back to article Defra tenders for sheep tracking database

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will pay £6m over five years for an animal movements reporting service. The electronic identification (EID) database will be used to track sheep and will link to an animal movement licensing system. According to the notice published in the Official Journal of the European …


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  1. Rosco


    "We know where ewes live" - not bad but I would have preferred "All your baas are belong to us"

  2. Scott Wichall

    Watch the welsh

    The welsh hackers will be getting all fired up and ready to breach that database then

  3. Pete 8
    Big Brother

    Great stuff!

    It can be used for tracking the citizens every move, by those above the law.

  4. Simon Riley

    Big Brother... watching ewe

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Best subtitle of the year.

    My fav so far.... possibly ever.

  6. Allan George Dyer
    Black Helicopters

    Was that DEFRA or DARPA?

    Are sheep now suspects in the War on Terror?

  7. S Larti
    Big Brother

    Big Brother

    is watching ewe

  8. LinkOfHyrule

    Oh no - here we go!

    Let the jokes begin... Bonus points (ooh eer) for avoiding the obvious such as: back legs down wellies, sheeple, woolly left-wing liberals, sheeps offenders register...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what's the point of this?

    Other than coming up with yet another database with more data than sense attached to it. Is this another new soft target for ID databasery?

  10. ShaggyDoggy

    Not another

    Not another fucking database saints preserve us !!!

    1. Wommit


      that depends whether you're Welsh or not.

      Anyway these databases should be Baaaaa'd

  11. GeorgeTuk

    Isn't there better things to spend money on?

    How about flood defences, sea and river?

    Measures against and research into Foot and Mouth?

    Protection of the countryside and building new footpaths?

    No lets create another thing so we don't need to leave the office and print the fines from our desk!

  12. Neil Charles

    Adapting an old joke

    A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of the dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Broni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the shepherd... "If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?" The shepherd looked at the man, then looked at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answered "sure".

    The yuppie parked his car, whipped out his IBM ThinkPad and connected it to a cell phone, then he surfed to a NASA page on the internet where he called up a GPS satellite navigation system, scanned the area, and then opened up a database and an Excel spreadsheet with complex formulas. He sent an email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, received a response. Finally, he prints out a 130-page report on his miniaturized printer then turns to the shepherd and says, "You have exactly 1586 sheep. "That is correct; take one of the sheep." said the shepherd. He watches the young man select one of the animals and bundle it into his car.

    Then the shepherd says: "If I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my animal?", "OK, why not." answered the young man. "Clearly, you are a consultant working for DEFRA." said the shepherd. "That's correct." says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?" "No guessing required." answers the shepherd. "You turned up here although nobody called you. You want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked, and you don't know anything about my business...... Now give me back my dog."

    1. LinkOfHyrule

      You (ewe) can tell

      You (ewe) can tell DEFRA must be really sh!t if they have such well thought out and long winded jokes made up about them!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better things

    @GeorgeTuk - I think you'll find that this does have some passing role in "Measures against... Foot and Mouth?"

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Are these for sheep ASBOs?

    Judge to sheep: "Ewe've been a baaaaad girl and you mutton do it again."

  15. goggyturk

    @ Isn't there better things to spend money on

    "Measures against and research into Foot and Mouth?"

    I think you'll find this falls into the first category. One of the main problems in the last foot and mouth epidemic was finding where all the animals had been, and therefore whether they had been exposed to other carriers of the disease.

    Who knows, if we can react faster the next time there's an outbreak maybe the rural economy won't get fscked to the tune of several billion pounds.

    1. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

      yes but no but...

      A simple system of tagging the sheep to identify the herd and year would do fine. A central database of every single animal is way OTT

  16. Maurice Shakeshaft

    Were is Brian Rix when you need him!

    Even he couldn't script this farce.

    Is it expected that the Greeks, and other European states were sheep are a major livestock component, will buy the database applications and processes we develop for our industry? I doubt they even have any intention of monitoring sheep & goat movement let alone electronically or automatically or involving a database.

    The next step will be to have scanners at markets and abbatoirs so that the sheep can be automatically registered.

    And, pre tell, let me guess who will pay for all this extra supervision - The EU? Of course, I should have known! And were will the money come from? Well, hit me with a wet fish, it must be the Farming budget! No, no, really, who will pay.... Well, actually, the taxpayer(s) in the leading economies. Well not the UK then, phew! Well actually, yes.

    All this will do will add to the costs of farming and food in this country and will not add one iota to food safety. Bad food is like a terrorist bomber - only one needs to get through. And this database wont stop one. Meanwhile we will have an expensive and growing database, complete with civil servants to maintain it, with valueless intellectual property.

    Were is our leadership when it is needed to tell those who would bankrupt Britain on the alter of process and procedure to just ...... GO!

  17. Secretgeek

    Is it home time yet?

    I read DEFRA as DARPA and 'animal movement licensing system' was really not what I first thought it was.

    I fail myself.

    Thought the yuppie joke was quite funny though.

  18. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    did''nt theybuidl one of these to track cattle for the f&M crisis?

    Maybe there are a *lot* more sheep than cattle in the UK but so what?

    Make the ID strings a bit longer in the *design* phase. This was on the cards a *long* time ago. £6m additional when most of the hooks should have been in the V1.0 system.

    After all cattle are tracked from cradle to grave in the UK.

    And soon so will humans. Why should sheep have it easy?

  19. Gilbert Wham


    Whatever they're going to do, it'll never work, believe me. They already have a database no-one can work, a new one will only make matters worse.

    I have worked for DEFRA, on the equivalent cattle section. Fact: ALL cows have a 'passport', which must be stamped & recorded EVERY time you move the bloody thing to a new field, or farmers get no EU subsidy money for so doing. This, as you can imagine, involves large amounts of paperwork from farmers, all of it covered in blood, bull semen & cowshit. Sheep have a similar system, I believe (although, to be fair, their excrement is less sticky, so it might be nicer to work there).

    It is, without doubt, the most demented place I have ever wasted my time for money. Deliberately, wilfully stupid, with a cherry of genuine crazy on the top.

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