“Whatever happened to a government that was of the people, by the people, for the people? How did big business and lobbyists take control of our government? What can be done about it? [….] the USDA is now a corrupt behemoth that needs to be dismantled and restructured.”
These afterthoughts from Linda Faillace’s book MAD SHEEP very much sums up what happened to her and her family in the late 1990’s when they decided to import exceptional breeds of sheeps to start a milking farm in Vermont. After having done a lot of research (and the Faillace have extensive scientific knowledge of animal diseases particularly Mad Cow disease or BSE) and having done everything by the book, including getting the USDA’s approval in the first place, they suddenly attract the unwanted attention of the latter on their now successful family farm and are accused of having sheeps carrying the BSE disease… even though no case has ever been documented and it is specific to cows. For the next following years (up to 2006) the Faillace fight in court repeatedly and with the help of activists to save their sheep and their family business and prove that their sheep are healthy.
This book strenghtened me, outraged me and also gave me resolve. The story of the Faillace farm is the story of SO MANY small farmers in the United States (and a family from Canada is also mentioned in the book) who’s livelihoods are destroyed by the corporate-controlled government agency. I found the Faillace family (particularly the children) remarkable, courageous and strong in their resolve to fight back no matter what to prove they are right and that there is nothing wrong with their sheeps. I applaud their courage, their ethics. I also fell in love with their animals as they become part of the family and I cried when they were taken away by the USDA to get killed. I couldn’t believe a supposedly democratic goverment could bully its own citizens so much, lie about scientific facts (although its become unfortunately common with the Bush administration in recent years) and plainly kill innocent, HEALTHY, animals just to satisfy their purposes.
This is the heart of the matter. Who’s behind all this. Linda Detwiter, the woman who orchestrates all this mess (and gives a really bad name to women in general), is a pawn of the big industry. I seriously disliked her and I am amazed that she got away with it. Linda Faillace, at the end of the book, said that she is now a consultant for Wendy’s and McDonald (what a surprise!).
We have to fight back against these bullies. The Faillace Family NEVER gave up and still possesses the same commitment to ethical business practices. As Linda says in the book, “elections can be manipulated, but spending our money on products from people with ethics we share will ultimately have the biggest impact.” I totally agree. Vote with the purse is a very strong power. This is the only way I know as well and I apply this in my daily life (I purchase only organic food and natural/organic/recycled products).
This book is SO important to open the eyes of many people and must be read as much as possible.