[Market-farming] HOMESTEAD SECURITY Presents Sandor Katz, Linda Faillace and Jessica Prentice

Allan Balliett aballiett at frontiernet.net
Tue Nov 7 07:23:59 EST 2006


  If you are in the WV Panhandle and need a ride 
to this event, we have room in a vehicle leaving 
from Shepherdstown Thursday afternoon. Contact 
me, Allan Balliett at allan at freshandlocalcsa.com

If you FARM or if you just EAT, Don't miss the 
WAPF conference in DC this weekend!-Allan Balliett

Something to Chew On this Thursday!

Join us on Thursday, November 9 at 7-9PM at 
Busboys and Poets in Washington DC 
(www.busboysandpoets.com) when the Department of 
Homestead Security (SLOW FOOD, Fresh and Local 
present Chelsea Green author/activists:

   Linda Faillace, author of MAD SHEEP: The True Story of the USDA's War
on a Family Farm
   Sandor Katz, author of THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE MICROWAVED: Inside
America's Underground Food Movements
   And Jessica Prentice, founder of the 'Locavore' Movement and author of
FULL MOON FEAST: Food and the Hunger for Connection

in a discussion  led by Marsha Weiner, President 
Food Muse  Media and Regional Governor of Slow 
Food USA, on developing a flavorful, clean and 
just food system, and on how ordinary people can 
resist the dominant system, revive 
community-based food production, and take direct 
responsibility for their own health and nutrition.

Visit  www.chelseagreen.com for more on the Department of Homestead Security.

For more information about the event, contact 
Allan Balliett at allan at freshandlocalcsa.com or 
(304) 876-3382 or www.freshandlocalcsa.com

The Department of Homestead Security proudly 
presents Chelsea Green author/activists
Linda Faillace, author of MAD SHEEP: The True 
Story of the USDA's War on a Family Farm
e-press kit here: 

Sandor Katz, author of THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE 
MICROWAVED: Inside America's Underground Food 
e-press kit here: 

And Jessica Prentice, founder of the 'Locavore' 
Movement and author of FULL MOON FEAST: Food and 
the Hunger for Connection
e-press kit here: 

Mad Sheep
by Linda Faillace
reviewed by Chris Walters for ACRES

Most people remember the character of Inspector 
Javert, the policeman in Victor Hugo's Les 
Misérables whose relentless pursuit of Jean 
Valjean makes a hash of justice, fairness and 
decency. Hugo's point is impossible to miss: 
Javert's mania for the letter of the law is a 
kind of madness that moves him to murder its 

The Faillace family had the misfortune of 
attracting their very own Javert in 1998, when 
Larry and Linda, who bred and raised sheep with 
the help of their three children, were asked to 
meet with a USDA functionary. They assumed it was 
something to do with scrapie prevention. The 
Faillaces had cooperated with the national effort 
to wipe out the brain-wasting disorder -- a prion 
disease in the same class as bovine spongiform 
encephalopathy, a.k.a. Mad Cow disease -- when 
they endured years of agonizing regulatory delays 
while assembling their herd of rare sheep, bred 
from imported livestock. Taking no chances, they 
went the USDA one better by nudging state 
agriculture officials to activate Vermont's 
scrapie prevention program, which until then had 
existed only on paper.
Linda Faillace remembers thinking cheerful 
thoughts about the person they were to meet, a 
senior staff veterinarian with the USDA's Animal 
Plant Health Inspection Service named Linda 
Detwiler, who was known for her involvement with 
the sheep industry.
"Now she was coming to see our operation, I told 
Larry, to congratulate us on doing such a great 
job: importing excellent, healthy sheep from 
Europe and New Zealand, getting the scrapie 
program up and running in Vermont, and 
stimulating the sheep industry, particularly the 
dairy sheep sector. But Larry disagreed. 
Something was niggling at him. 'This does not 
feel good,' he said."
Larry might have suspected that no good deed goes 
unpunished. Nevertheless, the real topic of the 
meeting came as a shock. Detwiler informed the 
Faillaces that the USDA believed their sheep 
might be harboring a variant of BSE, and they 
would have to suspend operation immediately. The 
implications were dire. An infected herd would 
have to be destroyed, and with it would go the 
family's fortunes as well as their emotional 
attachment to animals that were never raised for 
slaughter. The Faillaces reminded Detwiler that 
no sheep anywhere in the world had ever been 
found carrying a transmissible spongiform 
encephalopathy other than scrapie; moreover, they 
kept detailed records of every sheep's entire 
lifespan which proved that the USDA's claim was 
not only unlikely but impossible. Detwiler said 
she had information she could not divulge.
With that, the Faillaces were plunged into the 
American version of your basic Kafkaesque 
nightmare. By the time their worst fears had come 
to pass with the seizure of their flock early in 
2001, they were lied to, spied on by federal 
agents, and run through a legal wringer. The USDA 
secured its final victory with the aid of a 
researcher whose laboratory was later exposed as 
a filthy mess, overrun with uncaged research mice.
Larry and Linda Faillace had devoted their lives 
to raising happy children and fine animals. If 
they had been cynical people or at least schooled 
in bureaucratic warfare, they would have hired a 
fierce practitioner of Washington, D.C., blood 
sport the day after that first meeting, and they 
might have prevailed. As it was, they fought the 
agency with skill and persistence that must have 
surprised Detwiler, her unseen superiors, and the 
business interests that manipulate the USDA from 
the shadows.
The agency had picked a fight with the wrong 
couple. Larry had a Ph.D. in animal physiology 
and Linda knew TSEs from her experience working 
as an assistant to a British scientist in the 
early '90s, when Larry taught at the University 
of Nottingham. They knew the horror of the 
British Mad Cow epidemic at first hand, they knew 
the USDA's safeguards against BSE were grossly 
inadequate, and they had every reason to believe 
the agency was engaged in covering its bases, to 
use the polite term. But they never reckoned on 
the malign nexus of Detwiler's personal ambition, 
the ethical squalor of an agency that had spent 
decades collaborating with the industry it was 
supposed to regulate, and the current 
bureaucratic police state. The story behind the 
USDA's vendetta remains untold as the Faillace's 
lawsuit against the agency goes into discovery. 
Doubtless it will confirm the pithy words of 
another French writer, Honor é de Balzac: 
"Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by 

This is an infuriating book in many respects. 
Although Linda Detwiler has gone on to a career 
consulting for fast food chains, the usual gang 
of idiots is still in charge at the USDA. But it 
is also a compelling book, because Linda Faillace 
never lets her anger interfere with her careful 
rendering of the facts. She's a born storyteller 
who might consider a sideline as an author of 
political thrillers -- Mad Sheep is one of those 
books that makes going to sleep at a decent hour 

-- Chris Walters

Mad Sheep: The True Story Behind the USDA's War 
on a Family Farm, by Linda Faillace, hardcover, 
352 pages. Cost $25. This book is published by 
Chelsea Green Publishing Company, ISBN 

Booklist 9/15

If this were a novel, you probably wouldn't 
believe it. But the story of a Vermont farming 
family driven out of business by a government 
agency is true-and truly frightening. When the 
Faillaces (author Linda and her husband, Larry) 
went into the sheep-farming business, they 
followed every USDA guideline. Then, once their 
operation was running, that same agency told them 
their sheep would have to be destroyed because 
they might spread "mad cow" disease. Despite the 
Faillaces' abundant proof that their sheep were 
disease free-and, moreover, posed no risk 
whatsoever-the USDA forcibly shut the farm down. 
The agency's actions ultimately had nothing to do 
with the health of the Faillaces' sheep but much 
to do with the health of the American beef 
industry, which could be adversely affected if 
people believed there was mad cow in the U.S. The 
author has every right to be bitter, but she 
maintains an even tone, presenting us with the 
evidence and letting us see what happened and 
why. But if you can read the book without getting 
mad, you're not reading it carefully.
  -David Pitt
Mad Sheep
The True Story Behind the
USDA's War on a Family Farm
By Linda Faillace
Contact: Alice Blackmer 703-443-9418 blackmer at chelseagreen.com  

A gripping story of one family's fight against the USDA
MAD SHEEP is the long-awaited story of a family 
farm destroyed by the USDA in its effort to 
protect beef industry sales from the threat of 
Mad Cow disease. It is an unforgettable chapter 
in the latter-day history of the family farm.
  Linda Faillace, scientist, farmer, wife, and 
mother of three tells the harrowing story of 
corruption, gun-toting federal agents, and 
heart-breaking loss with amazing clarity and 
  Though no sheep had ever contracted Bovine 
Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or "mad cow" 
diseases, the US government at the behest of the 
US beef industry decided to show the world that 
it was serious about preventing an outbreak of 
the disease in the United States. At first blush 
the connection between the Faillace operation and 
this governmental goal seem unrelated. They would 
remain so, even as the USDA began putting 
together a trumped up case against the Vermont 
operation. First, officials claimed there was a 
possibility the Faillace sheep had scrapie, a 
disease similar to BSE that infects sheep. They 
decreed that the sheep would have to be destroyed.
  But the Faillace's had documentation to show 
that their sheep came from scrapie-free flocks. 
Linda and Larry, scientists both, studied BSE and 
scrapie disease extensively while working at the 
University of Nottingham in England. They were 
able to present concrete evidence that it was 
impossible for their sheep to have BSE. But Linda 
Detweiler of the USDA-now working for McDonald's 
and Wendy's-and the agency she ran refused to 
budge. The Faillace sheep were slaughtered to 
prevent the spread of BSE in America .
  Larry and Linda Faillace dreamed of having a 
small dairy sheep farm where their children could 
work along side them and create a family 
business. They discovered a niche with high-yield 
dairy sheep from Europe. They carefully 
researched and untangled all the regulations 
regarding the importation of sheep and soon had a 
thriving entrepreneurial business. Then, one day, 
the needs of big business and government 
corruption colluded to bring their operation to a 
screeching halt.
The USDA created a straw man to protect the beef 
industry-that straw man was a family. This is 
their story.
  Linda Faillaceworked as a secretary, store 
clerk, lab technician, song writer, piano 
teacher, and astrologer, before embarking on a 
career in sheep farming and cheese making. The 
Faillaces live in Warren, Vermont.
Available September 2006 | Hardcover | $25.00 | 
1-933392-09-6 | 6 X 9, 352 pages
For more information, please visit www.chelseagreen.com/2006/items/madsheep

    "From the hearthside warmth of children 
farmer-entrepreneurs to the arrogant, 
hardhearted, tyranny of government bureaucracy, 
Mad Sheep touches the soul with tears and 
righteous anger. Though it reads like a fiction 
political thriller, this story of intrigue, 
bureaucratic falsehoods, and tyranny is true. 
Linda Faillace gives Americans yet another reason 
to mistrust every official announcement from the 
United States Department of Agriculture."

   --Joel Salatin, founder of Polyface Farm and 
author of You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur's Guide 
to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise, 
recently profiled in The Omnivore's Dilemma by 
Michael Pollan

"[Mad Sheep] shows how far a corrupt government 
agency will go to protect industry. This is a 
truly Kafkaesque story."   -Dr. Tom Pringle, 
founder, Sperling Foundation

"Mad Sheep documents the ugliest display of 
governmental ass-covering and the manipulation of 
questionable scientific data for political 
purposes that I have ever read. It will make your 
blood boil."

Logsdon, organic farmer and author of The 
Contrary Farmer among many others

"Mad Sheep will enrage you. The real crazies in 
this true and tragic tale are the bureaucratic 
bullies who tortured and tormented heroic Vermont 
farmers while allowing a deadly dementia-mad cow 
disease-to emerge in America . The sheep are 
dead, lives destroyed, mad cow disease here, and 
the worst is that these bunglers are still 
running the show." 
Stauber, co-author, Mad Cow U.S.A.


Fresh and Local CSA
Shepherdstown, WV

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