Pakistan Allows Import of Live Animals Aug. 1, 2014
On July 4, 2014, the Government of Pakistan approved a proposal to lift the ban on the import of live animals from countries which have been declared as negligible risk by World Animal Health Organization (OIE). This means that US live cattle can now be exported to Pakistan once all technical procedures are completed including 1) A formal notification by the Government of Pakistan in its Official Gazette which is expected later this month, and 2) establishment of a health protocol. A protocol is expected to be completed in time to allow import of U.S. dairy cattle this fall, once the weather turns cooler.
The decision of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet is reproduced below:
“The ECC on a summary of Ministry of Commerce approved lifting of ban on import of live animals from countries, which have been declared as negligible risk by World Animal Health Organization (OIE), excluding Israel. However, the ban on import of feeds containing meat, bone meal and greaves etc. derives from BSE infected animals, commonly known as mad cow disease, shall continue. It was also decided that animals from only such herds shall be allowed for import where there has been no reported case of BSE for the last eleven years, duly certified by the veterinary authority of the exporting country. It may be mentioned that in June 2001, a ban was imposed for import of live animals; meat etc. from BSE infected countries. In May 2013, OIE updated the risk status and allowed import of live animals and other products from negligible risk status of 25 countries”.
While other sectors of the Pakistani economy have been in decline, dairy farming has been in ascendency. Today, Pakistan has a herd size of more than 65 million animals (cattle and buffaloes), which is the third largest herd size in the world. Over 35 million people are involved in dairy farming, which means the average animal holding size per farm is less than three, leading to a highly fragmented industry. In addition, the productivity of the small farmer’s cattle at four to five liters of milk per day is abysmally low when compared with 30 to 40 liters per day from an animal in the developed world.
During the last eight years Pakistan has seen a shift towards commercial and corporate farming and several hundred new dairy farms opened during this period. The majority of these farms imported Holstein cows from Australia, but Pakistani livestock importers have been urging the government to allow importation of dairy cattle from United States. This decision by the government of Pakistan to allow imports from negligible risk countries is expected to lead to imports of large number of dairy animals from United States, in the coming years. According to trade sources Pakistan can import around 10,000 dairy animals, mostly Holstein Heifers during first year of the import