Canada’s Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has targeted rare heritage sheep at Wholearth Farmstudio owned by Montana Jones for years now. Shropshire sheep are among the rarest – and CIFA could aid in their extinction with their recent eradication efforts over unfounded fears of a sickness called scrapie.
They killed her pregnant ewes to find out if they were healthy. ???? Worse yet, after a house raid, CIFA is convicting her and others in the same boat like Michael Schmidt for conspiracy among other criminal offenses. She faces 12 years in jail and $1.5 million in fines!
The above incidents stem from a CIFA claim three years ago that a ewe she sold years further back had scrapie. Hearsay. No signs, no symptoms, for a disease that poses no harm to humans – but they killed her ewes anyway. After death, tests came back negative as Montana knew they would.
Heritage breeds experienced a major reduction after the introduction of large-scale industrial farming.
In the past 15 years, 190 breeds of farm animals have gone extinct worldwide, and there are currently 1,500 others at risk of being wiped out. Within the last ten years alone, 60 breeds of cattle, goats, pigs, horses and poultry have become extinct.
Apparently, there are only less than 100 of these sheep left in Canada! Montana is actually doing a great service to Canada by preserving their bloodline for no profit, but CIFA seems intent on wiping them off the earth and erasing biodiversity.
Calling out a disease or bacteria (like crying “Wolf!”) is a common M.O. of the FDA and previous cases of CIFA where they killed hundreds of rare goats and sheep – that of course later tested healthy. Why do they kill first, ask questions later? Why are small farms expected to fork over years of hard labor and valuable animals when large-scale corporate farms get the green light even if caught abusing animals or when their food sickens a lot of people? In fact, they lobby Congress for laws to make sure no one finds out negative practices and to paint animal activists as terrorists. Unfortunately, when word gets out for testing, people don’t want to do business with the farm – at least when it comes to scrapie, a rare occurrence. No income for quarantined farms.
Well-known farmer activist Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms lent his support by submitting a letter for CIFA to read:
I have been apprised of your intent to annihilate the Wholearth flock of Shropshire sheep owned by Montana Jones and it is deeply troubling. Without credible tests that empirically prove the existence of scrapie, to proceed with the planned extermination is both unscientific and tyrannical. Agenda-driven extermination tactics have been used throughout history to purge alternative genes, both human and animal. This deprives future generations of traits that may provide salvation from yet-to-be-revealed diseases. Please follow reason and real science as you approach this rare flock of sheep.
She can’t take the destruction and harassment. The loss and the legal fees for her upcoming criminal trial will put her out of her farm and home – she reaches out for help (see below). In just a few days an outpouring of support helped her reach $35,000 of a $50K goal. She continues to update and thank those that have helped her, adding:
Many years ago I had a vision of creating a sustainable farm not just for animals and vegetables but for people too. They would discover the importance of rare heritage breeds, feel organic soil under their feet, learn to grow real food in an heirloom garden and work with the wonder of animals. I imagined an educational demonstration farm where one could just breathe, wander the fields, create art and music, share amazing meals and slow down enough to appreciate.
Isn’t it also interesting that right around the same time America targets their heritage breeds, Canada places theirs in the cross-hairs? Mark Baker of Baker’s Green Acres is a well-known American example. The DNR working with other Michigan agencies (and obviously the Pork Producers) went on a heritage pig rampage (Kill the pig…kill the pig) but Bakers wouldn’t destroy them or let them. So the USDA and DNR made sure that they could do nothing with them by blocking them from taking them to slaughter. So friends had to come over to do it and it was given away to the hungry. And of course, feeding the homeless in America is a big no-no now.
It’s up to all of us to change the unreasonable policies that prevent our food and farming freedom. – Montana Jones
How you can help her – and please spread the word:
Submit a letter of support and sample letter to Canadian government: