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It seems there is no end to what the British government will try and use databases for. Not content with putting large amounts of an individual’s details on record, the database state now has man’s best friend in its sights. Under leaked new government plans, dog owners could be forced to make their private pets the property of the state, as a microchip would be implanted under every new-born dog and puppy sold or given as a gift in the UK.
Like most databases, the reasoning behind it is that it is for the common good. The common good here being to combat dangerously violent dogs. Whilst this is laudable, unfortunately as with many kinds of state intervention, it will end up restricting liberty whilst not tackling the root cause of the problem.
Regrettably, when it comes to the government’s proposals for the dog’s database (or as I believe it would be more accurately called the dog’s dinner database) the blanket nature of the proposals would mean that many law-abiding dog owners could be penalised. This is because under the proposals, each dog owner may have to shell out £35 for the microchip. Effectively, this would mean owners having to pay for the privilege of not being trusted.
Consequently, if the proposals came into law, dog owners across the country would be treated as potential criminals, which seems a massively disproportionate response to the problem of dangerous dogs. John Thurso, a Liberal Democrat MP, hit the nail on the head when he said, “it's compulsion and I don't like it. People who have dangerous dogs that are against the law will take no notice of this. This will result in a disproportionate burden on the law-abiding who keep dogs, and especially those who need dogs for their work such as farmers who keep kennels. They will be stuck with another expense and piece of legislation to obey.”
Within the government’s leaked internal consultation there were some pertinent questions, such as:
- How acceptable do you think it would be to require anyone microchipping a dog to request proof of identity/address of the owner of the dog?
- What would it cost a breeder to microchip each dog? And assuming the cost would be passed on to the purchaser, would this price increase cause any difficulties?
My answers to them are simple. The level of intrusion involved is unacceptable and purchasers should not be forced to pay for it.
The last 13 years have shown us that more legislation and databases to tackle serious problems actually have no effect on crime and end up putting freedom in peril. In its defence the government has said this is only one option they are looking at in tackling violent dogs. However, it should have never have been an option in the first place. The right thing to do is to throw these barking proposals on the scrapheap.
By Stephen Hoffman
- The Freedom Association’s Magna Carta Pimms and Politics Cruise on June 15, 2013 12:30 pm
- Conservative Renewal Conference on September 14, 2013
- The Freedom Zone on September 30, 2013
- The Freedom Zone on October 1, 2013
- Christmas Lunch in the Cotswolds on December 7, 2013 12:30 pm
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