Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Just More Useless Government Regulations

I was a bit confused this morning so when I checked the calendar before heading to the barn I figured out today's sorting wasn't for slaughter it was for the sale barn.


Here's the problem with a sale barn trip. Ear tags. I absolutely hate putting ear tags in year old lambs. It is singularly the worst experience next to actually slaughtering them myself or maybe a lambing complication I can think of.

Oh we got a rack that is suppose to hold their heads still but sheep are not very comfortable as individuals and the rack does not really keep them from shaking their heads in a rotation it just stops em from going up and down mostly. The other problem is the hand tool and the tags the state (under Federal regulation) makes you use. They are really too large for new borns and the rubber gasket thing inside the two piece tag takes some real hand power to get together. My hands are so small for a guy that sometimes I have to use both of em to get the tag to go together and....

Well sure as hell they jerk up or down and I rip an ear. I hate it. Then I am covered in blood, they are covered in blood and it's just not a pleasant experience for anybody.

My guess is it is much less pleasant for the poor lamb however.

The reason this has to be done is they say so if there is a bad disease present they can track the animal back to it's source. In sheep this is principally for scabies I believe. Now that sounds reasonable at first but the problem, as usual, comes in the complexity and scale of the whole thing.  When you actually think about how many hundreds of stock animals are transported around and jostling into each other per hour in just one lot and how often tags get ripped out in a stock yard situation the odds are high the tag will be gone soon regardless. Then you must think about the manpower needed to record all these tags in the chaos of a sale or mass herd/flock/whatever moving situation and the truth is nobody really keeps track of the numbers. Now multiply just that one sale lot by however many thousands in the country each day and you get the picture.

We won't even think about how many government jobs and pensions are attached to this paper tiger either just let your imagination follow the bureaucratic flow. Now they propose of course for the modest amount of a few million dollars per site they can put RFD chips in these tags and scanners will follow them automatically.

Ever seen how dirty a sale barn and lot get this time of year? Wanna take bets on how long sensitive electronic equipment is going to last around large livestock? Ya me neither.

Anyway the bottom line is there have been many instances of diseased animals being sold into the market and very few of them are ever traced back because of all the holes (literally) in the process. As usual however it's the producer that gets to handle all the extra work and problems for regulations that do little in the scheme of things. Now if it worked I would be all for it but simply put it really doesn't and I believe the market animals are quarantined regardless.

Now I am in a pissy mood and covered in blood. Out of 18 animals I did pretty good with only two ripped ears and only one of those that bled but he shook it everywhere including my beard. Not to mention I cut my own hand in the process so I added my blood to the mix and several of the white sheep have a bit of red on em now.

What I need is a better tool that will punch the tag more quickly.  It's the bit of hesitation right before I punch through and push the rubber gasket into the under tag that get's the reaction. Maybe there is a better way of doing it. I use metal tags that are much easier for keeping track on the farm and quicker/easier to come together but these stock tags come from the state so I have no choice, I have to use them.

A guess a bit more research is in order now. As my operation continues to grow problems that were once small become more of an issue. It isn't like I didn't see this coming it is just one of those things I was hoping in vain would be easier knowing it wouldn't.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


  1. Maybe the state expert will roll out there and show you how to do it, Be careful it might be in your ear before it is over and they will track you around.
    I can actually remember my first encounter with government regulations, way back in the 60s I went to the hardware store with my grandfather and he bought a box of 22s and they got a book out and made the old man give them his drivers license. This was all to somehow (never explained) prevent another presidential assassination I guess. A box of 22s and a 75 year old, that showed me how stupid our government was.

    1. Sf - I like it when I buy .22 ammo at walmart and they ask me if it is for a pistol. I always say "And how is that your business?"

      Government regulations are the biggest waste of time and money.

  2. I have never taken any of the goats to a sale barn so don't know if things have changed here or not. There are ag stops on the interstates that you are supposed to stop at with livestock but if they are babies and inside the Marines van "who knows"? Some friends and I were talking pigs. He bought one and brought it across the state line. That pig ended up costing a pretty penny in a fine, vet exam, vaccines, etc.

    1. MB - I know nothing about livestock transportation over state lines. Well actually my mother did buy a lamb in Iowa once but around here nobody asks many questions. Goats get more per pound than sheep do but from what I have read I disagree where the goats go to so I stick with Sheep.


Leave a comment. We like comments. Sometimes we have even been known to feed Trolls.