May 29, 2004


They can have my gum when they’ve prised it from my cold dead teeth! Doug Payton reports that Singapore has relaxed its punitive gum control laws -- but only for registered chewers.

In other gnawing regulation news, British butchers face fines if they give bones away to dog owners:

They are being sent letters telling them that a new European directive bans the traditional practice.

In future, Britain's 10,000 butchers will have to pay for the bones to be incinerated rather than hand them free to customers for their pets.

Thank you, EU.

Posted by Tim Blair at May 29, 2004 02:58 AM

Any rational? Or are they just trying to get stupid
first, before everybody else. :-p

Posted by: Mike H. at May 29, 2004 at 03:02 AM

Out-ra-geous. First those butchers have to deal with the metric system and now this.

Posted by: Karol at May 29, 2004 at 03:33 AM

These stories are so much more fun if you don't read the details.

According to The Times:

There was consternation at Defra [Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs]. A spokeswoman suggested that the council had “over-interpreted” the regulations but added: “If something is sold for consumption by a pet, then it clearly isn’t waste.”

And The Telegraph:

The National Federation of Meat and Food Traders said it considered a dog bone "has a use" and therefore it would not be waste.

And the Welsh Daily Post:

A National Assembly spokeswoman said: "Butchers can supply bones over the counter as pet food to individuals.

This rule will not stop butchers giving pet owners a bone. It will stop mass dumping of meat waste.

Posted by: Robert at May 29, 2004 at 03:35 AM

here's a detail i read:

A spokesman said: "Customers can take bones away with them when they buy the deboned meat if it is for human consumption.

"But if the bone is waste or for pet food then it's a byproduct - and cannot be passed to the public."

seems clear enough

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at May 29, 2004 at 04:06 AM

First of all, who flipping cares what happens to the bones? The butcher saves some money by reduced waste disposal, the dogs get a treat, and the owners gets a pleasure by making their dog happy. The bone is masticated, Fido's teeth are stronger, and no one is hurt. Net impact = positive.

Second, this is not a "hazardous waste" issue, which is why the bones would have to be incinerated. Medical waste, yes. Butcher leftovers? Please! Someone probably has a hammerlock on the hazardous waste stream industry, and wanted a bigger piece of the action.

Third, the only solid reason I might accept for this action if the landfills and other garbage disposal means are overwhelmed by bones. If that is the case, is there the EU equivalent of the Elephant Graveyard? Piles of bones littering the landscape, despoiling the environment? I'd be more concerned about plastic bottles.

So, who cares about this issue? Some bureaucrat who needs to pump up his budget by forcing more regulations and fees on merchants and consumers, that's who. Clearly, some people disagree. But looking from the outside, the EU is going to win this one as well.

Sorry, Fido. Big Brother won't let you have a bone.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 29, 2004 at 05:38 AM

"But if the bone is waste or for pet food then it's a byproduct - and cannot be passed to the public."

The sophisticated sophistic Euros. How could the Brits stand them?

Posted by: ic at May 29, 2004 at 05:41 AM

So if I sing ...

"with a knick knack, paddy whack
give a dog a bone
this old man
came rolling home"

... am I now liable for inciting my children to commit a crime?

Posted by: ras at May 29, 2004 at 06:41 AM

Sometimes I wonder what is the big deal about the ban. I am from Singapore. The law only prohibits the sale, manufacture and distribution of the gum. Just buy it across the border from Malaysia. You can still chew it, that is legal, just don't litter.

Posted by: Yibin at May 29, 2004 at 07:25 AM

Just when you think it isn't possible for the UNELECTED EU bureaucrats to get any loonier....

Posted by: Barbara Skolaut at May 29, 2004 at 08:40 AM

You simply do not understand.

The waste bones cause Mad Dog Disease.

This has been proven by statistical analsys with a risk ratio of 1.00001 and a cluster of 1.

Posted by: Uncle Bill at May 29, 2004 at 09:01 AM

"Only mad dogs and EU bureaucrats go out in the noonday sun."

(Slightly revised for modern geopolitical boundaries)

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 29, 2004 at 09:33 AM

You think that bit of state lunacy is bad, how about the state of Minnesota fining gas stations for charging TOO LOW of a price for gas.

Minn. Cracks Down on Underpriced Gasoline

And just in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

Posted by: David Crawford at May 29, 2004 at 12:01 PM

You ain't seen nothing yet.

The linked article contains the words that, when spoken by a bureaucrat, turns the bones to water: "This is a first step in the right direction."

When Europe falls to fascism this time, it won't be tanks, jackboots, and concentration camps that bring it down. It will be little balding socialists with clipboards.

Posted by: tbrosz at May 29, 2004 at 01:19 PM

Let me get this straight. The butchers get boned, the taxpayers get boned. And the hound gets boned because he'll no longer get bones.

Achtung, baby.

Posted by: Carl H. at May 29, 2004 at 02:47 PM

The linked article contains the words that, when spoken by a bureaucrat, turns the bones to water: "This is a first step in the right direction."

It's no doubt pleasing to you, then, that the words were not spoken by a bureaucrat, but by a lobbyist.

Posted by: Robert at May 29, 2004 at 03:05 PM

We Aussies needn't feel superior. In my city the council has whacked a ban on charities having sausage sizzles -- barbecues -- on city streets. Its because they don't comply with their draconian regulations for food handling. These regs -- ostensibly brought in because a few stupidoes got food poisoning from hot pork rolls bought in Little Saigon -- mean mothers clubs can no longer have cake stalls, or kids set up lemonade stalls or footy clubs sell homemade sandwiches to spectators. The only beneficiaries are the swelling bureaucracies and the big food corporations. Where else in history did such tidy arrangements between bullying regulators and mega-corps take place? And where are all the "diversity" boosters when important cultural customs are getting regulated out of existence? That them lining up for their funds and favours from councils and governments?

Posted by: slatts at May 29, 2004 at 04:02 PM

Barking mad.

Posted by: ilibcc at May 29, 2004 at 07:13 PM

"It's no doubt pleasing to you, then, that the words were not spoken by a bureaucrat, but by a lobbyist."

That's the tiniest nit I've ever seen picked.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 30, 2004 at 03:21 AM

Incinerating the bones does nothing to prevent Mad Cow. That's the whole *point* about Mad Cow; nothing has been found to nuetralize the causitve agent. If all you had to do was cook your burgers to 180 degrees (F) the desease would not be as frightening as it is. Some of the cows in Britain got it from eating *steamed* bone meal - very well cooked indeed.

Posted by: Meezer at May 30, 2004 at 09:43 AM

"Soup bones, penny a pound."

Problem solved!

Come the revolution, third against the wall (after the Marketing Division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation and the lawyers) will be the bureaucrats. All except the one we need to tick off the list. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA... (flings cape around face and exits stage left)

Posted by: Paul Johnson at May 31, 2004 at 01:59 PM

In re Singaporean gum, wasn't the ban originally because subway riders found they could block the sensors and everyone rode free until a maintenance worker spotted and removed the gum?

Similarly (this may be Hong Kong), it is against the law to smoke while walking, but OK if you are standing on the sidewalk: because you are presumably not paying attention if you are walking, and your cigarette may burn other's clothing or even land in a child's eyes.

Posted by: John Anderson at June 2, 2004 at 05:20 AM