11 February, 2013

The LoUC

It's a delicious example of the Law of Unintended Consequences. Romania, trying to seem modern, has banned horses and donkeys from the country's roads. The animals, unusable for transport, are worthless except for their meat value.

A dealer in Greek Cyprus, acting for a Dutch Company, bought the meat from Romanian abattoirs, selling it to a French company. Through a distributor in Luxembourg it ended up in British hamburgers.

Odd, but in fact this meat might be safer than horsemeat from Ireland, which is largely from abandoned racehorses stuffed with drugs. Romanian farmers didn't have access to the drugs so the meat might actually be a good thing. But consumers should have the right to know what they are eating.

Some fool on the BBC News Channel Comment programme suggested that the answer to this was more EU regulation. Of course quite the opposite is true. We accept the EU regulation and in return permit such places as Romania to sell us their meat. The system of regulation has broken down.

Britain, with high standards of animal care, should be allowed to refuse imports until various places cleaned up their act. As usual, the solution is less Europe, though the EU-apologists try to persuade you we need more bureaucracy.

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