No one out there in the journalism community seems willing to connect the dots on this story. And yet it seems like a fairly straightforward case of citizen direct action in response to perception of a governmental agency gone rogue. In essence, it looks very much like this “Farmers Peace Corps” is acting like the real government here, in so far as one imagines they’re seeking to defend the public interest. The CFIA, on the other hand, looks to be acting strangely in threatening to kill all these rare sheep in the absence of evidence that they were diseased.
One wonders what’s behind this and whether it’s anything like David Gumpert’s take on Michigan’s new pig regulations. Could it be another instance of government power being co-opted by corporations who seem to be actively working to reduce genetic diversity and thereby limit consumer choice. Why would they do that? Perhaps to maximize profit by handicapping the competition?
If you read The Ontario Landowner magazine you’ll find story after story of conservation authorities imposing expensive restrictions on property owners, ostensibly to protect species which are deemed to be endangered. This story on protecting the grey rat snake would be an excellent example. Whereas in this case we have attempts by government agencies to take action that would reduce genetic diversity, albeit in a domesticated species, rather than a wild one, as if that makes any difference. It’s good to remember Robert Peel’s “nine principles of policing” when it comes to cases like this. The second principle in that list is “The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.”
Of couse, all that said, there may yet be further evidence uncovered in this case that may turn all these notions on their head; we need to keep an open mind for information that does not fit our preconceptions.
“Provincial police in Northumberland County are investigating the theft of 31 quarrantined sheep from a farm east of Trent Hills that disappeared just hours before they were scheduled to be destroyed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
The sheep, a rare breed called Shropshire, made national headlines after their owner, Montana Jones, protested the federal government agency’s plan to destroy them. The agency quarantined the herd in January 2010 after the discovery of scrapie in a sheep born on Jones’ farm and sold to an Alberta farm. Scrapie is a federally reportable disease that affects productivity and longevity of sheep but is not transmissible to humans. It is also a World Organisation for Animal Health listed disease, meaning that Canada has international trade obligations to respond to suspected cases.
Jones, and her lawyer, Karen Selick, litigation director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, had encouraged people to come to the farm on Monday morning to protest the sheep’s removal to a pet food and dead stock facility near Ottawa Monday where they were to be euthanized.
Instead, after she arrived at the rally about 7:45 a.m., she found “the pen where the sheep had been was empty,” Selick says. “The sheep were gone.” Jones told her she found a note in the barn….”