I have written about my friend Ava, who raises grass fed beef and lamb. If you’ve read anything I have written about her, you know that she cares passionately about the health and well being of farmed animals, and runs her ranch firmly on those ideals.
In January a large portion of their livestock was seized and Ava and her partner Ross were charged with animal negligence. They have not been to trial or had guilt established, but a special prosecutor brought a civil case against them, seeking forfeiture of their animals.
I will let you read about their case in her own words, but know that I am posting this because the implications for Ava’s ranch are dire, but equally important, are the ranches and farms of hundreds of other small agriculture producers. You see, if any of the specious charges stick (which all the evidence points to them being innocent), case law is established and will affect ranchers both large and small.
Why are they going after Ava? Because, most importantly, small ranches do not have the financial wherewithal to weather an extended legal battle. When SmallRanchA throws their hands up and allows for a default judgment, it is a much easier victory than having to go after TexasSizedBeefProducts, Inc, who have legal defense teams and huge budgets. The default judgment then allows attorneys to go after Bob’sSmallRanch and then Sue’sSmallGoatFarm and Herb’sLambandPorkPlace, using the law obtained because SmallRanchA couldn’t put up an adequate fight.
So is this an isolated incident and Ava is really actually a habitual animal abuser and worthy of 50 lashes and hot boiling oil? Absolutely not. This is happening all over the country to small farms and ranches to the extent there is an activist group which has formed to publicize and fight the growing attempts by [insert villain here] to shut down small agriculture. Farm to Consumer Legal Defense fund (http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/) is involved in thousands of these cases, and I applaud their efforts. They are able to help, but only so much and only so quickly.
Right now, today, Ava and Ross are waiting on the judge’s decision on the forfeiture hearing. The judge has indicated they may have to put up a bond for their animals which could be as much as $100,000. They have already exhausted everything they have to get this far and are urgently asking for help.
Will you be a small stone, helping David to take on Goliath? Any contributions help. The pledgie site went up yesterday and there is already over $1500 pledged for their fight. Will you help? Anything is appreciated.
Will you also pass this on to your social media contacts? We need a groundswell of people who value the hard work small farmers and ranchers put in, so our food is wholesome and nourishing. If there were 100,000 people willing to give $1, the goal would be met. If they were willing to give $10, we would only need 10,000! It’s a worthy goal, it’s attainable and it is URGENT.
Read Ava’s story/donate here: https://pledgie.com/campaigns/29403
Ava’s blog is here: http://raparadiseranch.blogspot.com/ She hasn’t updated it in a couple of years, but it shows her heart and conviction on well raised animals.
You can connect with her on Facebook: Ava Denton