Thursday, June 22, 2006

Displacement behaviour

So, a last minute (but carefully planned) "rebellion" (against what?) by Green MPs has allowed National to have its way on dog microchipping, and once again pandered to farmer's belief that they should be above the law. I'm disappointed - I see chipping as a basic animal identification measure, and one that should be universal - but like Russell, hardly devastated. The whole issue was basically displacement behaviour, with political attention focussed on it precisely because neither party could make any progress on more substantive issues. And now that its out of the way, possibly Parliament could devote some time to things that actually matter, like climate change, or encouraging New Zealand businesses to invest for the long-term rather than sticking with the "low wage, low skill, hire another warm body" approach. But somehow, I suspect we'll be hearing about Ministerial parking tickets again...


Actually, I can't really see much need for microchipping animals anyway - the previous dog registration system isn't broken, and microchipping will do nothing to prevent dog attacks, merely allowing post-event identification of the dog, the same as current dog registration, and will do nothing to help in the case of unregistered dogs. From my point of view as a semi-rural type who often owns and works with animals, anything that involves a vet or similar expensive type charging me for a pointless bureaucratic trip out to my property is an annoyance. It's bad enough that vets are stupidly expensive for the vetinary attention, but it's worse when it's just an additional layer of paperwork that won't actually solve the problem of uncontrolled/poorly trained animals anyway.

Posted by Weekend_Viking : 6/22/2006 01:15:00 PM

I agree with W_V. It's expensive paperwork for working dogs that farmers don't need and it doesn't solve the problem.

Posted by Muerk : 6/22/2006 01:57:00 PM

The Greens weren't pandering to farmers' beliefs that they should be above the law, but a belief that the fewer people suffer under a bad law the better.

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 6/22/2006 02:34:00 PM

I'm strongly opposed to compulsory microchipping of dogs, because it's a step on the way to compulsory microchipping of people. Only a single step, rather than a sign that we're going to turn in to a fascist state overnight, but a step in the wrong direction. It's another paranoia-driven law that doesn't do anything useful.

Posted by Commie Mutant Traitor : 6/22/2006 02:42:00 PM

Of course, the law also exempts guard dogs, seeing eye and hearing ear dogs, companion dogs, police dogs, customs dogs, other government/security dogs, etc. So it's full of holes anyway.

Posted by Weekend_Viking : 6/22/2006 03:33:00 PM

Microchipping is a whole lot of expense for no real gain. It will not make anyone safer and people who chose not to register their dogs in the past will choose not to microchip their dogs now. The law couldn't be defeated entirely so this is the next best thing. I wonder though if the Green's partial defection is more about showing Labour that they are not poodles and that they may bite in the future on some important issue if Labour continues to take their support for granted. I think they saw that they could look tough on an otherwise fairly unimportant issue and took the opportunity.


Posted by Michael : 6/22/2006 08:35:00 PM

The jury was in at Moenui at first light:


The number of dogs seeking work has risen sharply following the passing of legislation which makes micro-chipping of dogs compulsory except in cases where they are working.

From first light this morning local farmers reported stray dogs turning up to help with mustering and a Moenui woman who is blind told the Herald that she has been overwhelmed by offers of help.

“Everytime I step outside there’s a huntaway bringing me yet another unwanted copy of the Herald or a border-collie trying to drag me off to catch the bus.”

Moenui dairy farmer Ossie MacDonald said that the three extra dogs at milking this morning created chaos. “They were completely untrained for the job. Every time I called ‘get in behind’ there was a scramble between them to be last in the queue behind the herd. As much as I’d like to see every dog that wants to work get a job, I had to see them off the property in the end.”

Meanwhile a number of Moenui residents have expressed outrage at the new law.

“This law is just is just so unfair,” said Melodie-Ann Lewis who chairs the Area School Student Council. “It is just like discrimination against some dogs. I mean my dog (pictured right) is a Chinese Crested and way the coolest, cutest pet I’ve ever had and she just couldn’t go out to work, unless maybe in the fashion industry. But there’s no fashion industry in this stink town. In fact most people here wouldn’t know fashion if it bit them on the bum.”

Local commentator Frank Lush, speaking this morning from the Sports Bar of the Masonic Hotel, said that the law-makers had created a legal mine-field.

“I reckon there are more loopholes in this act than you’d find at a tax-lawyers convention. Already I hear that the louts who run the dog-fights down at the car graveyard are applying to register their pit-bulls as working dogs. And I reckon that being best friend to some buggers in this town must be real hard work.”

Meanwhile a number of residents have reported an upsurge of pet dogs bringing their owners slippers and menacing Jehovah’s Witnesses. “I suppose some good has come of the law,” says Lush.

Posted by john : 6/22/2006 08:59:00 PM