.
A spokesman for the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said that the scabby mouth diseases was not previously notified by Bahrain as a disease for concern, and it is a minor viral disease found in most sheep and goat flocks around the world.
A second Australian ship, Al Shywaikh owned by Emanuel Exports, with thousands more of sheep were unloaded in Kuwait on Tuesday and brought to a feedlot after the Kuwaiti officials made similar concerns about the disease.
The Australian Livestock Exporters Council pointed out that the sheep from the two vessels were inspected in Australia using updated health and welfare protocols and met Australian food safety benchmarks. The sheep were also certified for the Bahrain market.
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