Raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt on “saving the sheep from the wolves”

Sheep photo by Laura Berman, via Montana Jones’ “Save our Shrops” FB page.

The ongoing obsession of bureaucrats and helpless politicians to regulate every step we take and bite we eat has made us into graceful dancers between the dream of freedom and our so called civil duty to obey the law.

Yes indeed it is a dance around the search for humanity.

We are remembering those who resisted in the past. We admire Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Mandela but tolerate and welcome the current enslavement which is taking place in our daily life through those who claim to know better than us.

The obsession from people to demand from government protection has made most of society into willing sheep ready to be slaughtered in exchange for something, something I don’t know, I guess.

I want to suggest that we all dedicate the year 2014 to MONTANA JONES who is indeed a very special person. She is a rare individual, who selflessly defended and continues to defend with her life the senseless destruction of life.

As strange as it seems, the more I study the patterns of behavior of bureaucrats, government investigators, government lawyers and their foot soldiers,  the more I begin to understand that freedom and justice remain abstract as long we think we have it. WE DO NOT HAVE FREEDOM NOR JUSTICE.

Canadian politicians pride themselves on the international stage that we are  the best country in the world; however we clearly have lost the moral standing to teach others; actually we never had it in the first place.

Whereas North America was once a pioneer to explore new governance, it has now become the leader in modern slavery, which includes Canada as well.

Why Montana Jones?

Most everyone knows that she is the ” shepherd ” who defended with heart and soul her rare breed sheep against cold blooded bureaucrats, which had ordered the destruction of her Shropshire sheep in the name of international trade and policy.

The criminal actions of the CFIA bureaucrats triggered the last minute abduction of the sheep by the FARMERS PEACE CORP with an offer to find an alternative to killing or conclusive evidence that in fact these sheep had scrapie.

Unfortunately after a few months the CFIA discovered the sheep on Miro Malish’s farm close to Chesley. Four people were subsequently arrested and charged with conspiracy. One of them is Montana Jones. All of the accused (Montana Jones, Robert Pinnell, Susan Atkinson and myself, Michael Schmidt) face severe penalties including jail according to the wishes of the prosecution.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation has taken on the defense with Shawn Buckley as the lead defense lawyer.

It has been over a year since our arrest and almost 2 years since the sheep disappeared and no progress has been made to get this case to trial.

The CFIA  is working overtime to throw every legal tactic in our way with the intention that our funds will run out and a proper defense impossible to mount.

Another dance indeed.

Montana Jones, lawyer Shawn Buckley, Michael Schmidt

Montana is a brave woman, a brilliant writer, a principled defender of life, and a passionate shepherd.

She needs all our support to be able to expose for the public record at trial every detail of senseless Government policy and action worthy of a police state.

No trial date in sight, no pre-trial date in sight but a lot of bureaucrats and investigators having a great time because they get paid big time to enforce the criminal behavior  of a Government agency, which has no parliamentary oversight.

Let’s lent all our support to Montana Jones, who is fighting on our behalf to save sheep from the wolves.

Let the sheep safely graze again.

The Globe and Mail’s take on the story, from Adrian Morrow, Aug 6, 2012:

“It began in 2010, when a Shropshire sheep from Wholearth Farmstudio in Trent Hills died of scrapie, a neurological illness. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency quarantined Wholearth’s flock of Shropshires – a rare heritage breed – and ultimately directed the herd be slaughtered.

The night before they were slated to be killed in April, someone kidnapped all 31 of them from Wholearth, leaving behind a note saying the animals were in “protective custody.” It was signed by a group calling itself the Farmers’ Peace Corps. Farm owner Montana Jones denied having anything to do with the abduction.

Twenty-six of the sheep were eventually found nearly 300 kilometres away, on a farm in Grey County, and were killed. The others are still missing.

Michael Schmidt, a prominent dairy farmer who has battled the province to legalize unpasteurized milk, waded into the fray to act as an unofficial spokesman for the Farmers’ Peace Corps.

At 7 a.m. on Thursday, he says, CFIA investigators armed with search warrants arrived at his farm to seize computers and cellphones. He would not discuss his exact connection to the Farmers’ Peace Corps, but said he is being investigated on suspicion of conspiracy….”

Read more on the Globe and Mail.

The Bovine asked Montana Jones to comment on the Globe story. The sheep saga is a convoluted one, which is probably why the Globe reporter glossed over some of the intricacies. Montana expanded on some of those details in response to our questions:

The Bovine: Was that sheep referred to in the first paragraph of the Globe story actually diagnosed with scrapie? And if so, how much time passed between that diagnosis and the time it left your herd?

Montana Jones: I sold several sheep to Alberta back in July of 2007.  One of them was a yearling named Wholearth Alder 24S, born May 09 2006. That is the one that tested positive in Alberta in that flock (as did several others unrelated to mine, and of different breeds).  I first learned about it from CFIA on Mon. 25 Jan 2010 when they called me to say that sheep tested positive. The producer told me he had euthanized it in the previous months (Nov or Dec 2009) and put it’s obex tissue in a freezer, along with several other samples from other sheep of various breeds that had died on that Alberta producers farm. Then 6 or 8 or so frozen samples were sent in for testing. I had initially wondered why so many dead sheep heads were stored in the freezer, that is….why so many had died. That is also why I questioned the identification of it..because in a phone conversation, then in an email to me he stated he had not submitted the pink ear tag….so it could be easy to mix up all the samples.

The second sheep I mentioned that CFIA claimed was a positive, died here on April 19th, 2012 . She was a 6.5 year old ewe whose own mother was 13 years old…ie, healthy and obviously did not have scrapie either. I was awaiting the judicial trial in which the central point was that no sheep had ever been found to have scrapie here on my farm.  Boom.  They made one up.  I kick myself for not taking my own sample tissue before they took the whole thing.

I have copied and pasted the following from the http://ShropshireSheep.org site:

The Alberta sheep Wholearth Alder WHE24S that tested positive was born at the Wholearth farm five years ago. Is it possible that sheep contracted the disease from another source, enroute to Alberta or at the Alberta farm?

Yes.  CFIA has thus far been unable to determine how the sheep in the Alberta case was infected and have decided that since they do not know they wish to destroy all the QQ genotype sheep in the Wholearth flock, despite the absence of any signs of scrapie in the flock, and despite the fact that all have tested negative.

** Wholearth Alder WHE24S ewe gave birth to two lambs . How come both of them tested negative for scrapie?

CFIA has indicated to us that they believe scrapie is passed on to the offspring and infected via birthing (but not necessarily). They also state that a QQ genotype is susceptible so it would be almost certain that a QQ offpspring of an infected scrapie positive mother such as WHE 24S ewe would pass scrapie on to one or both of her offpspring lambs PDN84W ( ARQ/ARQ) and PDN96U (ARR/ARQ) .  However, both of the offspring  tested negative.  How is this possible? This raises even more questions surrounding the possible misidentification of WHE 24S or the possiblility she contracted it on the Alberta farm after birthing.

The Bovine: Although the story doesn’t mention it, I understand that all the sheep taken from your farm by the CFIA to be slaughtered, subsequently tested negative for scrapie. Was that the case? 

Montana Jones: In spring of 2012 I had a judicial review before the courts where I intended to point out to the judge that no sheep on my farm had ever been found to be scrapie positive—and thus my flock should not be killed based on suspicion only. A successful ruling would have meant that CFIA would not be allowed to kill my sheep since no positive had ever been found. CFIA needed a positive to counter that judicial review, and did not have one.

In April  one of my older sheep became ill with pregnancy toxemia. She was not on the CFIA’s original destruction order because she had a VRQ genotype, which CFIA say is not susceptible to scrapie. The ewe seemed to have been pining for its missing flockmates since they’s been gone missing earlier that month, and stopping eating caused her decline in nutrition, which results in pregnancy toxemia.

I called the CFIA vet Dr. Douglas MacLeod who was in charge of the case, and he had examined the ewe the day before it died. He claimed she was in very good body condition, with no signs nor symptoms of scrapie. He agreed with my diagnosis that she had toxemia, but did not offer treatment.

I told him I knew my sheep, and that she was going to die, and the toxemia was caught too late…and could he please euthanize her.  He disagreed and said she looked “Very comfortable”.

She was dead next day.

CFIA alleged it tested positive for scrapie. I have no doubt that is entirely false. Numerous facts suggest that test result could be a ‘mistake’ (I use the term generously), for the following reasons:

They didn’t pick up or test tissue until it was spoiled. In hindsight I should have saved tissue to test myself, as they refuse to allow to make it available for third party testing by a private lab.

1) There were no scrapie symptoms in the alleged positive before she died, when the CFIA veterinarian heading the case agreed with my diagnosis of my sheep, and confirmed that the sheep 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. {http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3864753?uid=3739448&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=3737720&uid=4&sid=47698971872807}

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. {http://shropshiresheep.org/2012/04/28/cfia-raids-farm-to-seize-and-kill-9-shropshire-sheep/ }

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

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.{http://shropshiresheep.org/2012/05/01/shepherd-obtains-false-government-document/}

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

Oh… and those missing sheep referred to on the Globe story were indeed found and tested negative as well. CFIA hid the story originally…didn’t even tell me till months later when I asked after i read it in the disclosure.

The Bovine: I hear from Elise that Michael will be in court tomorrow trying to get his passport back. Will you be there too? If so, where is this court and what is the scope of tomorrow’s proceedings.

Montana Jones:  Yes I will be there…a lawyer from Toronto will be an agent for Shawn Buckley.  Oshawa court…150 Bond Street. It is a Bail Review hearing for both of us for them to release the conditions.  One is to give us back our passports/ Allow us to leave Ontario/ and speak to one another so we can organize fundraiser events  for our legal fees. This Bail Hearing has been bumped again and again and should have been reviewed over a year ago when we were first arrested. Right now under our bail conditions we can only speak to one another if our lawyer Shawn Buckley is present, and only about our case. ( Keep in mind the Crown is trying to remove our lawyer as they do not want him to represent us both- but that is a separate court hearing.)

Previous stories about the Montana Jones case, on the Bovine

Montana Jones’ GoFundMe page

Montana Jones with CFIA enforcement officer at her farm. Photo via “Save our Shrops” FB page.

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One response to “Raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt on “saving the sheep from the wolves”

  1. Pingback: The Tyranny of “Normal” | Hither & Yon…

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