23 October 1998
Farmers Ferry to meet to MAFF over inspection refusal

FARMERS FERRY representatives were today (Friday) preparing to meet Ministry of Agriculture (MAFF) officials over the firms refusal to let a veterinary inspector on to their ship earlier this week.

On Wednesday night, the captain of the Dunkirk-bound Cap Afrique – the Farmers Ferry ship – refused to allow a MAFF inspector on board for the trip.

The inspector had asked to view the ship after a forecast of bad weather in the English Channel. The Cap Afrique was carrying 12 lorry-loads of sheep.

Junior farm minister Elliot Morley said on Thursday that the attitude of those operating the Farmers Ferry was irresponsible: “I find the lack of cooperation from the operators of the Farmers Ferry extraordinary and deplorable, especially in view of the ferry operators professed adherence to high animal welfare standards,” he said.

However, Farmers Ferry chairman Terry Bayliss argued yesterday that the weather no longer warranted the inspectors presence by the time the ship sailed: “Force 8 gale conditions had subsided to force 4 or 5 … we did not consider the vets presence necessary.”