It is currently a legal requirement for livestock farmers to maintain an up to date record of all animal movements (I believe entries must be completed within 3 days of the movement or else…..!!). Also an Animal Medical Record Book must be kept. Both these must be presented for inspection by a civil servant every one to two years.

The Medical Record Book is particularly ridiculous. One must record such information as the date of administration of a medicine, the identity of the animal treated, when the latter might be sold and the name of the individual treating the animal. None of these things can be checked. None of these things matter to anyone. How does one identify the 324 sheep treated one week and the 534 treated a week later (or whatever)? Individual tag numbers – no thank you! That would take longer than the job of treating the flock in the first place.

The withdrawal period for the drug must also be entered. Obviously animals should not be sold for slaughter within the withdrawal period but if any farmer is so unscrupulous as to do so they are extremely unlikely to make a careful note of the fact in their Medical Record Book.

The date of purchase of a medicine must be entered. Does anybody give a toss on what day I might buy a can of antiseptic foot rot spray?  I think not!

Why is this idea important?

This legal requirement to maintain unnecessary records should be abolished:

1. to save tax payers the considerable amount of money that is spent funding civil servants to visit farms to examine meaningless records

2. to save the fuel used by the civil servants to drive from farm to farm (they do not organise themselves to cover several farms in the same area on the same day – they drive considerable distances each day. I know because I asked)

3. to save farmers time and the extreme annoyance involved in an inspection – it is like being a naughty child hauled up in front of a head teacher

4. because most of the information submitted for inspection cannot be checked and the rest is of no interest to anyone anyway

5. because the research findings presented in the paper ‘Farmers, Farm Workers and Work-Related Stress’ by Parry, Barnes, Lindsey & Taylor; prepared by the Policy Studies Institute for the Health and Safety Executive, 2005 clearly show that stress and high suicide levels amongst farmers are linked, primarily, to government legislation, increased bureaucracy, regulations and paperwork.

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