Sheep found in Chesley, Ontario farm

from the Adrian Humphreys National Post story:

Missing sheep saga draws to a close as inspectors find, begin to destroy quarantined flock

The strange yarn of the fugitive flock – heritage sheep said to be related to the first sheep that came from England to Canada – is coming to a messy end after food inspection officials finally found at least some of the quarantined sheep stolen in a high-profile bid to save them from the slaughterhouse.

Canada Food Inspection Agency officials found 28 sheep and has started to kill them, said their owner, Montana Jones.

The sheep were apparently found on a farm near Chesley, Ont., not far from the Lake Huron shore but a five hour drive from her farm in eastern Ontario where they went missing.

Ontario Provincial Police and CFIA both independently confirmed that some of the missing sheep, which were subject to a government quarantine order in a scrapie scare, were found but refused to provide any details or confirm a cull has begun.

‘I can’t get rid of the image in my head of being a good shepherd — and failing’

On April 2, the morning the flock was scheduled to be killed by CFIA after a ewe sold from Ms. Montana’s farm tested positive for scrapie, she found the sheep missing and a hand-written note saying the flock had been taken into “protective custody” by activists calling themselves the “Farmers Peace Corp.”

Ms. Jones said she had no idea where they were or who took them but felt they were better off missing than dead while she continued to fight the government’s kill order in court.

But when she learned of the recovery late Thursday her distress returned.

“I’m devastated,” Ms. Jones said as she tried to get to the farm on Friday with a “compassion posse” to help her in her plight.

“I didn’t imagine in all of this that I might never see them again. Been crying more than I thought possible. I feel quite powerless and now just want to be able to sit with them awhile, apologize for failing to look after them and protect them from harm, and say good bye to them.

Above: Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials corral sheep marked for slaughter at Jones’ farm.


“I can’t get rid of the image in my head of being a good shepherd — and failing.”

‘The breach of quarantine has the potential of infecting a large number of sheep and costing other sheep producers a lot’ Not everyone, however, thinks she was a good shepherd in her pursuits.

Jennifer MacTavish, executive director of the Canadian Sheep Federation, previously told National Post that other producers sympathize with the emotion of a scrapie investigation but disapproved of Ms. Jones’ tactics.

“Scrapie eradication efforts are essential to the continued growth and vibrancy of the small ruminant industry in Canada. Positive cases of scrapie continue to pose a considerable threat to the health of the national sheep flock,” she said.

CFIA would release little information on the development.

“We have quarantined the farm where they were found and the animal health investigation continues,” said Lisa Gauthier, a CFIA spokeswoman.



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.

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