Montana Jones on the Shropshire sheep

From shepherd Montana Jones: 

My main goal in this ongoing Shropshire saga has been for Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz to implement a Heritage Breed Exemption to the current Scrapie Protocol, which would protect and conserve the genetic diversity of all rare heritage breeds in Canada, not just the Shropshires.

Still no evidence that the positive found on Patric Lyster’s Alberta farm was a sheep that originated on my farm. CFIA’s DNA lab report (which I have not seen despite requests) has only proven that two offspring born on the Alberta farm were out of a sheep there. But for the sake of (no) argument, let’s say it was indeed the same sheep that originated on my farm. Experts agree that that sheep 24S could have contracted the disease after it left my farm, which has a history of no scrapie nor symptoms for the entire 12 years since my flocks existence.

I believe in controlling scrapie, however I also believe in preserving rare heritage genetics. I’ve been open to co-operating with Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to discover if scrapie does indeed lie somewhere within my flock, but with a considered approach in view of it’s rare breed status. I even proposed sacrificing more than half my beloved flock towards finding out . They refused. Perhaps had CFIA and I worked together, the sheep might not have been taken by Farmers’ Peace Corps {} .

CFIA now claims that a different sheep just tested positive on my farm.  Numerous facts suggest that test result could be a ‘mistake’, for the following reasons:

1) There were no scrapie symptoms in the alleged positive the day before it died, when the CFIA veterinarian heading the case confirmed it was likely ill due to pregnancy toxemia.

2)  The alleged positive was over 6 years old. Scrapie commonly affects sheep between 2 and 3 years old, rarely after 5 years old. {}

3) Scrapie is generally transmitted from an infected scrapie positive mother to it’s offspring via birthing fluids.  Yet the 13-year old pregnant mother of the alleged positive was healthy (until CFIA killed her). She tested negative for scrapie. { }

4) The alleged positive was not one of CFIA’s specified high risk genetic cohorts, it was a VRQ/ARQ.

5) CFIA and Jones are engaged in judicial review currently before the courts. CFIA needed a positive to counter that review, and did not have one prior to their alleged positive.

6) A false government document certified that some of Jones’ sheep were “contaminated by scrapie”, 20 days BEFORE the samples were even shipped to the testing lab.{}

7) CFIA refuses blind third-party testing. Why not have the DNA and obex brain tissue speak for themselves?

8) History of CFIA errors { }


This is not just about our government devastating Canada’s dwindling heritage breeds, but another example of the need to shine a very bright light on all questionable, intransigent government tactics and draconian protocol.



Filed under News

8 responses to “Montana Jones on the Shropshire sheep

  1. Lorri Nelson

    I suggest this post is libelous and Ms Jones and this site both had better be prepared for the consequences. Please note that any site that moderates the comments before posting is equally liable. Copies have been saved of everything so deleting the post will not help.

  2. thebovine

    Lorri, if you are concerned that something said about you here is libelous, the polite course of action would be to request its removal. I think you’ll agree that we have been exceedingly, and some would say excessively indulgent in publishing strongly worded statements from both parties in this mysterious and ongoing controversy.

    In response to your comment we did remove a section that you might have been bothered by.

    As mentioned earlier, we regard commenting on this blog as 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.

    Threatening to sue your host is very much looked down upon at this particular dinner party, and it can be a sure way to make yourself “personna non grata” and excluded from further discussions. In an attempt to be fair, however, we are willing to entertain apologies for that last threat, Lorri.

    • Patric Lyster

      How come you posted information from Ms. Jones that you have since snipped? That would appear to contradict what you are saying. If Ms. Jones would present the facts, then I have no issue with that, but when she continually questions my character and continues to post falseand misleading information, i will respond. If you do not wish to put up my comments, then that is fine, but it also opens a whole new can of worms. If you do not wish to post both sides, it may be advisable to not post anything from either side.
      I would like Ms. Jones to provide her facts and not try to present her story based on what she says. I have asked over and over for what statements that I have nade which are not factual, with no response. Why? If I have said things that are not fact then prsesent me with the erroneous information and the correct facts, and I will retract it and apologize. I have aso offered to pay for DNA testing which would prove where WHE 24S came from. Why has Ms. Jones not taken me up on the offer? Is she afraid that the evidence will prove what she may already know and take away much of her argument against the order of destruction? I am not saying that she does, but then if that tag is so important, why did she not list it on the bill of sale?
      I think that perhaps she should provide better evidence for her claims. Death is a symptom of scrapie and she has had a number of deaths in her proclaimed “healthy” sheep. Why so many are dying, I am not sure. Also why would a breeder that has been raising Shropshires for 12 years have a flock of 75head consisting of 31 unusabale, unwanted ones and only 44 others? In my opinion, a conscientious breeder would have culled out the unusable, unwanted genetics long before any of them could reach 13 years of age. Also why would you breed a ewe that is unusable and unwanted? How come Ms. Jones had at least 1 daughter off of an unusable, unwanted sheep. That daughter Lava, was also unusable and unwanted. Interesting, In my opinion, the facts presented by Ms. Jones would inidcate that perhaps she is having problems with presenting her side of the story in a consistent manner.
      She has been quoted in the National Post as saying ” “In the 12 years I’ve had the flock I’ve not seen any symptoms of scrapie. It is pretty obvious when they have it.” I would wonder how she knows this, unless she has seen a number of sheep with scrapie. From her statement, in my opinion, it seems that she has more knowledge than the eperts and can visually tell if a sheep has scrapie. Real interesting, if you ever look up the symptoms of scrapie, as almost all are also symptoms of other diseases, also. Don’t take my word for it, just look it up online. Also look up to see just how often the “classical” symptoms appear. I am not aware of anyone who can actually diagnose a sheep as having scrapie by visual appearance, just as I am unaware of anyone who can definitively diagnose that a sheep does not have scrapie by visual appearance. As to relevance of my statements, if you do a little research and check out the science and check out what arguments Ms. jones is using, you will see the relevance. Such things as what happened to the dam and grand-dam of WHE 24S, are relevant if you chekc out the most common way scrapie is transmitted. The age of her flock is relevant as sheep with Scrapie, rarely live to an old age. The fact that WHE 24S and Lava were born only days apart, has relevance due to how scrapie is commonly spread. The age of death is an indication of the level of exposure, as it has been proven that animals subject to a lower level of exposure to scrapie, have a longer incubation period. Look at the most common means of transmission and it is evident that a lamb can get it, in varous ways, from other than its own dam. Also to note, Ms. Jones herself, and her lawyer, have stated that the ARQ VRQ sheep are susceptible, so the case of Lava being positive fits their information, so what is the argument now? Yes, CFIA should have ordered her destroyed. a major oversight on their part, but in the end a good one, otherwise the scrapie positive sheep would have been stolen and potentially been infecting many more sheep, when she lambed. So, yes CFIA does make errors, and in this case it appears it was a good error. In my opinion, Ms. Jones has proven by her black and white comment that she doesn’t believe anything that I post, and therefore, she doesn’t believe the facts that i post. That is her right, but just because she doesn’t wish to believe the facts, doesn’t mean they are not the facts.

  3. Lorri Nelson

    Apparently I didn’t need to request its removal. You’ve already removed the offensive stuff. Thank-you for that. But really, it’s the truth- any site that moderates the comments before they post them is liable, that’s the way defamation law works. I just wish you’d moderated hers before you put it up, not edited it after the fact. She is getting away with a lot here, and if you choose to support her that’s fine. But you can’t get upset by anything we post unless you are willing to concede that the things she posts are way out of line. Other than that, well, if you choose to post her one-sided story as fact, I can’t stop you. But we know the facts she is leaving out, or misrepresenting, and we have the right to post them. Maybe not here, that’s fine, nobody forced you. I’ll be ready with my apology when I get one from you for posting that crap, and one from Ms Jones.

  4. thebovine

    Thank you for helping us clarify our comment policy, Lorri. I take it you withdraw your legal threat?

    I really don’t think it’s about us supporting Montana in particular. It’s more that we’re supporting food rights and the rights of farmers to be free of arbitrary government actions. We don’t really know much more about the whole thing than what’s been published here.

    • Patric Lyster

      I have no issue with supporting food rights and rights of farmers to be free of government regulations, when they are unnecessary. i have fought goverment reguation out here for some time. Mostly in the regards to sales of meat. I do agree that people should have the right to drink raw milk, i do it myself. I do however, not agree with one farmer having the right to jeopardize numerous other farmers livelihoods, by their actions or inactions.

  5. Lorri Nelson

    Of course I withdraw the legal threat, you removed the offensive part! 🙂

    Doesn’t mean we may not see Ms Jons in court someday, though, if she isn’t more careful with her comments.

    Farmers do have the right to be free of arbitrary government actions. But we also have the right to try and keep our industry healthy, sustainable, growing, and hopefully seen in a positive light. The sheep industry ain’t lookin’ so rosy right now, and it’s because that quarantined flock is not where it’s supposed to be. I also hope that people reading paragraph 25 of their court document realize what an offensive piece of lawyerspeak that is. Because if they read it as valid, it just further denigrates the image of the Canadian sheep producer.

    Really, I don’t know if Ms Jones thinks she’s standing up for the small sheep producer, if she sees herself as some kind of hero, I just don’t know. What I do know is she is not doing sheep producers any favors.

    Thanks for reading.

  6. Patric Lyster

    For information and thought.
    I didn’t agree with the CFIA policy so I made a proposal that has become the basis of their pilot project. I have never said it is perfect, but it is better than losing the genetics completely. Using the scientific facts it would perhaps have been ossible to keep the rams alive long enough to use them to mate to daughters of the ewes on the order of destruction, thus giving you sheep with at least 75% of the original genetics. I know where there might have been a ram available that already contained Wholearth genetics, and might just be an RR. But then according to Ms. Jones, that sheep couldn’t possibly have traditional Shropshire genetics. An interesting side note,is that Ms. Jones tried to buy genetics from me, in the past. Failing that she bought a son off a ram i sold to another breeder. Why, if my sheep and the American genetics don’t have breed character, would she have done that?
    Also note that there are some breeders with Jackson genetics ou there. Also, all Shropshires in canada can be traced to imports from the UK. There has never been a recreation and even if the Americans did cross in something else, their is still one side of the pedigree (at minimum) that can be traced to imports from the UK.

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