HC Deb 09 February 1993 vol 218 cc551-2W
Mr. Morley

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what lairage facilities are available at each ferry port to cope with ferry delays caused by adverse weather;

(2) how many officials involved with the inspection of live exports he has at Dover; and what percentage of live animal transporters have been inspected along with the relevant animal health documents since 1 January:

(3) what steps he has taken to ensure that inspection procedures at each port are carried out by licensed veterinary inspectors according to consistent guidelines;

(4) what facilities his Department has for inspecting live animal exports that use night ferries; and how many staff are on duty.

Mr. Soames

The Welfare of Animals during Transport Order 1992 places a duty on the transporter to ensure that suitable arrangements for the care of animals are made in advance of any journey and that the arrangements include plans to deal with any disruptions. In respect of sailings from British ports to ports in other member states, facilities to rest, feed and water animals exist within a reasonable distance of each ferry port in Great Britain.

In the single market, Community law does not pennit systematic checks on livestock at the Community's internal frontiers. However, it is entirely in accordance with EC law that checks take place to ensure that animals are healthy and being transported in conditions that protect their welfare. At Dover, state veterinary service (SVS) staff liaise closely with the Dover harbour board animal watch scheme staff who operate a continuous quayside cover. The SVS is also available on a 24-hour basis. For journeys to other member states local veterinary inspectors, appointed by the Government, are required to certify the health of the animals and their fitness to travel. These inspections take place either at the place of origin or where the journey commences.