From a reader:
SO you think you’ve got it bad? Whenever you are tempted to moan about your sorry professional sort, think of the poor European commission official whose job consists of travelling around the EU ensuring that sheep are castrated. This is no joke, folks: the castrations are some weird requirement for the handing out of Common Agricultural Fund cash. But how does one check a castration, I hear you ask? Well yes, you have to sneak up behind the poor animal and slip your gloved hand between his legs. Nice! This from the people who brought you olive tree counters: officials who used to whiz around the EU making sure farmers had not claimed subsidy on non-existent trees, by counting them (though sadly out of a job since the introduction of satellite technology).
A written question to the Council in June wanted to know why the castration without anasthesia of piglets was still permitted in the EU despite it being flagged up as barbaric more than ten years ago.
The Council’s answer?