Will CFIA endanger our future health by destroying a whole genotype?

CFIA’s Brian Evans has admitted the prevalence of scrapie in Canada is “fairly low.” He just issued a press release saying “Scrapie can only be confirmed through tests conducted on brain tissue.”

He neglects to mention that if they use ONLY brain tissue and don’t test a whole slew of places in the lymphatic system, THEY WILL MISS between 5% and 30% of infected animals, thereby rendering their kill-and-test program most unreliable!

Yet CFIA claims the 88% accuracy of the LIVE test is not enough? So they killed my beloved 9 pregnant sheep to verify they were healthy, found out they were indeed all negative for scrapie, and are out to kill 31 more if they find them.

Those 9 were of a genetic cohort that CFIA deemed NOT as susceptible as the ARQ/ARQ’s.

What exactly are we letting happen?

There is a move to wipe out ARQ/ARQ sheep as they have been considered to be a “susceptible” genotype for possible scrapie. This does not mean necessarily that an ARQ/ARQ sheep WILL get scrapie, but some research suggested it is at higher risk of contracting the disease if it already exists in a sheep’s environment.

While classical scrapie is not considered a human health risk, it is a threat to the lamb industry because commercial lamb producers see less revenue due to affected sheep creating reduced production.

The latest scientific findings have confirmed that genotype genocide and the elimination of our biological diversity is a very dangerous thing, in nature and agriculture.

In fact, flocks such those that have been influenced by Agriculture Canada and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to alter their genetic pool by using ARR rams for a “scrapie-resistant flock” is misguided. The science now indicates producers doing so are in fact, possibly breeding FOR scrapie.

From the experts in prion research: “Sheep believed to be resistant to scrapie are succumbing to atypical infections and a newly identified strain of the disease. Eradication programmes based on selective breeding should be reappraised.” 


“the ARR allele was until recently thought to confer full resistance to BSE and scrapie. However, the successful transmission of BSE prions to ARR/ARR sheep and the detection of natural cases of classical scrapie in sheep with the ARR/ARR genotype have shown that this resistance is penetrable. Moreover, the identification of previously unrecognized atypical scrapie strains in sheep with various genotypes, including ARR/ARR, further supports this statement.”


The WORST of it is that while classical scrapie is not presently considered an issue for human health risk…atypical scrapie may well be.

Research has found that primates are susceptible to a new variant popping up increasingly in the ARR genotyped sheep that our government and most national sheep organizations have been grooming to be our national flock.

When might the CFIA realize that safeguarding our ARQ/ARQ sheep may well be the answer to ensure that our nations future health is protected from scrapie related human illness?

We need diversity for health—we need heritage breeds of sheep and all livestock.

Save Our Shropshires by signing this petition..we’re 5,000 and growing!


Montana Jones
Montana is a watcher of whales, saver of turtles, wayfarer and shepherd. She is a writer, photographer, art farmist and was formerly a magazine art director, media coordinator, journalist and past winner of the Sutton Agricultural Fair Spelling Bee. She tends an oversized garden, eats real food and raises Shropshire sheep and other heritage livestock on Wholearth Farmstudio in Northumberland County, Ontario Canada. She received a CBC Literary Award, Ontario Arts Council Writer’s Reserve Grant, and has appeared in EnRoute, Mind’s Eye, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, Canadian Women Studies Literary Journal, Watershed Magazine and Edible Toronto.