In the meantime, you might be interested in this catalyst for an involuntary collision of head and desk, flagged up today by Alex Deane of Big Brother Watch.
Jim Railton is an auctioneer. He was given a lot to sell - a little wooden cabinet with some 19th century eggs in it. It was valued at £30. He put it up for sale.Two questions immediately spring to mind.
He was arrested and treated like a criminal - he is now charged with two offences relating to the sale of bird eggs under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (an Act some 90 years younger than the eggs...). As Jim says,"in retrospect, we should have just smashed the eggs. They are antique birds eggs, and all of common species, and had old paper copperplate hand-written labels on them. It was a little oak chest, which we judged to be circa 1900.
We sell butterflies, shells, taxidermy – in fact just the type of things that come from people’s attics. To be arrested for offering to sell this little chest seems absurd, and a complete waste of police time. They have interviewed me twice, taken my fingerprints, swabbed me for DNA, had RSPB specialist inspectors visit Berwick to look at the eggs..."
a) Which birds, exactly, are being protected here by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds?
b) How does one go about building a time machine to carry us back to the days just prior to the brutal murder of police common sense?