Farmed & Dangerous?

 The Shorter Version

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Apparently I am farmed and dangerous…

But I am not a criminal. I’m a shepherd, farmer and writer who has been preserving rare Shropshire sheep for the last 12 years, and farming various other heritage breeds and vegetables for the last 30.

Then the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) killed my beautiful ewes and their unborn lambs to find out if they were healthy. They were.

They were also rare and pregnant. Now they are dead.

The CFIA ignored over 5,000 people who signed a petition to stop them . Their policy must change to protect our heritage breeds and heirloom seeds—I need to keep going and ensure they don’t destroy me, my farm or other small farms.

The domino effect since has been devastating, its been a downward spiral from their first raid, and worse with every invasion since. I keep telling myself “There are worse things”, and I keep going.

The CFIA charged myself and raw milk activist farmer Michael Schmidt and 2 others with numerous criminal charges including conspiracy, for allegedly trying to save Canada’s heritage sheep and preserve our country’s agricultural biodiversity.

I barely scraped through winter and now, I face imminent foreclosure and an astonishing $100,000. Dollar legal defense fee for the upcoming criminal trial. I have no income, no transportation, am battling depression and post traumatic stress.

If convicted, I face up to 12 YEARS IN JAIL and fines of $1.5 million.

People ask me how I can stand all the stress and pressure. I’m not always sure I can. But I hold the thought that what the CFIA has done is so very wrong, and what they continue to do is so very wrong.

If I lose the farm—they win. And that is just wrong…another wrong added to the CFIA’s long list of nonsensical wrongs.

It’s not easy to admit, but pride aside—I need help.

Please help spread word of this situation

More people need to know what our government is doing with the power we have vested in them, on the pretence of protecting us. It’s up to all of us to change any and all unreasonable government policies that harm our environment, control our freedom and rights in real food and farming choices, and destroy our agricultural biodiversity. This uncomfortable chapter of mine is just a detail—I’m not going to lay down just because I’m cold or broke or steamrollered by an unjust government. I’m standing up.

I appreciate the encouragement of so many who have been following this story…it has made all the difference to me. It constantly reminds me that we are not alone…no matter how different our personal challenges. This is not the worst thing that ever happened to anybody, but it IS happening, and it needs to stop.

Please help me keep my home – help me keep the farm going. Any support you can offer WILL make a difference!

You can find the whole story here on this site ShropshireSheep.org   just click on the red tab for info and updates on the BLOG,  on the Save Our Shrops Facebook Page . The farm Facebook page is Wholearth Farmstudio. With your help, we’ll breathe life back into it, and make it whole once again.

 

Thank-you so much…please help spread word of this situation and share.

If you’d like to offer support you can do so here:

GoFundMe.com/FarmedAndDangerous

 

 

 

 

The Longer Story

Why did they kill them?  The details are here…

Along with other heritage breed livestock, I raise Heritage Shropshire sheep, a breed that is on the Rare Breeds Canada Endangered livestock list. The British genetics in my Wholearth flock had pedigrees dating back to the early 1900′s when the first British stock was imported here. Despite protests from the British Rare Breeds Survival Trust, the CFIA wiped out the sheep and all my years of dedicated genetic work. The CFIA have paid ZERO compensation to me for destroying my healthy animals nor offered to replace them from English breeding stock. There are now less than 80 registered ewes in Canada.

How could this happen?

Three years ago the CFIA swooped down on my little heritage farmstead and declared that a ewe I sold many years prior (to a livestock hauler and farmer in Alberta) had tested positive for a sheep disease called Scrapie. There had only been 10 cases in all of Canada the year before, and it’s not a human health risk.  The Scrapie infected sheep did not have the traceability I.D. ear tag that was there when I sold it, apparently the owner “didn’t have it”, but CFIA were told it was originally my sheep. The CFIA agreed it was quite possible that it had been infected in the time since it left my farm.

Scrapie is easy to spot, and my flock NEVER had a single sign or symptom. The CFIA went ahead and conducted live tests that have an 88% accuracy rate in detecting the disease. The ‘dead’ test on obex brain tissue has only slightly higher accuracy. As I predicted…ALL tests came back negative. But that wasn’t good enough. The CFIA issued an order to kill them anyway.

I offered many other risk-free alternatives and suggested we work together to find out if indeed any illness had ever been in the flock. “Kill first—ask questions later” is not the best option to conserve a rare breed.

The CFIA did not even respond to my proposal.

The CFIA wouldn’t listen to over 5,000 petitioners on Change.org either.

The CFIA is not pleased that I made public their unjust actions public knowledge.

I am horrified at the degree of harm a government agency can do with an incredible amount of money and a superfluous number of relatively incompetent employees.  Who was I to suggest that our government re-examine their protocols regarding agricultural biodiversity? I was advised to roll over, let the CFIA kill my healthy sheep, take their compensation money and move on.  Other commercial sheep producers did…why shouldn’t I?

Why? Because their policy to kill healthy rare sheep…ANY endangered livestock for that matter… is very wrong.

They demanded I hire an excavator and have a deep grave dug, and said they would kill them before my eyes and leave me to bury them all. A 20-foot pit was dug at the top of my hill overlooking the farm…the hill they grazed peacefully for so many years.

Then the CFIA told me they changed plans, and decided to load my sheep for a stressful 5 hour transport to a killing facility at a pet food plant near Ottawa, and that I would have top pay the bill.

There were many calls, emails and messages from outraged people saying they’d take, hide or move the sheep to protect them.

The CFIA arrived early April 2 to kill the flock, but the sheep were gone, with only a note left.

Months later they were discovered on a distant farm, and CFIA killed them and their newborns. All of the tests came back negative.

My farm is still in quarantine, CFIA has effectively halted my farm income and ensured that each day revolves around them, and defending my right to live peacefully. They have attacked, stripped bare, twisted up and torn down—it’s non-sensical…am I that much of a threat?  I was just quietly living and farming with a few animals, growing vegetables, selling at local farmers’ market…well, I was. Not now.

The CFIA continued to issue press releases announcing the high risk to the nation and “dangerous” nature of the missing sheep situation.  The CFIA claimed they understood what a severe impact their procedures had on “affected” producers (implying that my destroyed flock they killed had indeed been infected with disease—they weren’t) …and how difficult it must be and announced publicly that they properly compensate producers for their losses. Simply not true.

Armed with search warrants, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency investigators and Ontario Provincial Police raided my home, Michael Schmidt’s and two others on August 2nd, 2012.

The CFIA charged myself and raw milk activist farmer Michael Schmidt and 2 others with numerous criminal offences including conspiracy, for allegedly trying to save Canada’s heritage sheep and preserve our country’s agricultural biodiversity.

If convicted, I face up to 12 YEARS IN JAIL and fines of $1.5 million. Apparently I am FARMED (with truth) & DANGEROUS (to an unjust government).

Now, I face imminent foreclosure and an astonishing $100,000. legal defense fee for the upcoming criminal trial.

If I lose the farm—they win.  And that is just wrong…another wrong added to the CFIA’s long list of nonsensical wrongs.

I keep reminding myself there are far worse things to endure.

The domino effect of the CFIA’s invasion meant selling off my heritage turkey breeding stock because I had no way to feed them. My beautiful pastured Tamworth pigs too, and two white Percheron mares.  My farm truck died last fall. Then my car followed suit in December.

I tried to make light of the notion of being a secluded hermit with no way off the farm…tried to make it just another challenge. I sequestered myself away.

Christmas was a dismal blur.

All through winter a kind neighbour brought hay to feed the few remaining animals.  I had wanted to sell the other sheep because I couldn’t afford to care for them—CFIA wouldn’t allow them to leave. Since the firewood ran out I’ve been burning the little scrap ends from a nearby pallet manufacturer. Some nights it’s been 7° Celsius, sleeping in hat and fully clothed layers cuddled up with dogs under mounds of blankets.

To my sheer horror, a rat…a FEW bold rats…appeared in my kitchen the day before the CFIA raided my home with a search warrant, as if to herald their arrival. It took a long time to rid the rodents from my life. The CFIA, however, are still in it.

No, it’s no way to live.

Depression doesn’t introduce itself on arrival. It’s the uninvited dark guest that you one day realize has been there for some time. I considered asking it to leave since I realized it moved in with the CFIA.

Since their raids, I launch into anxiety attacks whenever I hear a car (is it THEM again?), with pounding chest pain, shortness of breath, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate and immobilization.  It strikes me at any time. I can’t look at photos of my now deceased sheep. I break down crying while sorting old pedigrees. I end up in tears when I see something that should be joyful, like the first robins of the year, or the sound of the first spring peepers. I end up sobbing when I realize I can’t feel the beauty around me or on the farm anymore. The world has been muddied.

I’m told my symptoms are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but I still seem too paralyzed watching the downward spiral to alter its course. I must change it now before it’s too late.

On the saddest grey days a sprinkle of light rain seems enough to dissolve my frail being into the thawing ground, along with vague images of a former life. But even then, surely I’m stronger than an unthinking, faceless, draconian government body.

Last week an unkempt strange man trespassed on my property, filmed me through my windows, and left a notice declaring the locks would be changed. The bank is moving in, demanding their overdue mortgage payments.

People ask me how I can stand all the stress and pressure. I’m not always sure I can.  But I hold the thought that what the CFIA has done is so very wrong, and what they continue to do is so very wrong.

More people need to know what our government is doing with the power we have vested in them, on the pretence of protecting us. I refuse to believe that the gross misuse of power wielded by this government body might go unnoticed. They shouldn’t wield enough power to destroy me, my farm, and other small farms.

First, I need to ensure the farm will not be lost.  Then, to raise funds for legal defense against the CFIA’s charges, and to raise awareness about how their policies are affecting all of us, and work to get them changed. Most of all, the farm needs to breathe once more so more people can enjoy it again.

The encouragement of all those who have been following this story has been a huge support to me. It constantly reminds me that we are all in this together…no matter how different our personal suffering or challenges. This is not the worst thing that ever happened to anybody, but it IS happening, and it needs to stop.

You can find the whole story here on this site ShropshireSheep.org   just click on the red tab for info and updates on the BLOG,  on the Save Our Shrops Facebook Page . The farm Facebook page is Wholearth Farmstudio. With your help, we’ll breathe life back into it, and make it whole once again.

Thank-you so much…please help spread word of this situation and share.

If you’d like to offer support you can do so here:

GoFundMe.com/FarmedAndDangerous

 

Please help me keep my home – help me keep the farm going.

Any help you can offer WILL make a difference!

 

 

 

 

10 Responses to “Farmed & Dangerous?”

  1. Karen Levesque | November 21, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    Human rights are being violated in this way because government has tricked us by presuming we are “agents of the government”. Their statutes and acts only apply to them. They drag us into statutory jurisdiction where their idiotic rules apply. Lawyers sell us out as they go along with these false presumptions. As we learn to assert our rights and our true capacities in Inherent Jurisdiction we can protect ourselves from such intrusions and/or seek lawful remedy through civil court at Queen’s Bench. Dean Clifford is a master of the law movement in Canada who recognizes the unlawful acts of governments, corporations, and enforcers on their payroll. We have to learn how to fight back lawfully. It takes some listening to Deans free seminars. You can find remedy this way.

  2. Katrina | November 21, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    My dear sister,
    I feel your pain, yes I myself am aware of the crimes of the gov’t. I have ALWAYS LOVED FARMS (REAL FARMS LIKE YOURS) and ANIMALS. ANIMALS HAVE ALWAYS LOVED ME BACK AS WELL.
    I MYSELF have endured MANY TRIALS in this land, For a few years back, I got into a very bad relationship and ended up becoming “Diagnosed” as a schizophrenic at that point. It was a tough road, and let me tell you, being in the mental ward of a so called hospital where they are supposed to help people (but they do not bcuz they forcefully put them on PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS, and therefore only get richer as the poor so called “mental patients” suffer) I have lived in the dark days you are in now thru my own experience.
    I will do ALL I CAN TO HELP YOU and BE YOUR SUPPORT. MOST OF ALL, KNOW THAT THE ALMIGHTY JUST GOD IN HEAVEN KNOWS AND SEES ALL OF THIS!!! IN TIME THE EARTH WILL REVERSE ITSELF AND THE SO CALLED PEOPLE IN POWER WILL FALL FOR ALL THEIR EVIL ACTS!!! I AM ON YOUR SIDE AND ALWAYS WILL BE!!! : D
    I WILL PRAY YOU FIND STRENGTH AND GOOD FRIENDS DURING THIS TIME TO GET YOU THROUGH. I KNOW ANY LOVE U GET THESE DAYS WILL TOUCH U AND AFFECT U GREATLY AND MOST OF ALL GIVE U HOPE AND STRENGTH TO LIVE…EVEN IF ITS SIMPLY A SECOND AT A TIME.
    STAY STRONG MY SISTER!!! SENDING U ALL MY LOVE AND PRAYERS FOR U AND ALL NATURAL ORGANIC FOOD ACTIVISTS!!!
    I HOPE THIS HELPED U EVEN A LITTLE, FOR ANY SMALL GOOD DEED I CAN DO, I AM GRATEFUL FOR!!!
    LOVE U
    KATRINA

  3. Shannon Allen | November 22, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    Praying for you, Montana. How very heartbreaking, WRONG & disturbing. Keep Strong!!

    Peace & God’s Blessings
    Shannon Allen

  4. Jenessa | November 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    ….. I am heartbroken. Anyone and everyone who hears about this and really can grasp the full depth of it.. is just floored. The world is changing.. and quickly. The big players are destroying it. And to see geniune innocent farmers being attacked… backed into a corner.. is too much. I feel for you. We all want to be able to fight back.. not sure if we know how yet tho… but this shit has to stop. There is something so deeply wrong with the behaviors of these big shots – I believe Monsanto is to blame.. They have ppl from the Food inspection on their side. Monsanto wants to take over and control – which means destroying the small farms.. destroying everything you have and spirits is a must. I am 27 years old and i feel helpless.. like the rest of us. We are seeing evil right before our eyes and cant stop it. In the united states.. to go into a factory farm undercover ( to show the horrid conditions and treatments)– there is now a law that makes that person a terrorist! You signed a petition and now you face charges.. things just dont make sense! Please keep in touch. And I am so sorry for your loss. And mark my words.. if you go to jail , face fines, or lose your farm— you will have a lot of ppl backing you up. at this time in history- its becoming more more apparent that drastic measures are going to be needed. We cant let them destroy anymore and they certainly cannot keep targeting innocent ppl and call them criminals… ugh i am so angry. Anyways – you are doing a good thing by making it public… the only thing WE have is the internet.. for now. Thats teh only thing that gives us power.

    • Katie | November 25, 2013 at 10:40 am #

      I honestly couldnt believe what I just read. I’m beside myself. I’m 20 years old and it is incredibly sad that in those twenty years I’ve gained more wisdom than society has over generations. I am a third year science student with a minor in biology. This story is truly heart wrenching. It is the people like yourself that are going to make a change.. but if the gov. continues to misuse their power we’ve “entrusted” them with, then the world will never see light. We cannot continue to live in a society built on consumerism. We need to promote small local businesses and go back to farming. More people should be farming and maintaining their own crops. We as younger generations are being robbed of the opportunity to learn the knowledge we need to do such things. If the public is knowledgeable, were a threat. There are far more of us than there are of them. They have to maintain the appearance of authority or else there would be rebel groups. If enough people get together with alike ideas, and encounter a force, inevitably there is going to be an up rising. With that said, the seizure of your farm and animals, and those who also farm organic and local; is just one more way to take away our power. If the people are powerless and have no other choice (BUT the choice of gov. grown food) then were going to HAVE to buy from them are we not? I think its unfortunate that the majority of the public cant see past the ploys, manipulation, fraud and unjust acts to see that were all just puppets in their game. But if any member belonging to or devoted to the government would probably call that a conspiracy theory. Right, those in power make you feel like its wrong to have an idea that contradicts the law. If we feel like were going against the norm.. (well thats called peer pressure) and most feel uncomfortable not following suit, thus will never attempt to contradict. If life is just perspective, shouldnt that mean that no body and everybody is right. Life is subject to personal opinion, just because someone says something is wrong should you believe them? Didnt your parents ever say “If Tommy jumped off a bridge, would you?” Moral of the story, just because someone, that has been given power, by the people (mind you), has made a regulation, rule, or law, to abide by; if you disagree, are you wrong? Or are they wrong for contradicting you? Well in this case, and every case, were wrong, the people are wrong, and why? Well we gave them the power to make decisions for us,and they havent given us a moment for original thought since. With all that said, I hope you get all the support you deserve. I hope you never give up, because people like you are going to make a difference. The first step is acknowledgement. Once more and more people become aware of the unjust acts of our governing body, there shall be hope. Keep your head up, fake a smile, stay strong, and carry on.

  5. Ned Delaney | November 22, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

    Suggest you contact Care2.com …. http://www.care2.com/help/support …. and explain your situation

  6. Christian | November 23, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    i wish there was more i could do im dealing with the city not letting me grow produce in my front yard couldnt imagine building my farm up to having livestalk and someone trying to take it away.your in my pray’rs!!!!stay strong!!

  7. Mike | November 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    http://conservativepost.com/mountain-man-arrested-for-fishing-demolishes-judge-in-courtroom-while-defending-himself/

    “It’s we the people that run this and rule this country, not we the courts, not we the government, and if the people don’t start standing up for themselves and for each other, we are going to continue being subjects of this government.”

  8. Karin | November 25, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    I will be contacting CFIA and Harpers office to complain about the events happening here. Farms like yours are how farms are supposed to be and I am fed up with the government and big corporations destroying the little guy. My heart is with you and I will share information on your cause. Hang in there and know many are behind you!
    Love and hope!!

  9. Sarah | December 5, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    Reading about your tragic loss and devastation is heartbreaking. I will spread the word and you and your farm will be in prayers. I am so sorry for your loss, and heartache. Stay strong and keep standing.

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