In the mid-1990s Linda and Larry Faillace had a dream: they wanted to breed sheep and make cheese on their Vermont farm. They did the research, worked hard, followed the rules, and, after years of preparation and patience, built a successful, entrepreneurial business.
But just like that, their dream turned into a nightmare. The U.S. Department of Agriculture told them that the sheep they imported from Europe (with the USDAís seal of approval) carried a disease similar to the dreaded BSE or ìmad cow disease.î After months of surveillance ñ which included USDA agents spying from nearby mountaintops and comically hiding behind bushes ñ armed federal agents seized their flock. The animals were destroyed, the Faillaceís lives turned upside down, all so that the USDA could show the U.S. meat industries that they were protecting America from mad cow disease ñ and by extension, easing fears among an increasingly wary population of meat-eaters.
Mad Sheep is the account of one familyís struggle against a bullying and corrupt government agency that long ago abandoned the family farmer to serve the needs of corporate agriculture and the industrialization of our food supply. Similar to the national best-selling book, A Civil Action, readers will cheer on this courageous family in its fight for justice in the face of politics as usual and the implacable bureaucracy of the farm industry in Washington, DC.
An unforgettable story of perseverance and values in the face of overwhelming odds.
ìIf this were a novel, you probably wouldnít believe it. But the story of a Vermont farming family driven out of business by a government agency is true ñ and truly frightening Ö If you can read the book without getting mad, youíre not reading it carefully.î Booklist
ìMad 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.î Joel Salatin, founder of Polyface Farm and author of You Can Farm
ìIn the end, the madness was found not in the sheep or with their shepherds, but in a society that has forgotten the importance of its own food and the purpose of its own governance. A riveting read.î George Schenk, founder of American Flatbread
ìIf you think your government wouldnít really lurk in the bushes to spy on you and use its police power to bully you ñ get ready for a rude awakening. Mad Sheep sounds like a crime thriller Agatha Christie would dream up, but itís a real life nightmare lived by the Faillace family.î Jim Hightower, radio host and author of Thieves in High Places
ìMad Sheep is one of those books that makes going to sleep at a decent hour unthinkable.î Acres USA
European Sheep in the Green Mountains
Loss of Innocence
Caught in the Maelstrom
The Silence Is Broken
Seize and Destroy Order
Hell, No, Donít Kill Moe!
ìThe Farmers Have No Rightsî
Western Blots and Hard Hats
Detwiler Strikes Again
Contempt of Court
Where Was Leon?
The Empress Has No Clothes
Blame Canada (and the Media)
Linda Faillace is a writer, shepherdess, songwriter, and owner of a country store dedicated to supporting local farmers and locally grownfood.