How many healthy animals are being committed to the incinerators each year because of the failings of those officials who are administering the passports?Copy from Mr Purdey of an email he wrote to a farming forum April 17 2005 and the letter he wrote to the BCMS
I suddenly found that one of my bull calves has been debarred a passport on grounds that my passport application form had reached the British cattle movement service one day late. It transpires that a five day hold up in the Easter post was to blame, but still the BCMS debars my right to the passport. How many healthy animals are being committed to the incinerators each year on the basis of these petty bureaucratic breaches? It is yet another social scandal.
This whole issue is a bit ironic , since I have always stood up for the licensing system of cattle in the UK whenever I have been questioned about its merits during my lectures in Canada and America ( cattle licensing is a hot topical issue over there right now, hence their interest ). But once again, the failings seem to be the responsibility of those officials who are administering the passports.
Here is my reply letter to BCMS;
Dear Mark Edgar,
We are small scale family cattle farmers struggling to survive under very tough economic conditions , and you have debarred our legal right for a cattle passport for the bull calf UK344696100039 through no fault of our own. This unjust action will incur us in a financial loss that is equivalent to about two weeks worth of your salary.
We have conformed to the regulations as they stand, and did place the relevant passport application forms into the postal system in reasonable time in advance of the 27 day from birth deadline. However, during a telephone conversation that I had had with BCMS on 11/4/05 about this matter, Lynne Godfrey had volunteered the information that they had not received my application until five days after it had been posted - thus confirming the basis of my position. Presumably her deduction of this five day delay had been based upon the postmark date on the envelope in which you had taken delivery of my application forms. So why does your letter still demand that I supply evidence of the post date of my letter when you have clearly indicated that you are already in possession of that evidence ?
Under the data protection act , I possess a legal right to demand the return of that envelope which contained the relevant passport applications , so I can then present it to yourselves as evidence of the postage date. But I think you will agree with me that this is a pointless exercise, since you already have that evidence to hand.
I think it is unreasonable for BCMS to expect that farmers should register any letters of communication to them, since this adds additional expense , not only in the cost of the registration of the letter itself, but also in the cost of the time and fuel in driving to a post office to carry out that function . In our case, the nearest post office is 8 miles away !!
We have always filled out the passport application forms, putting them into the post box on the same day. Thus, the date that was written alongside the signature declaration on the passport application for UK344696100039 will invariably indicate the date of postage.
I do not demand that you should provide the evidence for your receipt of my application on 7/4/2005,and am therefore taking your word in good faith. In this respect, I feel that you should also be taking my word in good faith, particularly since you already hold the supportive evidence in the form of a postmark on my letter . Why is this evidence not good enough ???? What is your agenda?
Obviously, a bull calf without a passport is a hopeless situation. We cannot breed from the animal, and under the normal course of events, it would be reared and sold for beef consumption at the end of its life. Under the present situation where BCMS dictate that it is illegal to sell an unregistered animal into the foodchain, we are therefore cornered into having to pay for the knacker to kill a perfectly healthy bull calf as soon as possible; depriving the both the animal of its life and the foodchain of a nutritious meat product.
On the broader perspective, the enforced removal of a perfectly healthy calf from the food chain on petty bureaucratic grounds is a socio-economic scandal of the highest order. I spend a large part of my time doing voluntary research work in third world countries where food shortages are sometimes a very real and pressing problem. These people would be rightly appalled to learn about the manner in which the value of food is being disrespected and abused by the developed world.
So BCMS should be more socially responsible and ensure that the punishment fits the crime - perhaps a fine ?? - and not misappropriate the penalty for this supposed late application onto the world's food supplies. All because of a petty bureaucratic hiccough; in this instance committed by the Royal Mail .
If BCMS insist in maintaining their intransigent position on their refusal to grant a passport on this healthy calf, then I am left with no alternative but to launch a legal action against the department and all of the individual officers who have been personally involved in this disgraceful issue. National media will be alerted , and, I am sure that the pure pettiness of this issue, will in itself guarantee some coverage.