CANADA: CFIA to destroy 41 Shropshire sheep at Hastings area farm Monday to stop spread of scrapie illness
Posted: March 31st, 2012 - 12:29pm
Source: QMI Agency
HASTINGS — People concerned about conserving a rare breed of sheep are being urged to gather Monday morning to demonstrate against a federal agency’s decision to destroy 41 of the sheep, including 20 pregnant ewes.
“We want these people to know that we don’t want to be seen as sheep ourselves,” Karen Selik, litigation director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, said Thursday.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recently notified Wholeearth Farmstudio owner Montana Jones that it intends to destroy the Shropshire sheep on Monday. The order was made under a federal program to eradicate scrapie, an illness that affects the productivity and longevity of sheep but can’t be transmitted to humans.
“Jones’ farm has nevertheless been under quarantine since January of 2009, causing her great financial hardship.”
Jones sold a single sheep to an Alberta farm in 2007. Three years later the animal was found to have scrapie. Selick, who is providing legal representation to Jones and will be at the demonstration Monday, said scientists can't determine with any accuracy when or where the sheep acquired the infection.
“Jones’ farm has nevertheless been under quarantine since January of 2009, causing her great financial hardship,” she said, calling the actions of the CFIA “draconian.”
Selick said the CFIA will slaughter the 41 sheep even though none of them have had contact with the infected animal for five years. She said 37 of the sheep slated for destruction were not even born when the infected sheep was sold to the Alberta farm.
“They're doing this because they can,” Selick said. “The legislation gives them enormous power.”