From Zeb Landon:
The disease that CFIA suspects Montana Jones’ sheep of carrying poses no threat to humans. Agriculture Canada is merely anxious to protect Canada’s export market for sheep, we are led to suppose. And the CFIA presumes the right to interfere in a farm, either because they genuinely believe there is a risk, or, which seems no less likely, simply because they feel bound to maintain a public image of absolute safety.
So it seems the government’s calculation boils down to its presumed right to snuff out Montana Jones’ years of work to maintain a flock of the rare Shropshire breed, since her enterprise apparently counts for very little in their eyes — as against the much “larger” collective commercial interests of other sheep owners in Canada, whose prosperity is impacted by the sheep export market, and that could be threatened by the presence of Scrapies disease in Canadian sheep. But I don’t understand why quarantine would not meet the government’s objective to protect their export ‘image’.
Whether Montana could still maintain an income while keeping this rare stock in quarantine may be a practical consideration. I suppose her flock could both grow in numbers with a few sheep periodically being sold for meat, providing income while still respecting a quarantine. But taking away the very gene pool she values undermines her whole motivation for her enterprise.
I will be interested to see what a court will eventually rule — since it appears clear that Montana’s rights were unnecessarily and excessively ‘stepped on’ (and with a boot!), given the normal adequacy of a quarantine.
Excessive force = violence. That ‘unnecessary use of force constitutes violence’ I think was Pierre Trudeau’s thesis.
Besides their rough trampling on rights, the CFIA, whom one assumes are scientifically trained, ought to appreciate as irreplaceable the gene pool which they are wiping out. That seems quite inexcusable in scientists. Agriculture Canada could also research more what causes Scrapies, rather than obsess on the notion of “communicable” disease.
I do hope the CFIA and/or the Minister of Agriculture can come to a solution to restore justice to the farm.
Zeb has been a longtime reader of The Bovine. He originally posted this as a comment on an earlier story.
The LifeStock event fundraiser at Montana Jones’ farm is taking place today, starting at 10:30 am and probably running all day and into the night.