No other story in the nearly three year history of the Bovine blog has generated the kind of ongoing heated debate that we’ve seen around the Montana Jones Shropshire sheep saga. Here is the latest:
**CFIA Sheep/Scrapie NEWS UPDATE ** ALL 9 killed are negative for scrapie.
May 3: Hastings, ON— CFIA seized and killed 9 pregnant Shropshire sheep on Saturday to determine their health status, as CFIA suspected the animals were infected with scrapie. The CFIA Ottawa lab test results now indicate they have all tested NEGATIVE for scrapie.
The group included the dam of the animal that CFIA claims tested positive for scrapie, despite the fact she showed no symptoms of the disease. The mother, who was due to have more lambs next week, is pictured here just prior to CFIA loading and killing the sheep on Saturday. She was 13 years old, which is unusual longevity for a sheep, which generally live to 6 or 7 years of age.
CFIA repots that scrapie is most often passed on in birthing fluids, however this dam of the alleged positive was healthy and robust, and tested negative. Owner Montana Jones said, ” I’ve again requested DNA and obex tissue samples from CFIA, so a third party lab can re-test to determine if there was an ‘error’ in their alleged positive, as all other findings still indicate there is no scrapie in my flock…or what’s left of them.”
“Hide & go sheep: Woolly Houdini raises questions about how agency fights livestock disease
Houdini, a year-old ram bleating and blinking indifferently on an Ontario farm, stands as testament to the skepticism his impassioned shepherd has for the government agency that says her flock is contaminated with a deadly neurological disease.
The lamb, named after the legendary escape artist, is supposed to be dead; his head severed and brain sliced to allow a government laboratory to test for scrapie, a degenerative disease in sheep similar to mad cow disease in cattle.
Instead, Houdini — with his black nose and shaggy wool, his left ear still pierced with the yellow tag from the day he was marked for destruction — remains at the farm of Linda “Montana” Jones, 170 kilometres east of Toronto.
When agents with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency came last month to monitor the killing of 12 quarantined sheep in an ongoing scrapie scare, the animals were caught, tagged and loaded into a truck for the trip to a slaughterhouse, she said….”
“Young Italians flock to become shepherds
As Italy’s unemployment rate topped 10pc this week, it emerged that young people are flocking to become shepherds.
Traditionally the preserve of older men, the profession has recently attracted 3,000 young Italians, according to agricultural body Coldiretti.
They are choosing a simple life in the great outdoors because their aspirations to become doctors, lawyers or engineers have been thwarted by Italy’s negligible economic growth, which has been compounded by grinding austerity measures.
Davide Bortoluzzi, 25, has a degree in surveying from a technical institute but, unable to find a job, now keeps a watchful eye on a flock of 400 sheep in the Dolomites of northern Italy….”