KARACHI: After claiming to have found no traces of bacterium, Bacillus Anthracis, the board of experts formed by Sindh High Court (SHC) has formally lodged a request to halt the culling of imported Australian sheep, Geo News reported.
Earlier this week, the SHC had ordered the constitution of a board of experts to ascertain whether the imported Australian sheep were infected with disease.
Professor Rafiq Khanani of Dow University of Health Sciences is leading the board of veterinarians and microbiologists representing all the respondents.
The board has recommended a halt in the culling of the sheep, which are said to be infected with the highly contagious OFR disease as well.
It said it was making the recommendation based on its initial findings and would present a formal report before the SHC on Monday.
It suggested that the culling be stopped till Monday when it would present its report to the court.
A board member, requesting anonymity, said that it would be premature to pass a judgement before the arrival of fresh diagnostic results.
Earlier on Saturday, Sindh High Court ordered provisional testing by veterinary and microbiological experts of nearly 20,000 sheep imported from Australia.
A division bench, headed by Justice Maqbool Baqir, also ordered that the culling of sheep be stopped till September 24, 2012, if no signs of deadly anthrax disease were found in the herd.
This order came after lengthy arguments advanced by veterinary experts of Sindh government, Commissioner Animal Husbandry of Ministry of Food Security and Research as well as independent experts from the Dow University of Health & Sciences.
Petitioner, Tariq Mehmood Butt, had approached SHC to seek restraining order against culling by Karachi municipal administration of his 21,000 sheep recently imported from Australia.
During the hearing, Secretary Livestock Sindh and other experts vehemently opposed petitioner’s plea for staying culling of the infected sheep, submitting that the animals are infected with deadly disease of anthrax, among other diseases, that could widely spread to livestock as well as human beings.
Professor Rafiq Khanani informed 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 there was no potential risk of spread of the disease.
Dr. Khursheed Ahmed, Animal Husbandry Commissioner of Ministry of Food Security & Research submitted the disease was not much deadly, but could be transmitted through mosquitoes or flies.
Professor Rafiq Khanani voluntarily offered to conduct provisional test of infected sheep that would take hardly four hours to determine whether animals were suffering from the disease or not.
SHC division bench ordered provisional testing by government and independent veterinary and microbiological experts of the sheep immediately (on Saturday). It also ordered the experts team to submit its report on September 24, 2012 when case will be taken up at 8:30AM.
Meanwhile, the court ordered, if no sheep was found infected with the anthrax disease, the culling of animals should immediately be stopped till next date of hearing.