At Big Brother Watch we're used to monitoring Government intrusion into the lives of people. But try this for size.
In June this year, a remarkable debate took place in the House of Lords.
Despite the fact that we have managed to track animals in this country since time immemorial, and despite the fact that any sign of foot and mouth results in the destruction of the whole flock, Britain's farmers are going to be forced to tag individual sheep by means of electronic implant - a very expensive procedure compulsorily pushed on an industry that is already on its knees, with the Government's own figures showing that the suicide rate amongst farmers is tragically high.
the introduction of electronic identification is an EU obligation, which must be implemented
To recap - stupid measure, required by EU. So far, I accept, so unextraordinary. BUT... honesty is clearly more common in the Lords than in the Commons, for Lord Tunnicliffe, the Minister supporting the regulation, stated
I accept that this regulation is probably, on balance, not a good idea. It will create more costs than benefits in most of the industry.... This is part of being in the club called the European Union, of which I am proud to be a member citizen.
Well, if that's the case, Lord Tunnicliffe, given that this is a result of bureaucratic absurdity rather than any business requirement, perhaps the bureaucracy can pay for it, or at least part of it? Oh, no...
My Lords, it is absolutely clear, I am afraid, that the industry and the individuals in the industry will pay.
This is a classic example of the worst excesses of Eurobureaucracy. It is entirely unnecessary, it is positively harmful and when questioned the answer from the proponents is "that's the way it shall be, because the EU says so, so there."
Oh, and to cap it all off, and I accept that there's something rather disarming about this frankness, in the face of opposition from people with some real expertise in the area, the Minister went on to say...
My Lords, it would be wrong of me to pretend that I had any knowledge of this subject 12 hours ago.
I raise it because at 3pm tomorrow the issue returns to the Lords. All any objective observer can say is... Godspeed Lord Vinson & Co.
Related post: In defence of modern farming