PETERBOROUGH — A provincial court will hear an appeal this month from an elderly Peterborough-area beef farmer whose cattle have been seized by animal welfare authorities who repeatedly send him bills for their care instead of just sending them to market or giving them back.
John Lunn, a Beef Farmers of Ontario advisory councillor, has been trying to help Walter Ray, who is being billed every two weeks and now faces more than $150,000 in costs after animal welfare officials rounded up and removed 101 beef cattle from the farm in December.
Lunn said the animal police acted on complaints that the cattle had gotten loose but should never have taken the animals away. They also failed to catch a number of cattle, however, and Lunn and his friends instead managed to collect those and ship them to market to ensure that the farmer at least managed to get their liquidated value.
Animal welfare officials used an ATV to round up the cattle and an official was injured. One cow had to be euthanized. It was the first raid by PAWS on a beef farm, BFO says.
Lunn said the farmer probably had too many animals for his age, but the situation was not one of neglect. He said the case exposes many problems with the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act (PAWS) system that replaced the old Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. One of the biggest issue are the fees collected for seized animals, Lunn said.
The case is scheduled to be heard virtually in court, March 16-18.