Aric McBay and COWS hold stakeout to prevent prison farm shutdowns in Ontario

Aric McBay and COWS hold stakeout to prevent prison farm shutdowns in Ontario

June 16, 2010

Aric McBay, co-author of Deep Green Resistance with Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith, is involved in a stakeout to catch a criminal. The place: Kingston, Ontario’s Frontenac prison. The crime: Prime Minster Stephen Harper’s planned closure of Canada’s six prison farms — to be accomplished by quietly selling off the herds of cattle that provide prisoners with a viable occupation and the local regions with sustainable, sane local business and agriculture, in exchange for cheap imported goods, through NAFTA, from the United States.

From Kingston, Ontario’s Whig Standard:

Frontenac Institution is under surveillance. Citizens On Watch Stations, or COWS, parked a trailer across from the Bath Road entrance to the prison complex yesterday to watch for the arrival of cattle trucks.

COWS is an offshoot of the Save Our Prison Farms organization, which is opposing the shutdown of the dairy and egg operation staffed by about 60 inmates at Frontenac Institution.

“We’re watching the people who watch the inmates,” said organizer Diane Dowling.

… Save Our Prison Farms learned several months ago that the 130 cows would be auctioned by the Correctional Service of Canada the week of June 21.

Aric McBay was the lone watcher in the trailer yesterday morning with his binoculars at the ready. The trailer team will have a cellphone and send out reconnaissance vehicles to also monitor the rear prison entrance on Front Road. McBay also had copies of a poster that will be put up around Kingston calling on Kingstonians to “keep watch for cattle rustlers” known as the “Harper Gang.”

Last week, said Dowling, she and several other farming organization representatives sent a letter to the editor of the Ontario Farmer weekly paper “respectfully asking that farmers, truckers and auction services not get involved in handling this dispersal.” The group is hoping that 100 to 200 people will be available for a blockade should cattle trucks show up at Frontenac. “They have a number to call and that triggers a phone tree and that triggers lots of volunteers to block the trucks coming in and out,” said Dowling.

For more information on Save Our Prison Farms and the issues behind the stakeout and action, visit

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