POLITICS

It's Taken 1,000 Years, But The UK Will Finally Stop Printing Laws On Animal Skin

Isn't this what Google Docs is for?

British lawmakers are in a tizzy over a new law that would end a 1,000-year-old tradition of printing laws onto calfskin.

From April, all legislation that lawmakers in the House of Lords passes will be printed on high-quality paper, instead of the animal parchment commonly known as vellum. 

This original handwritten pigment on vellum from Italy, chronicling the biblical history from Adam to Jesus and containi
This original handwritten pigment on vellum from Italy, chronicling the biblical history from Adam to Jesus and containing diagrams and lists of kings, emperors and popes ending in 1346, is one of the rarest biblical manuscripts.

The switch to the archival paper will save about 80,000 pounds ($116,000) a year.

Archivists will store every new law printed on it in the Parliamentary and National Archives and save them in digital files, The Associated Press reported.

Opponents of the change argue that while the new paper can last for 500 years, vellum endures for up to 5,000 years, according to The Daily Telegraph. Key historical documents including the Domesday Book of 1086 and the Magna Carta were printed on vellum.

"To drag an 'ancient order' from 1800 and something is nothing short of scandalous," Paul Wright, one of Britain's last makers of vellum, told the newspaper. "What they have decided is that future generations will be denied the privilege of touching history, and no man has the right to make that decision."

An artist rendering of vellum. 
An artist rendering of vellum. 

No cow had the right to that decision either, apparently.

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