The Canadian Shropshire sheep case against Michael Schmidt and Montana Jones–ongoing in one form or another for the last five years–has had more weird twists and turns than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 11-year campaign against raw milk cheese. Except the Canadian campaign against Michael Schmidt and Montana Jones seems designed to not only deplete the farmers’ legal funds, but to get them jailed for many years. The farmers have launched a fund-raising campaign on Indiegogo, and Karen Selick, the litigation director of the Canadian Constitutional Foundation, wrote the explanation for the campaign, which is reprinted below.
by Karen Selick
We need help raising a legal defence fund for Montana Jones and Michael Schmidt, two Ontario farmers charged with defying the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). We have to be careful what we say here, because the government recently asked for (and got) a publication ban on this case.
Montana and Michael started out as my clients, but for reasons I’ll explain later, I can’t represent them in court on this case. Nevertheless, I admire their courage and their principles. I think they have been treated unjustly by the CFIA, and I want to keep them out of jail.
Back in 2010, the CFIA issued an order quarantining Montana’s farm. They suspected her sheep had a disease called scrapie, because a single sheep that she had sold almost 3 years earlier had reportedly died with scrapie more than 3,500 kilometers away.
They did live biopsies on Montana’s flock. All were negative for scrapie.
But the CFIA said that wasn’t good enough. The sheep would have to be killed, and their brains examined. . . in order to find out whether they were healthy.
Does that make sense to you?
It didn’t make sense to me or Montana. Even if her sheep had genuinely been exposed to scrapie (which is questionable), none of them had any clinical signs of the disease or tested positive on the biopsies. So wouldn’t the CFIA want to know what Montana was doing RIGHT in order to raise healthy sheep in the face of a possible infection? Wouldn’t it make more sense to keep those sheep alive and study them?
These were, after all, a rare breed, and killing so many of them would threaten the breed’s survival in Canada. The CFIA scientists themselves had published a scientific paper warning against reducing genetic diversity among the nation’s sheep.
I sent letter after letter to the CFIA on Montana’s behalf, proposing alternatives that would let her continue her breeding program but still let the CFIA monitor her flock for disease. Thousands of people signed a petition to prevent the slaughter of the sheep. The CFIA wouldn’t change their minds.
On the day before the CFIA were coming to slaughter the sheep, someone removed them surreptitiously from the farm, leaving a note in the barn. It said that the sheep had been taken into “protective custody” until it was proven that they were really infected.
The CFIA mounted a huge search for the sheep. We heard that they did a barn-to-barn search of the surrounding area, and sent helicopters out to search for flocks of sheep from the air. Eventually, they found the flock about 8 weeks later, 300 km away. The CFIA killed all the recovered sheep, and examined their brains. All tested negative for scrapie, just as Montana had predicted they would.
Now four people have been charged with criminal offences. One person has pleaded guilty. The other three, including Montana Jones and Michael Schmidt, are awaiting a jury trial. Their charges were laid in December, 2012, but the case is still at the preliminary hearing stage. No trial date has been set yet.
Michael is a celebrity in the Real Food movement because of decades of activism aimed at legalizing the sale of raw milk. It’s reported that the CFIA desperately wants to put Michael in jail.
The Canadian Constitution Foundation and lawyer Shawn Buckley are defending Montana and Michael, but it’s going to be expensive. The prosecution, with their huge resources (your tax dollars), are trying to exhaust our resources.
We need to raise $50,000 immediately to carry on with the court procedure called the “preliminary inquiry”. The “prelim” started in February, 2015 then continued in April, and is scheduled to resume again on August 10. Our goal for this campaign is $50,000, although we’ll need more later for the trial.
The prosecution has wasted our resources (deliberately, we suspect) by bringing one long motion after another. One of their motions was to force me (Karen Selick) off the case, alleging I had a conflict of interest because I represented both Montana and Michael. The prosecutors have now subpoenaed me as a witness (yes, against my own clients) as a technique for keeping me off the case.
They also brought a lengthy motion to force Shawn Buckley off the case, but fortunately the judge ruled that Shawn could carry on. Then there was the publication ban motion—another long court procedure that used up the defence’s resources and hampered our ability to inform the public about government actions.
The CFIA clearly wants to put Montana and Michael in jail. When the CFIA investigator first raided Michael Schmidt’s farm in August, 2012, he crowed to Michael, “Your travelling days are over, Mr. Schmidt.” The prosecutor once told me that he intends for them to go to a federal penitentiary, which means a minimum sentence of two years. In fact, with the number of charges facing each of them, they could conceivably end up in jail for a decade or more.
Please help keep these ethical farmers out of jail. Please donate, then share this page with anyone who cares about healthy natural food, preserving biodiversity, freedom from rampant bureaucracy, freedom of the press, and justice in Canada’s courts.
The Canadian Constitution Foundation—”freedom’s defence team”—is a registered charity in both Canada and the US. If you donate at least $25, you’ll get a receipt that you can use to claim a deduction on your income tax return.
Thank you from all of us.
Sheer tyranny. Stay strong Montana and Michael!
Agree, Sarah. This is absurdity at it’s finest because some people are on the power trip and get their thrills from killing bugs or lions or humane aspirations to do good for others and the sheer satisfaction of just doing the right thing.
How much satisfaction can there be in doing the wrong thing just because you can? We know there’s money in it but that’s a lame excuse for a human being.
“Drunk with power”. That’s what a retired LA PD commander said about police officers that demand that citizens comply with authority…when it is not truly essential. A great example of this is when the police chase cars and so many innocents are killed as a result of those chases. Few chases are essential…. especially when the death of an innocent hangs in the balance. The same can be said of the Canadian regulatory and enforcement agencies. They are simply…..drunk with power. The greater agenda is public submission and the breaking of Michael. Watch out for those that seek positions of authority. They are the little people that seek significance in life….and can not find it. Here in California we say….they have all the power….and have no money. Little people with little narrow minds and big badges. Little narrow irrelevant people that should never have been hired to represent all of the people. They have no sense of greater purpose…just subjecting others to their authority. Truly a sick mission.
A huge lesson in life….when on the fringe….stay away from anything that would come close to impropriety. Al Capone was caught not for gangster activity….but for tax evasion. God bless Michael…the strongest man I have ever met. A man of true grace in the face of adversity.
If DUI and DWI are cause to get you put in jail, why isn’t DWP? After all they are much more dangerous since they carry guns, batons and could ruin your life on a whim or vendetta just because maybe they didn’t sleep well last night or because you are different from them and have personal preferences than they do.
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy…
Oops forgot the link (en espanol) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sB3Fjw3Uvc
Makes you wonder …. How much money they waste on stupidity ….. And they already has evidence that these sheep were healthy ….. Waste your time and money on things that really matter …. Good luck my Michael my friend ?
This is horrible – healthy, rare sheep have been killed for no good reason and brave, principled people have their liberty on the line. How can it possibly serve society for these farmers to be in jail? I wish them resolve and tranquillity during this witch hunt.
Where do we donate? As usual, governments are rather efficient in prosecuting true freedom fighters. In effect, all freedom fighting is a waste of our time. Really, how many other countless freedom-crushing issues are out there thinning out our resources daily?
You can donate here, at the Indiegogo site: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-defend-farmers-charged-in-rare-sheep-case#/story
The tyranny of these government bureaucrats is never-ending. This brings to mind the relentlessness with which the USDA went after the Faillaces in Vermont. Read Linda Faillace’s “Mad Sheep” if you want to see how far these Nazi’s can go. The government has a never-ending supply of your tax payer money they stole from you in the first place plus all the money they print on their printing presses. Yes. They can just keep it going until they completely break you. No matter to them. It is not about what is right, it is about CONTROL. Tony Soprano, Michael Corleone, Scarface and all the others can’t hold a candle to this government. This situation calls to mind an excerpt from a letter sent by Thomas Jefferson to one Stephens Smith in 1787: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” I urge you to go read the entire letter Jefferson wrote. It is chilling to the bone when overlaid on top of what is happening today.
and you can go back another 500 years from when Jefferson penned that statement, to the Magna Carta of 1215. An original copy of which is on-tour in Canada. There is nothing new under the sun ; classic problems require classic solutions. The Barons put a knife to King John’s throat (figuratively) because the usurers had mis-appropriated half the wealth of the nation. England was in bondage to the money Power. … See the essay on my website [ URL below ] which is a brilliant summary of how corporate power did the very same thing to America, as it’s done throughout history.
….The only thing the commies understand is = as Mao Tse Tung said : “political power flows out of the barrel of a gun”. But that stage only comes about because the leaders of Christianity abdicate their duty. Consider the price Jesus Christ payed, after scourging the usurers and moneychangers. My point being : political activists and guerillas have to “pick your battles carefully”
Well said…..pick your battles wisely, perhaps even after substantial strategic thought.
In our raw milk battle…we always consider that the opposition has the “guns and the money” ….but we have “the truth and the moms”. Truth and the moms….becomes money and power when given enough education and market opportunity. There is a reason why Data-monitor aka… Spins, reports that OPDC is now the third ranked organic dairy brand ( based on dollar volume of raw milk sales ) in the USA, and also the fadtest growing fluid milk organic dairy brand in the USA. That’s “just with sales inside of CA with a government warning” against all national organic dairy brands.
I take the truth and the moms any day!!!
Pick your battles and your allies very wisely.
Truth and the moms sounds like a great name for a band, much better than the mommas and pappas, California dreaming if only for a day I stepped into a church I found along the way all the leaves are brown
Not necessarily in line with raw milk but definitely in the bawl park on the food and pet front which is where I live these days:
I’d call it government sponsored food terrorism in the name of profits, but what other kind is there. Be your own it’s the only way to have any control left but then you be out in left field without a canoe to paddle.
@ Ora: That food terrorism in your link above probably has something to do with the recent avian flu (read: manufactured scare) that turned into the real deal. Even dogs won’t touch chicken that isn’t pastured, and I doubt they’ll touch pasteurized food either – at least not if they’re smart . . . 😉
“Be your own it’s the only way to have any control left but then you be out in left field without a canoe to paddle.” Resorting to quoting myself is not the norm but then neither am I wouldn’t want to be accused of that. Now if I rephrased that to “Be your own it’s the only way to have any control left but then you be left out in left field without a canoe to paddle.”
So the question would be do three lefts make a right or do we need some wrongs or additional fields added in or a paddle.
and the occasional, heh? https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=guess+who+-+american+woman&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-004 brought to you by Canadamericans we love their gueese even if their messy
Geez still no post edit option available, I’ d say make that highest priority forget the
Don’t have to watch just beware later became bachman turner overdrive google taking care of biz
moldy if you haven’t seen it yet its a educational
Why would Bravo pet food every worry about human pathogens in dog food….dogs do not get sick from human pathogens. Question: are American petsbecoming immune depressed just like their masters???
Dogs eat manure and even other dogs feces and lick each others butts all of the time. What is going on here….are people eating Bravo pet food?
Since we are talking about dogs I need to share this not to turn your blog into Dogs are US so forgive me David, but it does say something about FDA so that’s somewhat relevant.
Just saying, it’s a food safety concern. Quick, somebody call MMM and not that doesn’t mean you Mark, I don’t even know your middle name
… And now back to your regular everyday computing and butt sniffing
@ Mark: My brother, who is a veterinarian (albeit he’s tried for years to retire) says house pet dogs are actually becoming sick like humans in many ways – and they can make humans sick, as well. He says dogs that run and play and live on farms do not usually have the same type of illness issues. Yes, he says it’s relatively new – probably in the past 10 years he’s noticed a substantial decline in pets who are fed exclusively on a dog food out of a bag diet. If dogs on farms are fed out of a bag they, too, suffer the same fate. But dogs on farms where they are allowed to eat the raw meat and bones etc., from the local butcher when the farmer/rancher has their own critters dressed out do much better. Even tho we are in town, our dog eats mostly raw meaty bones from our butcher and we feed him pastured eggs occasionally and always raw milk when we can get it. He will even drink the whey or the buttermilk (clabbered milk). So he is much healthier than most in-town dogs, to be sure. Never been vaccinated, never will be, other than the vax he had before we got him from the breeder. None since. Vax is no better for dogs than it is for humans, and in fact, rabies shots are very harmful to dogs.
I don’t know if people are eating bravo pet foods, but it sure as hell wouldn’t surprise me. 8-o
If I won the lottery I would be backing them 100%. Best wishes and hope they kick the governments butt!