HC Deb 05 November 1976 vol 918 cc740-1W
Mr. George Rodgers

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the incident involving the death of sheep which were part of a consignment exported from Felixstowe en route for Germany; and if he will describe the steps being taken to prevent a repetition of this happening.

Mr. Strang

On 25th March 1976, 232 sheep destined for Germany were carried in a road vehicle aboard the motor vessel "Viking II" from Felixstowe to Zeebrugge. On disembarkation 40 sheep were found to be dead and a further four died shortly afterwards.

In the absence of an immediate postmortem, it has not been possible to establish the exact reason for the deaths of these animals. All sheep in this consignment had been rested, fed and watered prior to embarkation. They had also been examined by a Ministry veterinary inspector and certified as fit to be shipped. Both the road vehicle and the vessel involved had previously been inspected by Ministry veterinary officers and Marine Superintendent and had been found fit to be used for the carriage of livestock. During the last 12 months 80 consignments totalling approximately 20,000 sheep have been carried in roll-on/roll-off ferries from Felixstowe under similar conditions without any other reported ill effects.

Veterinary officers of the Ministry keep a careful watch on the conditions under which animals are transport, and study carefully any cases where deaths have occurred, with a view to taking further action where appropriate. Following the incident referred to, veterinary officers of the Ministry carried out a detailed survey of the roll-on/roll-off transport of farm animals. The results are now being studied in order to determine whether any amendment to the regulations on the transport of livestock by sea or other action is desirable.

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