§ Mr. Morley
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for what reasons his officials on the quayside at Dover returned a vehicle carrying sheep to a local lairage on Friday 2 February; if a prosecution is to be brought in respect of the animals involved; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mrs. Browning
[holding answer 9 February 1996]: This consignment was returned to premises close to the port of Dover because two of the sheep had eye discharges and a more detailed inspection was required. The sheep were unloaded under official supervision and they were inspected the following morning. No serious welfare problems were revealed at this inspection, although 20 sheep had ear tags missing. After rest and a further inspection, at which three sheep were rejected as unfit to travel, the remaining animals were permitted to continue their journey from Dover on Monday 5 February 1996. These events are being considered by officials in consultation with Kent county council.