At the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday:
Alison Johnstone (Lothian) (Scottish Green Party): To ask the Scottish Government how many welfare inspections have been carried out in each calendar year since 2012 of poultry holdings with egg-laying hens that have (a) less than 1,000 and (b) 1,000 or more birds. (S5W-24150)
Mairi Gougeon: APHA conducts inspections for welfare non-compliance issues at poultry holdings on behalf of the Scottish Ministers and maintains the records of such inspections. The Scottish Government understands, from figures provided by APHA, that 144 inspections of poultry holdings with egg laying hens has been carried out since 2014 and is not broken down by flock size. Due to the change in systems of recording outcomes by APHA, records are not readily available for 2012 and 2013
Now, we’ve already had Paul Wheelhouse answering questions on ferry-related matters. This can’t go on. For all I know there may be more. The SNP must initiate proper screening procedures prior to ministerial appointments before the Hootsman gets wind of this.
The kind of data collection associated with such questions can become very time consuming. (Incidentally, I think Alison Johnston’s question was a reasonable one, given the serious crisis there was in relation to salmonella in eggs, which resulted in Mrs Edwina Currie getting the bullet as minister for actually telling the truth!). It can also become an exercise in collecting data because you want to collect data.
The most egregious example I can recall related to taking the register in schools. You might recall that each morning when we sat at our desks and, in response to our names, we said, “Present, Miss”. If there was no reply she marked a ‘0’ on the register. If someone came in late, the ‘0’ was changed to an ‘L’. Then various lawyers and others over the years began being precious and more and more symbols were added to record thins such as ‘was present at 9.00am but left at 10.00am to go to the dentist and returned at 10.45am’. Or ‘had been allowed the day off to go to her grannie’s funeral’, etc. By the time I retired in 2009, there were 27 different things which might be entered! Since this was more than the number of letters in the alphabet, there were furrowed browed discussions amongst the jobsworths as to what was an appropriate symbol for the 27th. An explanation mark could be mistaken for a ‘1’, which was NOT an approved symbol, or for an ‘I’, which was. An alpha could be carelessly written and look like an ‘X’, which was what people entered on their pools coupon, and this raised the issue of whether ‘X’ should have been used at all, because it might imply that we approved of gambling.
When teachers, not unnaturally jibbed at this saying their job was teaching, they were reprimanded, “THIS IS IMPORTANT!”
I do not know what the 27th symbol was, because by that time I was getting demob happy!