NEWMARKET, Ont. — A six-year battle by a shepherd trying to protect her flock of rare sheep from government slaughter ended under an avalanche of more than 14,000 pages of paperwork Monday.
An Ontario Superior Court of Justice judge threw out charges against Linda “Montana” Jones, an eastern Ontario sheep breeder, and Michael Schmidt, a well-known agricultural scofflaw, blaming prosecutors and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for its reluctant disclosure of massive amounts of government documents.
It brings to a close the strange yarn of a fugitive flock, secretly removed from Jones’ farm hours before the CFIA arrived to slaughter them.
It started in 2010 when a sheep in Alberta tested positive for scrapie (a degenerative disease similar to the “mad cow disease” that affects cattle). The CFIA said it came from Jones’ farm where she bred Shropshires, a rare breed that traces its lineage to the first sheep imported to Canada from England. Her farm was placed under quarantine and the CFIA moved to slaughter her flock as Jones fought to keep them.
On April 2, 2012, when CFIA officers and police arrived at her farm, 170 kilometres east of Toronto, with an order to destroy 31 sheep they learned the flock had gone missing during the night….”
Kudos to the National Post for their continuing interest in this story, despite all those years of publication bans during the pretrial hearings. – Ed.