§ 31. Mr. Chapman
asked the Minister of Agriculture how many veterinary officials at Fishguard have had experience in the examination of horses as well as cattle; and what method and period of testing and examination for disease is used on horses and donkeys imported through this port from Ireland.
One full-time veterinary officer is employed by my Department on the examination of animals landed at Fishguard; when necessary he is assisted by two local veterinary surgeons. All three are experienced in the examination of horses. Horses and donkeys imported from Ireland are individually inspected in daylight, while standing and moving, to determine whether they are in a fit condition to travel.
§ Mr. Chapman
In view of the widespread public alarm about the kind of horse traffic coming through Fishguard, will the right hon. Gentleman try to employ a specially qualified veterinary inspector—one experienced in horses—at this port, which is the worst one of the lot?
All three veterinary inspectors there, the one full-time and the other two part-time, are experienced in horses.
§ 32. Mr. Chapman
asked the Minister of Agriculture what request has been made by his veterinary officials to the British Transport Commission authorities at Fishguard regarding the withdrawal of facilities for surprise visits by investigators of the Horses and Ponies Protection Association to the lairage at this port.
None, Sir. I understand that there is an arrangement at Fishguard for an investigator of the Association to be admitted to the landing place and given reasonable facilities to examine horses, provided the identity of the caller is disclosed at the main entrance.
§ Mr. Chapman
Will the Minister assure the House that he will not in any way bar surprise visits to any of these ports where there has been all this trouble, so that this trade can continually be checked?
Our wish is that an investigator shall have access in all reasonable conditions, but I think it is reasonable to insist that a caller should come through the main entrance and should announce his or her business.