Mad Sheep: The True Story of the USDA's War on a Family Farm and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Mad Sheep: The True Story Behind the USDA's War on a Family Farm Hardcover – September 1, 2006


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$6.38 $0.03

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green; First Edition edition (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933392096
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933392097
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #643,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"If you think your government wouldn't really lurk in the bushes to spy on you and use its police power to bully you--get ready for a rude awakening. Mad Sheep sounds like a crime thriller Agatha Christie would dream up, but it's a real life nightmare lived by the Faillace family." --Jim Hightower, Hightower Radio

"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

"Mad Sheep is one of those books that makes going to sleep at a decent hour unthinkable."--ACRES USA

"Linda Faillace's Mad Sheep is a tragic tale--tragic for the lives of those poor sheep, tragic for the shattered hopes of a family, but above all tragic for America. If you have ever been part of a family farm, Ms. Faillace's gripping account of how political-corporate corruption assaults the integrity of our system of democracy and free enterprise will seem hauntingly familiar. If you have not been part of a family farm, Mad Sheep will be downright terrifying." --Eugene Jarecki, Filmmaker (Why We Fight, The Trials of Henry Kissinger, and others)

"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.... If you can read the book without getting mad, you're not reading it carefully." --Booklist

"In 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." --George Schenk, founder of American Flatbread

"[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."

--Gene 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." --John Stauber, co-author, Mad Cow U.S.A.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
91%
4 star
4%
3 star
4%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 23 customer reviews
Very very factual and good details.
Loisann Brady
It is that very agency which is at the heart of Linda Faillace's fight with her government and with the USDA's highly questionable science and politics.
Kelley Adams
My wife met the real life person and told her the story.
robert l owens

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Embarrassed by Bush on August 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A PAGE-TURNER! I couldn't put it down until I'd read the last page. As other reviewers say, "Mad Sheep" will make your blood boil!

Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison in 1787 that "a little rebellion, now and then (to keep the government from becoming tyrannical), is a good thing" and the story told in Mad Sheep demonstrates that that little rebellion is overdue.

To seduce the world into believing it's taking an extraordinarily vigilant approach to protecting the U.S. against BSE (mad cow disease), the USDA put on a well orchestrated, highly publicized show that victimized a small family-operated SHEEP dairy --that's right, SHEEP, not COW or CATTLE. At the same time, they quietly reduced the amount of testing of cattle for the disease to a tiny percentage of the cattle population. Undoubtedly, these politically motivated ostriches want to ensure that they do not discover or expose any evidence of BSE in cattle.

Challenged by the farmers, the startled USDA bunglers quickly manufactured laboratory data to support their claim that the Faillace sheep harbored "a TSE (the category of diseases that includes BSE) of foreign origin," one that is "suggestive of BSE." Since no sheep in the world has ever contracted BSE under natural conditions, this bizarre claim is one of the most unique in the halls of science, amounting to the discovery of not only a new and mysterious form of TSE but, as well, a disease transmission vector that would surely earn a Nobel prize. Their claim's tag line "of foreign origin" also suggests a level of knowledge about TSEs that simply does not exist.

These "minor" considerations, however, did not deter the USDA's ethically challenged BSE "experts" and watchdogs.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Walter Jeffries on September 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In 2001 the USDA swooped down on two farmers in Vermont and killed all their sheep without proof of any disease in the animals. This is a scary foreshadowing of the USDA's plans for <a href="[...]">NAIS</a> and <a href="[...]">depopulation</a>. What happened to these people and their livestock is something I've thought about often. The government has no business doing what they did. There was no emergancy. There was no need to rush. It was not a wildfire. In the end, the hundreds of sheep the USDA killed turned out to not be diseased after all. Our government simply over reacted and in the process they not only killed innocent, healthy livestock but they violated the Constitutional rights of citizens and destroyed the dreams of farmers. And our government officials wonder why we don't trust them???

The government should not have these sorts of unlimited powers that allow them to reach into our homes and lives. It is time to rein the mad dogs of government in and muzzle them.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Prescott on October 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If I had told friends I was reading about alleged disease in sheep they would have missed the true significance of this book. It's about big government intervention against the rights of citizens. It's about a Vermont family's creativity and dedication and how all of that was trampled by the USDA run amok. It's also about what happens when special interests and lobbyists overwhelm a government agency.

It really was a page turner.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
That seems to be the biggest question one has to ask by the end of this very sad story. It was sad on so many levels. It was sad because the Faillace's lost an opportunity to begin a new agricultural venture for a state that badly needs sustainable small agriculture. It was sad because they lost animals they dearly cared for. They had to send house raised bottle lambs on a trailer with sheep they weren't used to. To have perfectly healthy animals seized by a government for no good reason was devastating. It was sad because the Faillace's and their children were failed by the duly elected representatives, both Senator Leahy and Governor Dean waffled back and forth and never really did back them up to the degree they should have (and these were DEMOCRATS not corporate hugging Republicans). It was amazing that Howard Dean, a medical doctor, said the science was too complicated for him (I wonder how he ever got through medical school!). It was sad because once again it was demonstrated that our government cannot be trusted to do what is best for the little guy, that, in point of fact, the little guy is at the mercy of the wishes of bigger guys.

One question that occurred to me at the end of the book is this. After the tainted beef (BSE tainted that is) was sold and consumed did anyone think about putting an immediate freeze on organ donations from any person who might have eaten ground beef in the states that received the tainted beef? I seriously doubt it. Yet people who lived in England during the time of the BSE outbreak are not allowed to be organ donors. I know this because my sister died a couple of years ago from natural causes (not CJ disease), at the time of her death the hospital was informed that she spent 6 months in England during the BSE outbreak. Her corneas, etc.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Henwhisperer on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
We tend to forget that this country was founded on agricultural principles. With the industrialization of food, farmers have come under scrutiny by various agencies of the government because of the multi-national business arrangements they, particularly the USDA, have. Mad Sheep is a perfect example of what is happening on family farms in the United States. Driven by greed and fueled by fear of being condemned in the global market, USDA makes up a scenario that could absolutely not happen, that being BSE in sheep, and ruins the dreams of another law abiding family.

I read this book in just 24 hours. It has been a long time since a book just wouldn't let me put it down. Perhaps it is because I too am a homesteader and have sheep every year. When the USDA came to take the Falliace's sheep, my tears started to flow, hard.

Mr and Mrs Consumer who know nothing about farming, know nothing about where your food really comes from, know nothing about the encroachment of the government into our personal lives, you need to read this book to get a glimpse of what life will be like for you once an agency of the government decides they want something that you have.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Linda Faillace is a writer, shepherdess, songwriter, and owner of a country store dedicated to supporting local farmers and locally grown food. She has studied mad cow disease since the early 1990s. A champion of organic and sustainable farming, farmer's rights, and strong local communities, Linda lives with her husband, Larry, and their three children in East Warren, Vermont.