Shepherd still seeking lost sheep — Montana Jones files for judicial review of kill order for rare Shropshire herd

From the Canadian Constitution Foundation:

Ewes vs Them: Shepherd Montana Jones with lamb. Photo via Shropshiresheep.org

HASTINGS, ON: The owner of a rare heritage Shropshire sheep flock that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has ordered destroyed has filed a federal court application for judicial review of the order.

Shepherd Montana Jones’ farm has been under quarantine for two years. In March, 2012 the CFIA issued an Order of Destruction to kill the sheep so that it could test their brain tissue for suspected scrapie. Jones had asked the CFIA to consider various alternative proposals to live test and monitor the flock without killing the rare breed, but the CFIA refused. The flock has already tested negative for scrapie in a live biopsy test and has shown no visible symptoms of the disease. Scrapie is not a human health risk.

The 31 sheep were to be destroyed on April 2, 2012. However, the CFIA arrived at Jones’ farm to find the sheep gone and a note left in their place. A group calling itself the Farmers Peace Corp [sic] stated it had “taken the animals into protective custody until an alternative to killing has been found or conclusive independent proof or clear evidence of disease has been proven.” Ontario Provincial Police are still investigating the disappearance.

“I miss my sheep, and my sheep are still missing…but still not safe,” Jones said. “If and when CFIA finds them—they will kill them. After 27 months of uncertainty I want some kind of resolution. They’re out there somewhere about to lamb in an unfamiliar place with an unfamiliar face.”

On her ShropshireSheep.org blog, Jones has suggested that the CFIA make a public appeal offering amnesty to Farmers Peace Corp and a reprieve from death for the flock if the persons responsible for taking them would just return the sheep.

“I’d like my Shropshires back to shepherd them through birthing and raising their lambs. Why doesn’t CFIA ask Farmers Peace Corp to return my sheep safe and sound with a promise of reprieve?”

“CFIA claims the biggest potential risk—if any sheep are indeed positive for scrapie—arises when the sheep give birth. The birthing fluids could theoretically contaminate a new location. So on that point, we want the same thing, to have the lambs born back on my farm.” says Jones. “I’d like them back…but only if they are safe from the CFIA.”

Jones’ lawyer Karen Selick of the Canadian Constitution Foundation says she and her client have cited a multitude of reasons in the application to quash the CFIA Order to destroy the sheep. “There are numerous grounds. Some relate to the abuse of discretionary power, some to the Canadian Bill of Rights, and some to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

“One we are particularly concerned about is that the CFIA has condemned the sheep based on their genotype. The law authorizes the forced destruction of individual suspected animals. It doesn’t mention genotypes. We asked the CFIA in January to identify their reasons for suspecting each animal they condemned, but they never did. They just applied a pre-fab rule, and that’s not what Parliament authorized them to do,” said Selick.

Selick said, “We’re not even sure they have correctly identified the most susceptible genotype. A U.K. study of 14,000 sheep indicates that the CFIA may not even have applied its own rule accurately.”

Selick says they have also learned that the testing of a dead sheep’s obex (brain tissue) is not conclusive and may not be significantly more accurate than the live-animal rectal biopsy, which has an 88% accuracy.

“An expert I’ve interviewed told me that the CFIA’s policy of eliminating certain sheep genotypes may have the unintended consequence of genetically selecting Canada’s national flock for greater susceptibility to other diseases that might turn out to be worse than classical scrapie. The CFIA’s own vets have recognized in published research that it’s unwise to reduce the genetic diversity in the sheep population, but when I quoted it to them in a letter, they did not respond to this concern.”

The Canadian Constitution Foundation (“Freedom’s Defence Team”) is a registered charity, independent and non-partisan, whose mission is to defend the constitutional freedoms of Canadians through education, communication and litigation.

Read the full court document here.

32 Comments

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32 responses to “Shepherd still seeking lost sheep — Montana Jones files for judicial review of kill order for rare Shropshire herd

  1. Anyone wishing to support this case can make a donation at the CCF website, here: http://www.canadianconstitutionfoundation.ca/donate.php Donations of more than $25 will get a tax receipt. The CCF has registered charitable status in Canada, and is also a 501(c)(3) public charity for U.S. tax purposes. The CCF is providing its assistance pro bono to Montana Jones, but we will have to incur significant expenses to do so. Please give generously! Thanks.🙂

  2. Gordon S Watson

    it would be worth contacting the Archers in Duncan B C. as evidence of the reasonable-ness of the Order. They had a herd of water buffalo well underway. CFIA – in its eminent wisdom – decided that the cattle MAY have been infected with ( so-called) mad cow disease, which necessitated killing them all for analysis. Of course, the DEAD animals all tested negative. The ARchers lost about a decade of a labour of love, not to even itemized the true costs. But so what, eh? The CFIA idiots all got their fat paycheques on time.

    hard to know what the Canadian Food Inspection Agency thinks, or if it thinks at all!! What we do know, is, they are NOT on the side of the farmer, nor ordinary citizens ….. the minions of CFIA are nothing but hirelings for mindless, soul-less UNaccountable corporate entities

  3. rawmilkwar

    Let me express my deep concern about the ruthless CIA, sorry C(f)IA behavior. I bet even if they do find the sheep and kill them they will justify their actions with better dead than wrong.
    “O sorry Mrs Jones but this is our job. We need to kill your sheep to make sure that you are right that these sheep are healthy.
    By the way the sheep unfortunately did not survive the killing.”
    May those who ordered the destruction be found and publicly questioned and displayed before those shropshires are killed.
    What I do not get, why is the food inspection agency is involved when scrapie has absolutely no human impact????

    • BC Food Security

      One explanation is that the Canadian government is paranoid about what international markets (primarily the US ) will do. There was some kind of Mad Cow case in Canada 8 years ago and the US banned ALL Canadian beef for an extended period. This could actually be a trade barrier “in disguise”. Regardless it creates an enormous amount of “tension” in the farming system, or any system , for that matter when you can be shut down instantly and for months and years . Perhaps the solution is to reduce our trade dependence on the US ? Of Course , there are many other factors here. The above theory is plausible. Look what happened with the E.Coli scare in Germany. They were pointing fingers , left,right and centre i.e blaming the Spaniards for their cucumber and other raw vegetables. After one billion dollars worth of Pan-European veggies were NEEDLESSLY destroyed they decided that the source of the problem was “probably ” a sprout farm in Germany ! Talk about using a “sledgehammer to kill a fly ” !

  4. the answer to your question is found in the monograph “And not a shot is fired” by Jan Kozak. In which he sets forth the agenda of the international socialists at their convention in 1960, where they explained how they intended to take over government of the western countries. The Cold War was a diversion to effect the stealthy “Long March Through the Institutions”

    now we have faceless, UNaccountable “authorities” dictating every aspect of public life. The mechanism of power being “Show Cause Hearing”… where guilt is presumed

  5. Patric Lyster

    What happened to the other 10 sheep that were ordered destroyed? Reports are that 41 were stolen, and now Ms. Jones lawyer issues a press release stating 31 sheep. Interesting how they seemingly can’t even report the facts in their own press release. Is it 41 or 31? As in the past, it takes someone , who according to Ms. Jones, knows nothing about the case, to actually point out the facts and their errors. Why do they have such a difficult time with their facts? Why does Ms. Jones deny that she claimed to her lawyer that she estimates her profit on lambs sold for meat, to be $560, when it is what was sent to CFIA? Why does Ms. Jones keep whining about the loss of income from her breeding stock that she sells to other breeders, when for some reason, she hadn’t been registering for a few years prior to quarantine and apparently hadn’t been selling registered breeding stock (because if she had, she claims that is what funds her registrations, which have not been kept up)? Why does Ms. Jones continue to question the identity of a sheep that she, herself identified with a tattoo? [snip]

  6. rawmilkwar

    Patric
    You made your point so many times that it is by now clear that you have a bone to pick with Mrs. Jones.
    Sometimes it is very telling simply by the tone of all your accusations that this is not about facts, rather about a personal vendetta.
    I do not know Montana Jones but I have followed her journey and do respect her stand for justice. Is it about you or about her?
    No, it is about the process and about the role of Government.
    Regards Michael

    • Patric Lyster

      Michael, unfortunately you miss most of the points. I do not have a vendetta against Ms. Jones. I do have a major dislike for poeple who continually present only a part of the story and will even go to the point of using false information to further their cause. This case has nothing to do with people’s rights to choice of what they eat. She could have slaughtered them all for meat. It is not about government trying to shut down the small farm. Where in the scrapie policy, is there anything that discriminates based on farm size? It is not as much about saving a rare breed and rare genetics as she presents. If it was, then why are only 9 of 75 head of sheep registered? Don’t tell me it is because of the quarantine. She was not registering prior to that, for some time.
      If you want it to be about individual’s rights, then please tell me where in a democratic society does it say that one person’s rights should supersede the rights of others. Where does it say that one can present misinformation to further their rights with no regard for the rights of others? I have never said that I agree with all of CFIAs actions, but rather that there is more to the story than Ms. Jones wishes to have people know.
      Further, when I get a veiled threat from a lawyer, for Ms. Jones in regards to defamation of character when Ms. Jones is continually hinting that I misidentified the sheep in question, well I would have reason to have a vendetta. I even could sue her for defamation of character. But rather than either of those, I have pointed out to her lawyer and Ms. Jones where they have presented misinformation (which if you think about it, is only helping them, because any lawyer worth his salt, would make things pretty interesting for them with the erroneous things they have presented) and asked pertinent questions, based on the facts. The fact is most people know very little about scrapie and it does not help anyone, except perhaps Ms. Jones to present a bunch of false information. When Ms. Jones accepts the facts and quits putting out innuendo, in regards to me and quits using erroneous information, then I will quit making the necessary corrections and allow the facts to speak for themselves.
      It is not my fault, if the truth hurts.

    • Patric Lyster

      It might also be noted that you have a personal vendetta against the government.
      If I have made my point, please tell me why Ms. Jones still evades answering pertinent questions, which is most cases she instigates by her reasoning? Please also tell me, why she changes her story and says things are out of context when she is caught with her own misinformation. The money figure is a quote from her lawyer to CFIA, asking for payment for unborn lambs. CFIA would allow sales for slaughter, and she also could have sold her unuseable, unwanted sheep prior to quarantine.Note by her own admission some of them were born prior to July 2007. Why did she not sell them before?
      Kind of like crying over spilled milk, isn’t it?

  7. Lorri Nelson

    Michael, you are missing the bigger picture. We point out her errors, her omissions, and her misinformation over and over (and you’d better believe it’s about facts!!!), and give her the opportunity to answer pointed, specific questions, and she glosses over all of them with accusations of lies and gossip. Yet she never answers the questions, never fixes the errors on her website. I am glad you can see that Patric has made his point, but apparently most of the people reading it aren’t getting it.
    If you had bought the sheep from Ms Jones, had it test positive for scrapie, and then had her turn around and deny the sheep was born on her farm and virtually accuse you of setting her up, and of misidentifying the sheep when she had it tattooed with her flock letters, would you not have a bit of a bone to pick with her too?
    What almost everyone is apparently failing to realize is that it is NOT about Montana, or Patric, or me, or the flippin’ government. It is about the credibility of the Canadian sheep industry, which is not so hot right now.
    Have you read the court document? They actually say that the CFIA’s scrapie program is a taxpayer-funded insurance for commercial sheep producers so they can get paid for their worthless sick sheep. Thank-you, Montana and CCF, for denigrating the entire commercial sheep industry with one sentence. Which wouldn’t happen if people weren’t so gullible as to believe that this is not about sheep!
    The people like you, Michael, who think this is about standing up to Big Daddy Government, are not sheep producers. As a commercial sheep producer, I can’t tell you how sick I felt when I read that. Even if I had supported her before I could never support her cause now, and neither will many self-respecting sheep producers when they read that. It’s sad.

  8. rawmilkwar

    Why would it be wrong to call the Scrapie eradication program an insurance program for commercial sheep producers.
    Following the sheep heist, one of the CFIA spokes people said on TV that it is not a nice thing to have because of the commercial implications for trade.
    When I see where commercial sheep production is going I can assure you that many consumers would question the ethics and safety of their food once again.
    I am sure that the practice “shoot, shovel and shut up” are more common than the public knows. It would be common sense to do that instead of loosing a flock of a thousand sheep.
    What about the hormon injections to sync fertility cycles for the convinience of lambing season?
    What about grazing. I know more an more producers choosing no grazing as a more rational production method.
    I can understand the above arguments how upsetting some of these issues are Mrs Jones is talking about for commercial producers.
    However it also highlights the growing conflict between the commercial aspects and the passionate aspects of agriculture.
    If there is nothing I can do to bridge the understanding let me know.
    Public character assassination breeds only more and more conflicts than a solution.
    Regards
    Michael

    • Patric Lyster

      Read the wording to get paid for their sick worthless sheep. It does not say anything about the fact that the compensation pays for healthy sheep which are slaughtered to test for scrapie. It does not say that registered sheep are eligible. It just is twisted to their agenda. Plain and simple, if they wish to give the facts, give the facts. Quit with making statements that do not tell the whole story. [snip] it is the publics right to get the correct information to make up their own minds.
      Please, Michael, tell me what hormone synchronization and grazing have to do with the scrapie policy. It appears that perhaps you do not understand very much about scrapie. It is not affected by hormone injections or by if a sheep grazes or not. Thank you for pointing out exactly what i have been saying, that Ms. Jones (and yourself) are making this about something that it isn’t. Please show me where in the scrapie policy there is anything in support of hormone injections and/or against grazing sheep. You can twist it around and around, to suit your agenda, but the bottomline is that the scrapie policy does not differentiate based on farm/flock size or management system. It is a disease control program. Is it 100% the best possible thing? Likely not, but it is far better than no disease control whatsoever.
      Perhaps if you would like to change things to what you are wanting, you should educate the consumer. While you are educating them, you should also advise them that they need to take responsibility for their own actions. They need to learn to prepare their food and not expect someone else to watch over every little detail and eliminate any potential risk to them. Otherwise, we and they are going to have to accept that there is going to be someone making and enforcing rules. Simply put, when the consumer is willing to accept the responsibility for ensuring the food they consume is safe, then we can eliminate the rules that get created for their benefit. Good luck with getting the consumer to give up their right to sue and to actually be responsible for the safety of what they purchase to consume.
      I love the backyard chicken thing. Do they just let them free range in the towns or cities? Or do they cage them and feed them prepared feed? Just wondering because if they are caged and fed prepared feed, then aren’t they just small factory farms?
      Nothing against people’s right to choose what they eat. Just against the twisting of information, the use of false information, and censorship to further ones cause. Let’s say what it is, it is one persons fight against regulations which protect the rights of others. Hmmm, isn’t it the democratic way, to protect the majority?

    • Lorri Nelson

      Michael, there is a communication breakdown here. When we say “commercial” sheep, we mean unregistered sheep. That’s all. I am a commercial sheep producer and damn proud of it. My sheep are not full of drugs, antibiotics, or hormones. I raise sheep that are not registered, therefore they are commercial. (Please note, Ms Jones has not registered any sheep for several years, and she also is a commercial sheep producer, when you use the word in its correct context.) When you talk about commercial sheep producers, you are thinking far too grandly. We do not operate a feedlot, we do not run hundreds or thousands of sheep. (But if we did, we would be subject to the same rules regarding a scrapie diagnosis as any small flock.) I found some statistics just the other day from the Canadian Sheep Federation that said the average flock size in this country is 99 head. Factory farms…… I don’t think so. Our lambs run and jump and play just like Ms Jones’s do. I know all my sheep by name.

      That clause in the court document that says, and I quote, “For commercial sheep breeders, the destruction policy constitutes a cost-free, taxpayer-subsidized health insurance for their flocks, since the government pays farmers compensation for disposing of their otherwise worthless sick animals,” is quite likely the most inflammatory, offensive thing I have ever read about the sheep and lamb industry. (And remember, most of Ms Jones’s sheep are not registered, so this statement ironically also applies to her.)
      Your most offensive statement is the one that implies a commercial livestock producer cannot have any passion for what they do.
      You do not understand this issue and like several others posting here and elsewhere, when it comes down to the important part of this issue, the sheep and the people who produce them, your opinion is of little value.

  9. Patric Lyster

    Michael, please explain what is meant by this “I am sure that the practice “shoot, shovel and shut up” are more common than the public knows. It would be common sense to do that instead of loosing a flock of a thousand sheep.” I hope you are not implying that someone with knowledge of scrapie in their flock might just bury the sheep without reporting it. I mean it would have to be someone who really loved their sheep, and wanted to save their flock at all costs, wouldn’t it? Interesting concept, failing to report a reportable disease to not lose sheep. i guess it wouldn’t matter if the flock was big or small, perhaps even more likely with a small flock as the owner would likely be more attached. Glad you brought this to our attention.
    Just so you know, there are some of us, who would rather do the right thing at the risk of losing our flock and years of work in building the flock, because it is better to not risk the rest of the sheep flocks and to ensure that there is a future for sheep producers. I submitted a sample, I dealt with the consequences of a positive case, I am still going, I am rebuilding my flock. I don’t want the efforts of responsible sheep breeders to be in vain.

  10. Mr. Lyster, the math is simple. The destruction order listed 41 sheep. Three of them were already dead when the order was made. We presume that they were included on the order so that Montana could nevertheless obtain compensation for them. That’s how the scrapie-control program works: it provides compensation for quarantined animals that die prior to coerced destruction. Another 7 animals were voluntarily culled between the date of the order (March 23) and the date of anticipated destruction (April 2). So 41 minus 3 minus 7 leaves 31, the number of sheep stolen. All 10 heads were offered to the CFIA for testing.

    Montana sold you a sheep in July 2007 with an ear tattoo that said “WHE 24S”. It also had a mandatory pink ear-tag with a different, all-numeric identifying number as required by the Canadian Sheep Identification Program (CSIP) for traceability. That was the last time Montana saw that sheep or its tattoo or its pink CSIP tag. You have said that that particular sheep died somehow on your farm in December, 2010. We don’t know how it died because you refuse to give us details in writing despite several requests e-mailed to you. The CFIA has said in written correspondence with us that the sheep was euthanized. After I said “euthanized” on a radio show, you wrote in to the radio show host lambasting me for saying that it had been euthanized. But despite my repeated requests for clarification, you still refuse to tell us in writing how that sheep died.

    In any event, after that sheep (which you say was 24S) died, you apparently removed its obex, put it in your freezer for a while, and then sent it in for testing at a lab with several other obexes from your other dead sheep. Montana was not with you that day. She does not know how many obexes you processed from how many different sheep. All she knows is that she got a call from the CFIA asking her what the pink CSIP tag number was for that sheep, because apparently the CSIP tag was not submitted with the obex as it should have been. Apparently the pink tag was lost while the sheep was in your possession. Montana does not know for certain whether the ear was submitted with the obex so that the tattoo could be read. She wasn’t there, and you have never provided a full, clear version of events. Her recollection from telephone conversations with you in early 2010 is that you submitted just the 8 or 9 obexes on the same day without the ears or ear tags or tattoos, some from the freezer, and you hand-labelled the bags for identification purposes. If this is not correct, now is the time to speak up and let us know. If it is correct that multiple samples were prepared on the same day, and hand-labelled after their identifying ear tattoos and pink tags had been separated from the obexes, then Montana can hardly be blamed for wondering whether the obex that tested positive for scrapie was in fact from the sheep she sold you.

    Montana has witnessed the CFIA making clerical errors in recording sheep ID numbers on several occasions. The voluntary cull that took place during the week of March 26 was almost farcical. The CFIA was supposed to take 12 sheep to the abattoir under tight security. They claim to have counted the sheep 3 times before leaving her farm. They arrived at the abattoir, still believing they had 12. They unloaded them and presumably counted them again, since they were under ‘tight security’ and needed to be accounted for and signed off by CFIA and OMAFRA inspectors. The sheep were penned and left, still under highly secure conditions. It was not until the next morning when the sheep were to be slaughtered that the abattoir discovered one was missing. CFIA was not even aware. They had to be informed by the abattoir that the number of animals was wrong. Only 11 were in the “tight security” holding pen. The remaining “escape artist” was eventually located back on the farm, where they had left it. It was never loaded, although their written records indicated it was on board and accounted for several times by CFIA.

    There have been several instances of human error in this case. There is also conflicting scientific evidence on numerous important issues. Montana is being perfectly reasonable in questioning whether her sheep have justifiably been condemned to die.

    Paragraph 25 of the application for judicial review states: “For commercial sheep breeders, the destruction policy constitutes a form of cost-free, taxpayer-subsidized health insurance for their flocks, since the government pays farmers compensation for disposing of their otherwise worthless sick animals.” Much as you may dislike this statement, it is nevertheless true.

    Private livestock insurance is available from at least one company, The Hartford. See this link: http://www.hartfordlivestock.com/ . However, I have never yet spoken with a farmer who went to the expense of purchasing private livestock insurance. All the farmers I’ve discussed it with prefer to self-insure, relying on government-provided subsidies as a supplement. It’s not full compensation, but it’s free to the farmer. The government policy of providing this compensation probably has the effect of “crowding out” private livestock insurers from the marketplace, which is why there seem to be very few competitors in the business. “Crowding-out” is a familiar phenomenon to economists.

    Both levels of government are involved in subsidized livestock insurance programs. Ontario, for instance, paid out $1,292,921 in the year 2008-2009 to compensate farmers for losses to predators. (Link: http://www.agrinewsinteractive.com/archives/article-10610.htm)

    As a taxpayer, I do not wish to pay taxes to compensate farmers whose animals get sick or get killed by predators. Insuring private property against losses should be left to the marketplace. The cost of insurance should be reflected in the cost of the meat. It should not be spread among taxpayers at large. Some taxpayers are vegetarians—why should they be forced to pay for dead animals?

    When governments bury the cost of something in their budgets, market signals get distorted, and inefficiencies occur. It is far better for both producers and consumers to know the real cost of producing meat, milk, wool, etc.

    As for your being offended by the language, please recall that you and I had a telephone conversation on February 8, 2012. I made extensive notes, typing as you spoke. Here is what you told me on this point: “When CFIA offered to pay me compensation for a useless ram, I took it. They did that with an old ewe also that was RR and clearly didn’t have scrapie.” That was your word, “useless”.

    This is exactly the sort of thing that happens when bureaucrats are given the responsibility for spending taxpayers’ money. They attempt to alleviate the anger of the farmer whom they are victimizing by bending the rules and throwing in a bit of extra compensation to ease the pain. Why not?–it’s not their money. No skin off the bureaucrat’s nose. And taxpayers never find out—until the country is bankrupt and everyone is wondering why. It’s because there are thousands of ridiculous programs like the scrapie eradication program out there. Taxpayers don’t even know they exist, but we’re paying for them. Huge bureaucratic empires have been built (the CFIA, for instance, has over 7500 employees) with nobody ever doing an objective cost-benefit analysis to see whether the expense is worth it. Of course, an objective cost-benefit analysis is not really possible when the costs are borne by one group (taxpayers) and the benefits are received by a different group (bureaucrats and subsidy recipients).

    Scrapie has been around for at least 280 years. The scrapie eradication program has been around for about 6 years. Anyone who says this program is essential is ignoring 274 years of history.

    Incidentally, Mr. Lyster, my notes also show that you told me on February 8, 2012: “A lot of people believe in shoot, shovel, shut up. That’s what they told me I should have done. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

    • Patric Lyster

      Ms. Selick, hearsay is hearsay, please produce the evidence of what I said. in the conversation. What i said and what you typed are not necessarily the same thing. As a lawyer, i would have thought that you would know that. Please provide the exact quote, where I said a useless ram. I would like to see the evidence of what I said. Please remeber that ,in my opinion,your track record for reporting the facts is not very good.
      As to the number, it has been reported that 41 sheep were missing, and I have never seen anywhere where Ms. Jones corrected that. You might also read this blog and see your statement as appears in the following quote “Selick said she arrived at Jones’ farm early in the morning dressed in black to mourn the impending destruction of the sheep. “But Montana informed me that she had been the victim of a theft overnight, and that the 41 sheep are gone,” she said, stressing that the disappearance of the sheep “was totally unexpected.”…” So what is the actual number? You are quoted as saying 41, to the media and now you say it is 31. I am afraid that with your ability to present the facts as you have done, in my opinion, your credibility is not that good. Your numbers don’t work too well. 41, 3 died, leaves 38, then you say 7 were voluntarily culled and then in another place you say 11 were voluntarily culled, so we still do not know what the number is. Just the facts, and then we would know.
      In regards to compensation for commercial sheep, what happened to the fact that the program pays for Registered sheep? What about the fact that compensation is paid for sheep that are not sick and worthless? Please state the facts, rather than a twisted version. In regards to private insurance, you had better talk to a few more farmers, and your statement is a lie, because I have purchased individual livestock insurance and you have talked to me, so perhaps, once again you should get your facts straight.
      Your comment about , as a taxpayer not wanting to pay, is correct, but then why shouldI as a non smoker have to pay for smokers? Why should I have to pay so you have streets to drive on? Why should anyone other than lawyers have to pay any taxes that go to support anything that lawyers might benefit from? Same story just a different twist, but then , in my opinion, it would appear that you are saying we should go to a total user pay for your own system, which then why should others pay for your legal services to Ms. Jones? Same thing, just a different circumstance. You can’t have it both ways.
      As to the sheep’s identity, I have offered Ms. Jones to pay for the parentage testing. I am yet to hear from her, to take me up on the offer. Why? Is it because she already knows the truth, but would rather try to imply that i misidentified the sheep? What is she afraid of, to not accept the offer and check out the identity of the sheep? I know there is and can be human error, I also know that DNA verification of the offspring of the ewe was done. Ms. Jones must accept that, otherwise why is she using that information as an argument on her site? Interesting how she wishes to use some information to further her cause, but fails to understand, that for the use of that information as a defense, it means you have to accept some of the other information. Once again, if you wish to imply misidentification and wrongdoing on my part, please present the evidence. Otherwise, get on with facing the facts and quit with the innuendo. I have not forgot your warning about defamation of character, and hopefully you remeber mine. Any day you wish to go to court in that regard, just let me know.

    • Patric Lyster

      Oh and by the way, Ms. Selick, is Ms. Jones refusing compensation for the animals that she voluntarily culled? If not, then I see a major flaw in your reasoning and I hope you realize that by your statements you should no longer be able to be her lawyer, if she accepts any compensation. You as a taxpayer do not want to fund her insurance for her “worthless sick animals”.

    • Patric Lyster

      Ms. Selick, please explain how when all reports were about 41 sheep being destroyed, would the people who stole the sheep, only steal 31 and know which ones they were? If you are saying that the number of sheep was less than the reported number for destruction, then how did they know which ones to take? They should have been stealing 41 and since the list was/is confidential, then please explain how they would know which sheep to steal, and how many, without some information and assistance. I am assuming that Ms. Jones wouldn’t trust anyone else to identify her sheep, as neither you or her seem to believe anyone else can identify a sheep correctly. From Ms. Jones stance, in my opinion, there is no way she would have just let someone else pick out the sheep. To say that she had sorted them the night prior and for someone to know that the sorted off sheep, with the number not matching the order of destruction number, and the “thieves” knowing to steal only those, becomes highly suspect. Give me your legal opinion on how the “thieves” could know without getting confidential information.
      This is not defamation of character, it is a question based in fact. Please note, that Ms. Jones has made comments on a few sites where the reports indicate 41 sheep were stolen, and never once have I found her correcting that misinformation. There is a saying, silence is consent.
      Also in regards to the inability to sell animals, please ask your client if she knows anything about a ram sold to a Shropshire breeder in Ontario, apparently during the quarantine period. Oh and by the way, she has failed to transfer registration papers to the purchaser, which only proves that your point that CFIA could trace via the Canadian Livestock Records site, isn’t always possible.

    • Lorri Nelson

      Ms Selick, that last paragraph is just silly. Why bother posting that? It’s true! A LOT of people might believe in it, nothing wrong with stating a fact. But remember, he didn’t shoot, shovel, and shut up. (Although it sounds like you think he should have.)

      But this misidentification thing has just gone on long enough. It’s sickening; it’s disgraceful. You and your client keep harping about the small farmer as if we over here in Alberta aren’t small farmers. You act like Ms Jones is somehow special or different, and knows all of her sheep individually and by name, and to the rest of us our sheep are just faceless numbers, like an ant colony or something. You imply (and it is just BARELY an implication, it is dangerously close to a libellous statement) that Patric, or I or any other sheep producer for that matter, doesn’t know his/their animals and doesn’t even have the smarts to identify a sample to the correct animal. Like he just chose to assign WHE 24S to any old Shrop that died. (And by the way, who gives a crap how she died? She could have been swooped on by the giant eagles from Middle Earth, it wouldn’t matter; she was dead, he submitted a sample, end of story. He sent the sample because he was on voluntary surveillance; he sent in samples from ALL deadstock.)
      How many times does he have to say that they verified her back to her offspring by DNA? Oh, that’s right, that doesn’t mean anything, because according to you, he wouldn’t know which ones were hers anyway, because he doesn’t know which sheep is which.
      It may interest you to know that the other samples sent in in that batch were not from Shropshires, not a single one.

      I know I’m beating my head against a brick wall here, I know you won’t listen to a word I say. But I am sick to death of the way you and your client are trampling over the sheep industry in this country. The things you say about sheep producers in this country are offensive in the extreme and I hope you know there is a reason why a large portion of Ms. Jones’s support comes from people who do not raise sheep; why some producers involved with rare breeds are distancing themselves from this issue because while they want to support the saving of heritage genetics, they also want to support the eradication of scrapie.

      Lastly, I want you to clear up something for me. If the CFIA scrapie program is a taxpayer-funded form of insurance (you remember the one, don’t you, the one whereby we get paid by the government for our worthless sick sheep?), what is the incentive to shoot, shovel, and shut up? Wouldn’t EVERYBODY be doing surveillance, in case they had scrapie and therefore could get their whole flock destroyed and be handsomely compensated? You make it sound like a really good scam we all want to get in on, because we don’t care if our sheep have scrapie, we just use it as a way to get free money. We send in a sample and wait impatiently hoping to get a positive result for scrapie. Oh boy oh boy I hope I have scrapie so I can get my big government check. (For those of you who didn’t recognize it, that was sarcasm.)

    • thank you Karen Selick for taking the time to present this analysis + rebutal to what bodes to be endless wrangling. Your sentence “When governments bury the cost of something in their budgets, market signals get distorted, and inefficiencies occur” is a gem of common sense

    • Thank you very much for the insightful, refreshing, mature and balanced commentary Ms. Selick.

  11. small farmer

    I don’t think the assumption that anyone who supports this court challenge is uneducated and ignorant of the facts. For me, it is about more than scrapie protocals.

    As a small breeder of heritage animals I have real concerns that our voices are not heard or are ignored by governments and agencies including the CFIA.

    In this case, the government says the national associations representing sheep and goat producers support the protocals and that a deviation from the protocals is available for rare/heritage breeds. I don’t see any indication that Rare Breeds Canada or other groups with expertise and a very direct interest in the outcome were consulted.

    I personally don’t see why the quarantine of QQ sheep could not have continued until other consultations were done and a more acceptable compromise reached with the producer. There was no harm or danger of spreading scrapie (if it is in the flock) until the sheep were moved. While I believe this was a reckless act, I also believe that it would not of occurred if the CFIA had been more reasonable or if there were more opportunities to appeal their decisions before they act.

    Hobby farmers and small rare breed producers are expected to comply with rules and regulations but we do not have input into them. There are more and more protocals and standards being put into place that, in my opinion, are inappropriate for heritage breed animals and/or compromise genetic diversity and adaptability. In addition, entities like the CFIA in this case, or the BCSPCA in a seizure case that comes to mind, are judge, jury and executioner. The only recourse to breeders is usually after the fact and is too expensive or too time intensive or irrelevant because the harm caused cannot be undone.

    While I do not agree with some of the misinformation and comments flying back and forth or some of the events that have occurred, I am glad that someone is drawing a line in the sand and taking this to the courts. I hope they win and set a precedent for more compromise and consultation with all producer groups.

    I think the description of the destruction policy is not inaccurate. I think back to the avian influenza in BC. The long term harm was to the small hatcheries (which ceased to exist) and small breeders who were also “depopulated”. The payments they received were insignificant in terms of what they lost. The level of mitigation the payments provided large commercial producers allowed them to quickly recover.

    I hope that some good can come out of this unfortunate situation. I believe that more consideration and encouragement has to be given to small farmers, traditional methods and on farm genetic diversity of heritage breeds. Right now, I see the opposite of that happening in Canada.

    • Patric Lyster

      I hope that you have read up on the transmission of scrapie. There were other sheep sold from that flock. If 1 sheep sold had scrapie, then others could have. The flock was offered a means to preserve genetics, but refused. The reasoning behind not allowing for the long quarantine is likely due to the risk of spreading via other previously sold sheep, if any of them were positive. The trace out and trace in information was not provided in a timely manner, to allow checking of sheep sold or to check flocks from which, Ms. jones had purchased. The main reason to not allow the long quarantine period was most likely a case of the risk of waiting for so long, in case of a positive, when they were dealing with someone who, in my opinion was being less than cooperative.
      To say that CFIA does not listen to breeders of heritage/rare breeds shows how little you know of the facts. Fact, the old policy was to destroy a whole flock where a case of scrapie was found. The first instance of using genotypes to preserve genetics was done on a farm with rare breeds. The science was presented to CFIA, and they checked it out and changed their policy to match. The first time anyone was allowed to keep QQ ewes alive, mate them to a RR ram and thus preserve some genetics was done witha flock with rare/heritage breeds. The science was presented to CFIA, they studied and worked out a workable program, so genetics were preserved. To note, Ms. Jones proposed semen collection. That is already in CFIA’s protocol. (only issue appears that it was at the owner’s expense, and according to Ms. Selick, that is as it should be, because no one else should have to subsidize it)
      As to input, have you ever contacted CFIA with your input, or are you expecting them to come to you and ask? Unless you express your concerns to them it is unlikely they will know how you feel. I realize that they tend to get their information from associations, the Canadian Sheep Federation and provincial organizations. You can have input into those as well. Personally, if i do not agree, I will contact CFIA and ask why the rule is in place. Sometimes it makes total sense, and sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, I look at alternatives and science/fact based information of why or how it can be changed. I then present that to whomever might be able to make the change. I have sent information to many levels and direct to CFIA. I personally know that changes can happen.
      Could you please explain more in regards to the expertise of Rare Breeds Canada ?

    • perfect example : the so-called “avian flu” stupidity … to any honest objective assessment, was just a way to eliminate the small hatcheries. Monopoly always seeks to impose perfect absence of competition

      with the raw milk issue in BC ; in his oral Reasons after our hearing of April 2oth 2012 Mister Justice Williams stated that he’d heard my argument that the govt. has a “positive duty to consult ” yet did not. He said that’s an issue for our trial, now set for June 7 2012

  12. Patric Lyster

    I see once again that censorship is alive and well. When a person asks for pertinent information and presents facts, you do not wish to moderate the comments. However when someone wishes to state things that contradict what they have said elsewhere, that is perfectly acceptable. At least I now know that this is only to be a one sided presentation of things. Or is it a case that you don’t feel that Ms. Jones and Ms. Selick are capable of defending themselves? You have afforded them the opportunity to state there view, so why not allow me the same.

    • Patric Lyster

      I am still waiting for 3 posts to be put up. As i said before, it is good to see that censorhsip is alive and well. My factua replies to Ms. Selick with questions asking about her stance and reasoning, are not posted. Why? Why also is my factual response to small framer, not posted? In light of the positive scrapie result from another sheep from Ms. Jones farm, it is perhaps notewirthy to actually view the facts, and not just a one sided version, especially when you consider that some people keep having issues with keeping their facts straight.

  13. Patric Lyster

    Amazing how you will allow Ms. selick to contradict herself and post totally false information but will not allow a fcatual response. Please note that this site quotes Ms. Selick saying tha Ms. Jones said the 41 sheep were gone, but according to Ms. Selick’s reply on here, 3 had died and 7 were sacrificed (or was it 11 sacrificied, hard to tell as she can’t match her own numbers) so there were only 31 sheep. So why did she say 41 before when she already knew that number was wrong? So why would Ms. Jones have told her the 41 shep were gone when there was only 31 stolen? Talk about a lack of wanting the facts stated. Also note, Ms. Selick wishes to question my character and identification of a sheep. So it is only fair that I can question her ability to present the facts. Also when she lies, it is only proper that I can say that it is a lie. It is not my fault that she does not check her facts before she types a reply.

  14. thebovine

    Ah yes, found those three posts you mentioned. Sometimes we at the Bovine get tired of moderating repetitive material and let it slip down to page 2 of the comments list. I should note that any editing out here (as indicated by [snip]) is primarily for ad hominem attack rather than for disagreement with the argument. See our comment policy page for more on that. I must say this argument over the sheep has gone on rather for a long time and I don’t think we’ve ever had a case before in the two year history of the Bovine, where a single commenter has had so much to say in such a fractious tone.

    As has been said elsewhere (not sure exactly who I’m paraphrasing here) commenting on a blog is like being a guest at a dinner party. If you come across as unpleasant and disrespectful or as an embarrassment to your host, you may not be invited back. As for freedom of speech, everyone is free to write their own blog. We’re not undertaking to provide a platform here for anyone to endlessly declaim their own views on the issues we present, as though we had an obligation to publish them.

  15. BC Food Security

    Thank you Bovine Editor for the clarifications. Many of us who read the BOVINE devotedly abhor the recent “character assassinations”. Most of us are unpaid activists, as it is , who find it disheartening that negative ,angry people are given so much undeserved and free publicity . Almost immediately such personalities dominate the conversation with the stench of their hatred crowding out the very people we are trying to support and who mostly have something new, useful and empowering to contribute . Lawyer Karen Selick (and the CCF ) has contributed (and outright donated ) an enormous amount of time, energy , wisdom and expertise in support of the Food Freedom Movement in Canada (not too mention to the Bovine blog ) and deserves to be celebrated and applauded every inch of the way EVEN IF one does not agree with a specific viewpoint or action or step. A reminder that there is a donation button in the upper right corner and that money goes toward the unfunded work of the CCF which is not only currently supporting Ontario Sheep Farmer Montana Jones’s legal rights and campaign , but also Michael Schmidt’s 18 year quest to make Organic ‘Raw Milk’ legal in Canada .

  16. thebovine

    As a further clarification in response to three subsequent comments which we’re not posting because of their disrespectful tone, I don’t really know where the truth lies in this particular argument, but I’m tired, and I gather others are also tired of wading through arguments against other people rather than against their points of view. Maybe some folks just don’t yet get how civil discussion can be carried on without such hostility; maybe this can be a step along their journey.

    I think the arguments on this subject have been pretty much laid out by now and I’m not going to post any more comments here that drag down the tone of discussion onto a personal level. That’s editorial discretion, in case you’re wondering.

    Let it be noted that, earlier on, we had removed sections of comments from both parties here that were found objectionable, just for the record.

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