Here we go again by Tom Black

Tom Black

For many years the Ontario Landowners worked to help animal owners defend themselves against the animal rights extremists who had infiltrated the OSPCA (Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) under the McGuinty-Wynne years in the province.

We started a long drawn-out attempt to prove the OSPCA Act was unconstitutional when it allowed police powers to a charity, without having to answer to a police board, the government or the people. We finally succeeded in 2018, but many worried that what would be set up to replace the OSPCA may turn out to be just as bad.

Well, everything seemed to settle down for a short while and we didn’t get too many calls at the OLA from people being abused by the new PAWS (Provincial Animal Welfare Services) people. Most of us were extremely worried when we saw the PC government replacing the old OSPCA department with many of the same people who were there before. Many of their members seemed to have a big hate-on for older farmers with beef cattle and horses. (Just my gut conclusion from many years of dealing with cases with similar themes).

Now we have the proof that nothing has changed in the mental attitude that is now running the Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS). On December 16, 2021 PAWS removed 101 head of beef cattle from the farm of 76 year old Walter Ray from Lakefield, Ontario. The cattle were rounded up with 4-wheelers, injuring two cattle that had to be euthanized, plus injuring a contractor seriously, putting him in hospital. The PAWS people never charged Mr. Ray with anything! They instead charged him $391,196 for boarding his stolen cattle at foster farms. Also they admitted that the cattle were not in distress and the Auction Barn at Hoards Station testified that the remainder of Mr. Ray’s cattle that he brought to the sale barn a few days later, were all in healthy state.

It seems that Mr. Ray’s crime was having his cattle graze among an array of machinery and parts that they considered dangerous to the animals. Mr. Ray said that they have been grazing there without a problem for decades.

If PAWS can take his animals for this crime, then about 50% of all farmers will be having their animals stolen. I remember years back, when an auto wrecker used to let his neighbour graze cattle on the property to keep the weeds, trees and grass down among the hundred of old cars and trucks in his fields.

On August 8, 2022, Susan Clarke, Vice-Chair of the Animal Care Review Board presented a 37-page report on the hearing that took place in March. She said that there was no presented proof of any cattle in distress at the time they were taken. She also said that boarding and trucking charges were extremely out of sync with the real world and so she reduced the bill to Mr. Ray, to $14,276.

OK, so it is great to see the Animal Care Review Board with a Vice-Chair that has a good grasp of right and wrong and some common sense. I only wish she could have granted Mr. Ray costs for his loss, for the hell that they put him through, his lawyer fees and replacement costs for his herd. I know that she could not really go that far and Mr. Ray will have to sue for all of that.

Here’s the problem. According to the facts that came out, Mr. Ray was NOT guilty of any wrongdoing, but these animal rights extremists (many of the same people that were part of the OSPCA) think that their opinion of how things should look on a farm, gives them the right to become judge, jury and executioner of any farmer that they think is an easy mark for their agenda.