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!!!