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“Ask the folks who drink it” — Raw milk views expressed in recent letters to the editor of the Richmond Hill Liberal

 One of our readers send this in to the Bovine’s galactic headquarters. Firstly, here’s a photo of the poster that Lois was referring to in her original letter (farther down in this post):

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Raw milk awareness poster from York Region (Ontario, Canada). Thanks to an alert reader of the Bovine for sending us this photo.

I was reading The Liberal (Richmond Hill local paper) and came across this letter-to-the-editor:

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Agree with letter writer on raw milk

Richmond Hill Liberal

Re: LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Region’s raw milk poster offensive, misleading, Nov. 11.

Although I don’t drink raw milk, I agree with Lois Banks’ letter. Over the last few months, I have been following the regional and provincial governments’ persecution of a local farmer and his family. It is beyond disturbing that for years, these ethical, knowledgeable individuals have been intimidated, harassed, and dragged through the courts. And why? — for the sole purpose of preventing them from legally providing clean and healthy raw dairy products to people in a closed co-op group. The harassment continues.

If the government believes these products to be unsafe, they should regulate them through legitimate third party testing. It’s hypocritical of governments to engage in these bullying practices when large corporations are free to sell known carcinogens, such as those found in tobacco products. It’s very apparent that tax revenues take priority over citizens’ health. This is yet another illustration of our government engaging in David vs. Goliath tactics.

It is also completely unacceptable that our increasingly stretched tax dollars should be used in such a wasteful manner.

Surely in a democracy, unwarranted government interference in the food and drink choices of its citizens is an infringement of basic human rights.

Ann Marie Fish
Richmond Hill


http://www.yorkregion.com/opinion-story/7024456-letter-to-the-editor-agree-with-letter-writer-on-raw-milk/

There’s also the original letter:

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Region’s raw milk poster offensive, misleading

Richmond Hill Liberal

Dear fellow citizens,

York Region’s raw milk poster is offensive and misleading. There are more kinds of milk than this.

Raw milk, like any ‘raw’ or ‘pasteurized’ food, can make you sick if contaminated.

People who drink unpasteurized milk do so mostly because they wish to have whole organic or biodynamic foods, support sustainable farming and consume food from local farmers.

Thousands are drinking milk from goats, sheep, buffalo and cows. Canadians are free under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to eat and drink what they wish, follow their own conscience, and pursue happiness and health.

Canada is the only G8 country where unpasteurized milk is not regulated and sold in stores. Why not regulate milk here too?

The Queen of England drinks raw milk and so do all of her children and grandchildren.

If you want to understand the bigger picture and find out where our current milk laws originated, see the documentary Farmageddon.

Thousands are dying from cigarette-related diseases and other things. Let’s put the focus where it really is needed.

Lois Banks
Richmond Hill

http://www.yorkregion.com/opinion-story/6959925-letter-to-the-editor-region-s-raw-milk-poster-offensive-misleading/

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Did infected sheep come from U.S.?

This was the story from February 2015 that appeared around the time of the start of pre-trial hearings in the sheep-napping conspiracy case involving Michael Schmidt and Montana Jones. Once the presiding judge slapped a publication ban on the proceedings, the National Post took down this story. But now that the case is closed — it was thrown out due to having taken too long to come to trial — reporters can again report on it, and the National Post have put the story back up.

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Montana Jones and one of her threatened Shropshires, earlier on in the long saga. This photo from Ursula Fugger (Shropshiresheep.org) was used in the National Post story.

From Adrian Humphreys in the National Post:

“The bizarre case of a flock of rare sheep — purportedly stolen from an Ontario farm by agricultural activists to thwart a federal kill order during a disease scare — was adjourned after government documents suggested the infected sheep that sparked the high-profile standoff could have actually been an animal from the United States. Continue reading

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Canadian Press news service story on Sheep-napping dismissal in need of correction, says Montana Jones.

Montana Jones wrote today on Facebook: 

“**WHOAH!** The media does not always fact check…Awaiting retraction/correction for a huge error in this article!

Please issue a correction The Toronto Star, CTV News, CTV Toronto, The Canadian Press, Global News, Times Colonist, and all other publications who ran with this wooly misinformation.

Reporter Diana Mehta wrote a significant false statement “Ten of the sheep were found either dead or dying during an inspection a few days later and were removed from the property”. FALSE

In fact, the CFIA destruction order started out with 41 “susceptible” sheep and dropped to 31: There were NO “dead and dying” sheep. The CFIA used that phrase apparently to imply sheep disease on my (Montana Jones) farm and mislead the public.

The reason the number changed is that a week prior a group of young sheep that were on the CFIA destruction order were shipped off farm to an abattoir, on the advice of the CFIA who authorized them to be processed and sold for meat. I chose not to sell any freezer lamb at the time and just took the loss, because there is and was so much public misperception about scrapie and human health, with people making erroneous fearful comments about mad cow disease. Under the circumstances at the time it was the best option for the sheep.

The CFIA / Crown planting that phrase, and the subsequent quoting of it by Judge Bird in her ruling, was misleading and not based in fact. They were sent for meat the week before on March 28,2012, under direction and supervision of the CFIA .”

From the Canadian Press story:

“Charges in a long-running case over the abduction of prized sheep from an Ontario farm were stayed this week, after a judge found there had been unreasonable delays in bringing the matter to trial.

The development ends a slow-grinding legal ordeal for an Ontario sheep breeder and a dairy farmer, unless the Crown decides to appeal.

Linda “Montana” Jones and Michael Schmidt were charged following an investigation into the removal of 31 sheep from an Ontario farm in April 2, 2012, hours before the animals were to be euthanized.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency had ordered the slaughter after a sheep sold by Jones to an Alberta farm allegedly tested positive in 2010 for scrapie, a deadly and easily transmitted disease that affects the nervous systems of sheep and goats.

A lawyer for Jones and Schmidt sought a stay of proceedings earlier this month, arguing the delay in bringing the case to trial was unreasonable….”

“When the CFIA learned of the positive test for scrapie on the Alberta farm, it made a number of orders which affected Jones’ farm and her herd of Shropshire sheep, Bird’s ruling said.

On March 23, 2012, an order was signed authorizing the destruction of 41 sheep, an action that was to take place on April 2 that year.

Ten of the sheep were found either dead or dying during an inspection a few days later and were removed from the property, Bird’s ruling said.

Jones said, however, that there were no dead or dying sheep on the farm. She said a group of young sheep that were on the CFIA destruction order were sent to an abattoir on the advice of the CFIA, which authorized them to be processed and sold for meat. Jones said she chose not to sell any freezer lamb at the time.

On April 1, 2012, the remaining 31 sheep that were to be killed were suddenly taken from Jones’ farm by a group that called itself the Farmers Peace Corp….”

Read the whole story on the Canadian Press website.

 

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Sheep-napping case dismissed today, due to excessive delay getting to trial

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Montana Jones, lawyer Genevieve Eliany, and Michael Schmidt, emerge victorious from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Newmarket this morning, with a verdict of “case dismissed”.

A full courtroom gallery of supporters and reporters listened intently this morning while Madame Justice Laura Bird read out her reasons for judgement on the motion of Michael Schmidt and Montana Jones, which was asking to have the CFIA’s case against them dismissed due to excessive delay. In short, Justice Bird did grant the requested dismissal of the case. Read the full “Reasons for Judgement” at this link.

While Justice Bird did attribute responsibility for eight months of the total 53 months delay to the defense, she concluded that the prosecution was primarily responsible for causing the delay through a failure to devote sufficient staff resources to getting the disclosure material out to the defense in a timely manner. Instead it dribbled out over the course of years, the last 5,000 pages of it arriving just in time for the scheduled start of pre-trial hearings in April of 2015.

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Update on motion to dismiss sheep-napping conspiracy charges

From lawyer Karen Selick:

The Montana Jones / Michael Schmidt motion to have their charges dismissed for unwarranted delay is just about to start its third day of hearing today (November 23).

I was present for the first day. Lawyer Genevieve Eliany did an excellent job of presenting the case for dismissal, based on affidavit evidence provided by Shawn Buckley.

The judge, Madam Justice Laura A. Bird of the Superior Court of Justice, is both a former Crown and a former defence lawyer. She appeared to be thoroughly familiar with the material that had been filed for the motion.  We are cautiously optimistic that she will decide in favour of dismissal.

Justice Bird has already set a date for rendering her decision: Monday, November 28 at 9:00 am sharp. Observers are welcome to attend, but please ensure that you arrive on time. The place is the Newmarket Courthouse, 50 Eagle Street West, Newmarket.

And if you haven’t yet renewed your donation for this cause, we could still use your contribution. Here’s the link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-defend-farmers-charged-in-rare-sheep-case/x/10508017#/

Thanks very much to those who recently contributed.

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Motion to dismiss sheep conspiracy charges against Michael Schmidt and Montana Jones to be heard Nov. 21, 22, 23 in Oshawa – open to the public

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Lawyer Shawn Buckley with Montana and Michael at the Durham Regional Courthouse in Oshawa, which is where the Nov. 21, 22, and 23 motion to dismiss the case will be heard.

This just in from lawyer Karen Selick:

Can you be in Oshawa, Ontario on Monday, November 21, 2016?  That’s the day when lawyer Genevieve Eliany will try to persuade the Superior Court of Ontario to dismiss the charges against Montana Jones and Michael Schmidt due to the inordinate delay in reaching trial.

We’d like to see lots of supporters in the courtroom, so if you can arrange to attend that day—or on November 22 or 23 (yes, this motion is scheduled to take three full days to argue)—please come out and show your support. If you can attend for all three days, that would be wonderful, but if you can spare only one day, we’ll still be glad to see you.
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Sheep-napping charges against Robert Pinnell dropped; Michael Schmidt and Montana Jones in court Nov. 21-23

Reflections on a sheepish affair

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Michael Schmidt, Montana Jones, and Robert Pinnell — three of the four people accused in the 2012 sheep-napping case. Photo taken at start of proceedings.

It has been 1403 days since my adventure with the legal system started. Today in the Superior court in Newmarket all charges in regards to me were withdrawn.

In the beginning there were 4 of us charged with the disappearance of 31 Shropshire sheep. Myself, Robert Pinnell. Michael Schmidt. Susan Atkinson. And Montana Jones. Now after 1403 days Michael and Montana are the only ones left standing.

What make this even more interesting is, that I had actually given a video statement, where I confessed, that I was the one that drove the truck and transported the sheep from one place to another. No one else had given a statement although Susan had later given a statement and plead guilty to a lesser charge. I never once said I was innocent  just that I was not guilty of what I was charged with — CONSPIRACY.

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