Uncommon rules

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Common rules are great but everyone should follow them. This is an extract from an FB post several weeks ago:

An example close to my heart, animal welfare. Assertion “The EU created animal welfare rules.” (infer that without the EU we would not have these rules and if we leave these rules will decay). No, it is bad reasoning and a bad argument. My view is that UK animal welfare and DEFRA (however badly criticised) are the best in the world despite the EU not because of it. The EU rules might actually be the lowest common denominator, without the EU we might have even better welfare rules. Our government, bless them, love a new rule and jump to it in very British fashion, make a new department for it and make sure it is followed and communicated to farmers and inspectors. Meanwhile, most Greek and French farmers will not know the rule exists let alone follow it. Foie gras anyone, or untagged unregistered untraceable lamb slaughtered round the back of the tavern. Ask an EU farmer what the 5 animal welfare rights are and I suspect they would just stare and blink at you like a chicken in an artificially lit barn devoid of stimulation?

Recently our vet was required to make an inspection visit to our smallholding. This was to make sure that we knew what we were doing and to check on welfare since we had not had a vet visit for a few years. They were required to do this before we could buy some medicine for the sheep, it was a free visit. The vet is always welcome here. They helped us a lot with our ‘farm welfare plan’ in the first years.

Recently I was sent a form (DERFA) which I had to sign saying I understood and complied with the animal feed storage rules. I had to say when our storage facilities would be available for inspection. And every year I have to tell DEFRA times of year when the flock can be inspected (no point them turning up if the sheep aren’t here).

All our sheep are electronically tagged with unique number and their locations are individually tracked to within 5 miles (and often less) via an online government system. We have to keep medicine records of batch numbers and individual treatments given. Whenever I transport sheep I have to carry in the vehicle the movement license and certificate which says I am qualified to transport sheep and know the rules for journeys up to 8 hours.

All of the above are good things and some are the result of EU rules but I cannot imagine any of this happening anywhere else apart from some of the north western EU countries.

However having said all that it is just a feeling, a suspicion, I don’t have any real evidence or facts to back it up maybe all the Greek farms are run exactly like ours. And I love France (spent chunks of my childhood there) and Greece (go every year and love the people), so don’t get me wrong these are not criticisms of those countries, I’m no xenophobe. I’m just trying to underline how daft the initial assertion is as an argument for staying in the EU.

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