Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


CFIA lays 5 criminal charges against Michael Schmidt, Montana Jones and two others over 31 Shropshire sheep

From a CFIA news release dated Dec. 5th:

December 5, 2012, Ottawa: In consultation with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has laid criminal charges against four people, following the unlawful removal of sheep from a federally quarantined premises in April 2012.

With the full support of the Canadian sheep industry, the CFIA administers Canada’s Scrapie Eradication Program. The program promotes sheep health and protects a valuable industry. It is alleged that by unlawfully removing and concealing the sheep, the program was threatened and the health and safety of other sheep and the industry were jeopardized.

The accused were charged following an investigation into the removal of 31 Shropshire sheep from a federally quarantined farm in Eastern Ontario on or about April 2, 2012. The farm was suspected of being contaminated with scrapie, a fatal, transmissible neurological disease of sheep and goats.

Why didn’t the CFIA disclose finding the five missing Shropshire sheep?

December 10, 2012

From Montana Jones’ lawyer Karen Selick, on The Justice Report:

“…The Better Farming website quotes an e-mail they had received from spokesperson Lisa Gauthier of the CFIA on December 6, 2012.  While I haven’t seen the e-mail myself, here is what Better Farming writes about it:
“Gauthier notes that five of the 31 sheep that disappeared are still missing. The agency’s investigation continues, ‘including work to confirm what happened to the other five sheep,’ she writes.”

The truth is that the CFIA found the remaining five sheep months ago.  Two of them had apparently died during transport and their remains were recovered in June, 2012.  The other three sheep were surrendered by unknown persons on September 12, 2012.  The live animals were left in a crate on a roadside near Erin, Ontario with a note indicating that they were Montana Jones’ sheep.

The CFIA never bothered to tell anyone about these recoveries—not even the owner of the sheep or her lawyer.  Montana and I found out by reading an affidavit of CFIA investigator David Eagleson sworn on October 22 for the Ontario Court of Justice.  I have since confirmed via the CFIA’s in-house lawyer that the final three sheep tested negative for scrapie (after they were killed, of course).

Incompetence or Fear-Mongering?

Meanwhile, the CFIA has continued to put out press releases indicating that by breaching the quarantine, “the health and safety of other sheep and the industry were jeopardized.”  See, for instance, this one dated December 5, 2012.

Is the CFIA deliberately trying to stir up fear among Ontario sheep farmers and animosity towards Montana Jones?   Or are they just so disorganized that the left hand never bothered to update the right hand about the status of the case?  Did CFIA spokesperson Lisa Gauthier not even bother to check on the status of the five remaining sheep before she sent her e-mail update to Better Farming magazine? …”