Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/12/18/sheep_goats_id/

EU mandates electronic IDs for sheep and goats

Pilot program for the last judgement?

By Joe Fay

Posted in Government, 18th December 2007 12:05 GMT

The European Union has pledged to make life easier for both farmers and putative messiahs by ensuring that goats and sheep will in future be identified electronically.

The council of ministers has set December 31, 2009 as “the obligatory implementation date for the introduction of electronic identification (EID) of sheep and goats".

The system was supposed to be in place this year, but the UK pushed for a two-year delay. Animal Welfare Minister Jeff Rooker said: "We do still have concerns about the cost and practicalities of introducing EID and these are recognised in the Commission's report. We will continue to work in close partnership with industry to discuss the implementation of EID in a way which is practical and industry can make work."

Rooker also hinted that old goats, dirty or otherwise, and ageing sheep might be excluded from the scheme altogether, saying: “We will also be seeking further amendments to the Regulation to limit the impact of the introduction of the individual recording requirements which exists for older animals."

Separating the sheep and the goats has long been a potent image in the Christian world.

Matthew’s gospel describes how Jesus said:

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Crucially, the goats are destined for eternal damnation, while the sheep will enter into the kingdom of heaven, having earned their status through good works – feeding the hungry, clothing the poor and the like.

Matthew, of course, was referring to humans, not literal sheep and goats. However, the way things are going, when the end of days comes, chances are that the messiah - or indeed the antichrist - will indeed be able to simply tap into a European Union database when he is separating the elect from the damned. ®