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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: The Nanny State: Pet and Human Welfare

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Nanny State: Pet and Human Welfare

We put too many burdens on our neighbors through the state.  Jaya Narain describes the actions of an overweening state protecting society from a 66 year-old woman selling goldfish to a minor in "Pet shop owner fined £1,000 and told to wear an electronic tag... for selling a GOLDFISH to a boy aged 14" published by Mail Oline.
Her offence was to unwittingly sell a goldfish to a 14-year-old boy taking part in a trading standards 'sting'.

At most, pet shop owner Joan Higgins, 66, expected a slap on the wrist for breaking new animal welfare laws which ban the sale of pets to under-16s.

Instead, the great-grandmother was taken to court, fined £1,000, placed under curfew - and ordered to wear an electronic tag for two months.

The punishment is normally handed out to violent thugs and repeat offenders.

The prosecution of Mrs Higgins and her son Mark is estimated to have cost taxpayers £20,000 and has left her with a criminal record.

Mark, 47, was also fined and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work in the community.
If members of a free society must police the sale of goldfish, is it any wonder that the United Kingdom has budget problems? 

Narain also reported that the police also found a cockatiel with a bad eye and a broken leg which was ironically put down to stop its suffering.  I wonder which metric they used to determine that the bird's future suffering outweighed its future pleasure? 

Did those who designed the law stop to think that pet stores that attempt to sell damaged goods don't sell much? 
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