“More than 40 sheep from a rare, heritage breed on an Ontario farm are to be put to death tomorrow by the federal government.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is euthanizing the sheep because a single member of the flock was sold to an Alberta farm in 2007 and, three years later, tested positive for the degenerative livestock disease scrapie.
None of the other Shropshire sheep at Wholearth Farmstudio near Peterborough, Ont., has ever tested positive for the fatal infection, owner Montana Jones says.
But the federal agency has a mandate to eradicate the disease as well as the power with which to do so.
The breed traces its bloodlines back to mid-19th century England, and at one point was one of the most popular types of sheep in North America, Jones says….”
See previous coverage of this story on The Bovine:
Michigan wants to kill outdoor pigs but is Canada any better? — March 29, 2012
Tomorrow (April 2, 2012) is also the date for a rally in support of farmer Montana Jones and her Shropshire sheep herd:
“~ To Protest CFIA’s Slaughter of Rare Heritage Sheep ~
This coming Monday you are encouraged to come to Wholearth Farmstudio for the “Save Our Shropshires” (SOS) rally as a show of support and peaceable protest, to demonstrate your disapproval for the actions of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the draconian legislation that allows them to take such arbitrary and disproportionate measures as forcing the slaughter of apparently healthy heritage sheep.
Sadly, after two years of fighting to save my rare flock of Shropshires, CFIA has notified me they intend to destroy 41 of the flock—including 20 pregnant ewes and their unborn lambs—this Monday, April 2, 2012.
You are invited to please bring cameras, signs, banners, your voice of reason, flowers for the sheep’s grave. Be prepared for weather, and bring your own portable beverages and nourishment. All media are welcome.
In keeping with the somber nature of the event, I would like all attending please wear something black. This may be a traumatic day possibly involving graphic procedures and will not be suitable for children to attend. It could well be too much for adults.
The order was made under the federal government’s “scrapie eradication program.” Scrapie is an illness which affects the productivity and longevity of sheep but is not a human health risk.
None of my flock have tested positive for scrapie in live biopsies, but CFIA claim the 85% accuracy is not enough and want to kill them to test the obex brain tissue.
None of my animals show any clinical symptoms of the disease.
Nevertheless, the CFIA has ordered the sheep destroyed based merely on the “suspicion” of being contaminated. The CFIA has declined all alternative risk-control measures proposed by myself and my lawyer, Karen Selick of the Canadian Constitution Foundation.
In the most recent desperate proposal, I have pleaded with CFIA not to wipe them all out at once. I offered to sacrifice 21 of the sheep and hold back the 11 with the most significant historical genetics. I’ve asked them to consider re-evaluating the death sentence if the 21 brain tissues came back negative. I have had no response yet, but hold out hope at least those 11 individuals and their lambs could still be saved.
CFIA officials intend to kill the sheep with a barbiturate injection and I have insisted I be allowed to bury them respectfully here on the farm. They had planned to load them in a trailer and ship them to a deadstock and pet food facility near Ottawa. I won’t allow that kind of stress and disrespect for these beautiful animals.
Demonstrators are cautioned that under the Health of Animals Act, no person may “obstruct or hinder” a CFIA official in the performance of his duty, on penalty of up to 2 years’ imprisonment and fines of $250,000.
(We’d like an idea how many to expect….so please show your support by “Liking” our page, but only say “YES” if you are indeed attending…thank-you…)
WHEN: 8:00 am Monday, April 2, 2012
WHERE: Wholearth Farmstudio is located at RR#2, 143 Concession Road 14 East, Hastings (Trent Hills) Ontario (1/2 hour east of Peterborough, ½ hour north of Cobourg). See Google map link here: http://g.co/maps/m7knu
WEB: Please check http://ShropshireSheep.org/ for updates.
For further information, contact:
Canadian Constitution Foundation
Toll-free: 888-695-9105 x. 104
• Shropshire Sheep and news on CFIA— http://shropshiresheep.org/
• Montana’s story on importance of heritage Shropshire sheep history—http://www.montanajones.com/writing/a-likeable-sheep/
• Rare Breeds Canada— http://www.rarebreedscanada.org/
• Wholearth Farmstudio—http://wholearth.com/
• Canadian Constitution Foundation— http://theccf.ca/
(1/2 hour east of Peterborough, ½ hour north of Cobourg)
See Google map link here: http://g.co/maps/m7knu