Media

H ave a look at this beautiful Shropshire flock…the ewes parading in their early autumn fleece and the newly-shorn mothers with newborn lambs cavorting in the barnyard (background sound of spring peepers <frogs> in the nearby ponds and wetlands) . If CFIA destroys this rare heritage flock, Canada will be one step closer to losing another endangered livestock breed. These farmyard scenes will just be memories…

What the Media is Saying

 

 

 

Toronto Star newspaper Dec 8th, 2011

Montana Jones loves her Shropshire sheep.

She raises the rare heritage breed at no profit in a bid to protect the bloodlines tracing back to some of the first sheep on Canadian shores.

But the fluffy romance of 12 years has become a nightmare, with more than half of her flock of 75 slated for the chopping block for no reason, says the farmer.

Her Wholearth Farmstudio in Hastings, near Peterborough, was put under quarantine and listed as a possible source of infection after a ewe she sold to an Alberta farmer five years ago was diagnosed with scrapie.

Every sheep in her flock tested negative to a live tissue test for the disease, which affects the central nervous system of goats and sheep and has no cure. It’s considered a “reportable disease” by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and any animal infected or suspected of being infected is destroyed.

Since the new live tissue test is only about 88 per cent accurate, the CFIA determined the sheep were still potentially infected and are following their procedure to do a conclusive brain tissue test, she said.

“It’s absolutely ludicrous that they’re doing this,” said Dr. Tom Hutchinson, a professor at Trent University and former chair of Rare Breeds Canada. “They’re getting rid of one of the seriously important sheep that could make a comeback,” he said

The 44 sheep targeted are the ones most genetically susceptible to scrapie, and make up a large portion of Jones’ breeding stock, including five rams. There are only about 132 Shropshire breeding ewes and 21 rams in Canada, said Jones.

The CFIA cannot comment on specific cases but “when rare breeds are concerned, there may be other options available to the producer that may allow for delayed destruction of susceptible animals so as to allow preservation of rare breed genetics,” said CFIA spokesperson Guy Gravelle.

Jones said this means she could sign up for a two-year pilot program to salvage some of the rare genetic material of her flock by mating her sheep with a ram that has low scrapie susceptibility. At the end of the two years, the 44 sheep would be killed anyway.

A case in 2009 where 409 goats and sheep were euthanized was recently documented by Bev Greenwell, the former head of the British Columbia Sheep Federation — the names and location of the farmers were kept secret at their request. No case of scrapie was found in their herd — a common result, she said.

The consequences of a scrapie scare last far longer for the farmers though, she said. “If you get a whiff of getting tested all of sudden your business is gone.”

Also, all the sheep sold by the farm for the past 10 years have to be tracked down and tested as well.

There are very few cases of scrapie in Canada — 11 flocks were diagnosed with the disease in 2010, six were in Quebec.

A $4.5 million national scrapie eradication plan was launched by the federal government in 2010 to determine the prevalence of the disease in sheep and goats in Canada.

Meanwhile, Jones is launching a campaign to persuade the agriculture minister to give her a rare breed exemption.

“I can’t imagine failing to stop CFIA, when they pull up to kill all the sheep,” she said. “I can’t imagine just standing by for it.”

 

 

5 Responses to “Media” Subscribe

  1. Marilyn Mangione December 25, 2011 at 12:01 am #

    It is an outrage to slaughter such a healthy looking flock. Sick sheep look sick. I breed Shropshires in Australia along with a few other breeders. Fiona Chambers having the largest flock which is now I understand, under the National Trust of Australia. So rare here in Aus I am having trouble getting a ram to breed with for 2012. Someone over in Canada, needs to rethink this ridiculous decision.

  2. Irritated USA April 24, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    If Scrapie affects the sheep’s reproduction then obviously this isn’t an issue here and this flock needs to be left alone. All tested Negative. This would be a senseless slaughter. And that is JUST what it would be. Yet Canada has no problem slaughtering horses for consumption which have been given and injected with drugs not intended for human consumption. How about you look into that. You are feeding humans something that causes cancer. LEAVE the sheep alone. They are healthy and producing a great rare breed. I don’t care who this vet is and thinks this wont be the last breeder to have an issue with her. COME ON. Really? Do something constructive and look into your slaughter plants and test the horses that go through there for banamine and such. Bet your bottom dollar your eating contaminated meat. These sheep are living in a clean environment and are happy and healthy.

  3. Amanda November 23, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    I dont really know what to say except that you can not take healthy sheep and kill them for no reason. If they are healthy leave them be.

  4. Grace gillighan November 28, 2013 at 2:18 am #

    his definitely should be passed on to our M, P.s This is not an acceptable practise and is a violation of human and animal rights!

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