UK Parliament To End Tradition of Writing Laws on Calf Skin

Historical documents will no longer be written on the dried skin of baby cows.

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The House of Lords recently announced that by April, the United Kingdom Parliament will no longer follow the 1,000-year-old tradition of writing new laws on dried calf skin. Instead of using calf vellum, the Parliament will switch to archival paper, which has a 500-year lifespan. Removing dried calf skins will save approximately £80,000 (or about $116,000) per year, the Parliament said. Historical documents such as the Magna Carta are printed on animal vellum, and opponents of this decision have expressed concern about the disappearance of historical documents printed on archival paper—even though digital storage of documents is currently an option. A spokesman for the House of Lords stated, “We took the view a long time ago that we wanted this to stop, and as far as we are concerned the decision has been made.” The decision will save 130 baby cows for every 500 pieces of paper.

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