MNR Strikes Again! Still Spying on Farmers!

Published April 15, 2013

They don’t learn, they just don’t learn.  On March 20th of this past week, MNR served Anthony Scissons, a sheep farmer from rural Ottawa, with a summons listing six charges under the Ontario Food Safety and Quality Act relating to the slaughter of lambs on his farm during the 2012 Muslim celebration of Eid.  The first three charges against the farmer were operating a slaughter plant without a license, not presenting a food animal for ante-mortem inspection and not presenting a food animal for post-mortem inspection.  Scissons quickly realized that these charges were identical to those that MNR spent two years and an estimated half a million dollars pursuing against Mark Tijssen, a Canadian Forces Major residing in Carlsbad Springs. The other three charges state that Scissons did “…unlawfully, sell a carcass of a food animal to wit: a sheep, to….”  The only minor issue being that a  “carcass” is normally dead, and the lambs that Scissions sold were very much alive – at least until they were slaughtered by their new owners in keeping with Muslim tradition.

Scissons has several other concerns at this point as well – like Tijssen he is a single parent of young children, and yet again, it appears that MNR has conducted a stake-out of his farm using telescopic cameras from an adjacent private property.  As a father, he has no way of knowing what photos or records have been made of his children – and is pretty sure that his forty Muslim clients, many of whom had young children and wives with them, will share his concern.  He also feels badly about the persecution of his clients, many of whom will have nowhere left but their homes or apartments in town in which to conduct their ritual slaughter.  “It isn’t right” he says, “It just isn’t right.  These people came to what they thought was a free country – and it was free.  In my father’s day it was free.  Now we have MNR spying on people and laying charges”.

Tom Black, president of Ontario Landowner’s Association is confident that Scissons’ case will end much like Tijssen’s – two years of legal wrangling, dropped charges, a tremendous waste of public money, more egg on the face of MNR and no follow-up action by the government to address the root problem – too much regulation.  Black points out that “every single food-related disaster in this country has been the result of problems with huge, commercial processors.  Why pick on little guys who are sourcing their own food?”  “Who knows” Black muses, “the legislation at question here belongs to the Ministry of Ag and Food.  Maybe the premier in her role as Ag minister will step in and fix this mess before we have another case like Mark Tijssen’s”.  “It sure will be interesting” he concludes.

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