(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Qatar's only land border, the Abu Samra crossing with Saudi Arabia, is equipped with world-class equipment and facilities to ensure that all imported animals and birds are free from diseases, especially those transmittable to humans, a senior official has stated.
"The Abu Samra veterinary quarantine has got grade 2 classification by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as the best of its kind in the Middle East," said Abdulaziz Mahmoud al-Zeyarah, director of the quarantine department and committee member of Abu Samra border crossing.
"A highly sophisticated veterinary lab, a very big barn divided into several sub-barns to segregate animals, special quarantine sections for cats, dogs, and horses, an area to tame horses during quarantine and an incinerator are among the salient features," the official told local Arabic daily Arrayah in an interview published yesterday.
Animals, birds, veterinary drugs and all types of fodders are thoroughly inspected at the border crossing round-the-clock. The infected animals are put down and disposed of in the incinerator that converts the carcasses into ashes at temperatures of 1,000°C.
"Last year, the veterinary quarantines in the country received 1.293mn animals through Abu Samra, the airport and the seaport," recalled al-Zeyarah. Abu Samra border alone received 68,783 camels, 96,803 sheep, 538 goats, 1,548 cows, 399 horses, 48,912 pigeons, 445 falcons, 50 dogs and six cats.
The official asserted that Qatar is safe from any potential infection of coronavirus due to the stringent procedures especially those taken with imported camels. The imports of camels are allowed only from other GCC countries because they enforce the same standards as that of Qatar.
Dr Mamdouh Mohamed Ibrahim, an expert at the quarantines section at animal wealth department, the Ministry of Environment, told Arrayah that imports are prohibited from countries where disease such as Ebola, hay fever and bluetongue disease have been reported. Recently France, Germany and Netherlands were added to the banned list on account of the breakout of mad cow disease there.
"There is also a list of animals that cannot be imported, which include ferocious animals unless there is a prior security approval for animal zoos and circus purposes," he explained.
Water birds such as pelicans, ducks, geese and seagulls are banned as well because there is a possibility that they could harbour viral infections that cannot be instantly detected.
"These birds are put down as soon as they are brought into the country. Monkeys are also put down because they may be carrying Ebola or Sars viruses. However, if these were imported for proven scientific purposes, they are subjected to strict quarantine tests until they are allowed in. Endangered species such as turtles and tortoises are not allowed in the country," Dr Ibrahim added.