It’s important to put the recent scrapie incident in perspective (Eradicating Scrapie – letter, May 1). The neurodegenerative disease has been around for at least 280 years; the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s scrapie eradication program has been in existence for fewer than 10 years. Obviously, sheep and goats made it through the centuries without this government program.
There’s good reason to question whether the program is an effective use of taxpayers’ dollars. Some studies have indicated that the slaughter of specific genotypes to prevent one form of scrapie predisposes the “national flock” to greater susceptibility to other forms of disease. Some experts have questioned whether eradication is possible at all.
A CFIA official has acknowledged that, sometimes after a spike in cases, “nobody wants to report a case because of the bad economics … [so suddenly] you have two years of very few cases.” In other words, the draconian nature of the program may promote the practice of “shoot, shovel and shut up.”
Karen Selick, lawyer for Montana Jones, Belleville, Ont.