Each year when the nights start growing longer, everyone’s favourite rotund old man emerges from his wintry hideaway in the fastness of the North Pole and dashes around the globe in a red and white blur, delivering presents and generally spreading goodwill to the people of the world. Who can criticise such good intentions?
Despite this noble cause, Father Christmas is running an unconventional operation at best. At worst, the jolly old fool is flagrantly flaunting the law and his reckless behaviour should see him standing before a jury of his peers. Admittedly, it would be a challenge to find eleven other omnipotent, eternally-old, portly men with a penchant for elves.
Read on to find out four shocking laws Santa breaks every year. But be warned; this is just the tip of an iceberg of criminality that dates back centuries!
1) Illegal Surveillance – Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
Even before the Christmas season rolls around, Santa is actively engaged in full-time surveillance of 1.9 billion children. This scale of intelligence-gathering makes the guys at GCHQ look like children with a magnifying glass. In the course of compiling this colossal “naughty-or-nice” list, Santa probably violates every single privacy law ever created, but he is definitely breaking the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. Even if Secretary of State William Hague gave Santa the authorisation required to carry out intrusive surveillance on all the children of the UK, the British government would go weak-at-the-knees at the thought of being complicit in an intelligence scandal set to dwarf Merkel’s phone tap and permanently sour Anglo-global relations!
2) Drink Driving Laws – The Road Traffic Act 1988
Even conceding that Santa’s impressive paunch is due to a not-entirely-human ability to imbibe the massive quantity of mince pies and sherry left-out by eager children around the world, his rosy cheeks betray that while his tolerance is high, he can’t escape the effects of a two-unit-tipple in every single family household in the world. Assuming the world average is three children per family, Santa has to visit 630 million families! Half of the world’s population sadly live in poverty, so we can assume they don’t have the sherry on hand to keep Santa tanked-up during his rounds. Of the 316 million families from economically developed countries, 21 million abstain from alcohol on religious grounds. Taking that into account, that’s 295 million sherries left out for Santa, just shy of 600 million units. If we assume Santa weighs a conservative 240 pounds, that makes his blood alcohol a whopping 7,870,000%! Needless to say, by the time Santa finishes his quota he is most definitely over the limit and if he’s still breathing it’s safe to assume his sleigh flying ability is impaired.
3) Airspace Violations – Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation 1944
While on his annual jaunt across the globe, Santa and his furry entourage enter the airspace of every single country. Even granting Saint Nick’s North Pole hideout the status of a sovereign state and signing him up to the convention, he only acquires the right to cross the 191 participating states and is obliged to make a landing if requested. There is no evidence of Santa ever touching down at the bequest of country and submitting to a customs search, which is unusual considering the quantity and variety of goods he is known to be carrying. Coupled with the fact that Santa’s definitely entered some questionable airspace during active conflicts and never been sighted or shot down, we can assume the red sleigh must be boasting next-generation stealth camouflage. Those tinkering elves are cleverer than they look!
4) Movement of Livestock – Animal Welfare Act 2006
Either Santa’s reindeer have incredible longevity or he’s running a full-scale reindeer breeding operation up there at the North Pole, as well as presiding over a city-sized workshop full of elves. Now assuming that Saint Nick has been at this game since his reported death in 270AD (when he slipped away to the North Pole and recruited his first elf) he’s been spreading cheer and making merry for 1744 years! A well-cared for reindeer can live as long as 20 years in captivity, which means that Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph have died at least 87 times and been repeatedly replaced by reindeers with the same name. A worrying thought!
However, if those reindeer weren’t well-cared for, Santa could be well into a triple-figure reindeer mortality count. The Animal Welfare Act of 2006 states that reindeers undergoing transportation should all be fitted with an ear tag listing their identifying reference number, in accordance with the guidelines stipulated by the BDFA (British Deer Farmers Association). Santa should also be filling out the requisite AML24 document and reporting all movements of his herds to the authorities. As reindeers act as carriers for tuberculosis and ‘foot and mouth’ disease, failure to abide by these rules can pose a significant health risk. With such a laissez-faire attitude to animal welfare, Nick could be at the helm of animal welfare cover-up the likes of which have never been seen… and Rudolph’s red nose is obviously a symptom of infectious bovine rhinotracheitis.
Headline image credit: Santa Claus and Reindeer. Public domain via Pixabay.