As reported May 16 in this column, Apple River beekeeper Terrence Ingram was ordered to pay a fine of $500 for violating Sections 2-1 of the Illinois Bees and Apiaries Act by not “abating the nuisance” and destroying his hives that the IDofAg claims were infected with American foul brood.
Ingram has refused to accept the ruling and has filed a Petition for Reconsideration with the IL Dept. of Agriculture. Ingram sent the petition by express mail on May 24.
As you may remember, the “Heart of the Matter” column presented Ingram’s “side of the story” in the May 2 issue, with additional commentary by the publisher. Ingram’s story was offered because he did not have the opportunity to defend his “failure to abate the nuisance,” a claim by the agency that his honeybee colonies were infected with the American foulbrood disease.
Ingram feels that his statements made during the April 4 hearing in Springfield with the Illinois Dept. of Agriculture Bureau of Environmental Programs were not entirely considered by the Hearing Officer, and “would like to restate them for due consideration.”
Ingram believes that “the court does not want to set a precedent for reaching a decision that is based on lies.”
In the petition, Ingram apologized to the court for his inability to keep notes during the hearing, since he has difficulty writing and reading his notes since he suffered a stroke six years ago. He feels that may be part of the reason why his statements were “not properly considered” in the court’s decision.
Ingram documented to the court that there are currently no requirements for a person to know anything about bees or bee diseases to be appointed to either the position of Inspector, or Chief Inspector. Neither inspector Susan Kivikko or chief inspector Steve Chard were required to take such a test - the same test that Ingram testified that he had taken and passed several years ago.
Based on Kivikko’s testimony, Ingram feels that she did not understand bees or the symptoms of bee diseases like foulbrood after she presented a photo of bees at a hive entrance that was taken on Jan. 19, with an outside temperature of 3 degrees.
“Beekeepers should know that when the temperature gets below freezing, the bees do not leave the warmth of the cluster unless they have a death wish,” Ingram said in the petition. “She could not even tell a live bee from a dead bee or seem to know (that) fact about honeybees.” Ingram testified that these same bees, which were photographed in January, were still at the same entrance two months later.
Ingram questions whether the hives were infected at all.
“Nowhere in Kivikko’s testimony did she identify or offer any proof that she had seen even one cell or one frame with sick brood,” Ingram testified. “With up to 3 million cells to look at in all of my hives, there should be at least one cell with a sick or dead bee from foulbrood, especially if the Dept. wants to claim the hives were so infected. Why didn’t they offer some proof of a single sick cell of a sick bee in at least one of the 15 hives confiscated?”
In a recording of the April 4 hearing acquired by The Prairie Advocate after filing a Freedom of Information Act request with the IDofAg, the attorney for the Dept. objected to Ingram’s question about what happened to his bees, saying the question was irrelevant. The judge let it go.
Regardless of the baseless, “irrelevant” question, his summary of facts for reconsideration makes a strong case against the claim that the bees and hives were abated - or not.
“The inspector provided no proof to the court that the problem had not been abated by me. She did not offer one shred of evidence to prove that the hives which were in my yard on Dec. 8 were the same hives which had been there Oct. 23.
“Without this proof, there is no way for the court to know whether or not the problem had been abated. The responsibility of the Dept. of Ag was to prove the hives were infected and had not been abated, which they failed to do.”
Considering the fact that Ingram’s queens, bees, and hives were taken off his property on March 14, rather than being “abated,” as was the “requirement” stated in the notices from the IDofA, it seems that Ingram has a very good argument.
In the “court of public opinion,” the vast majority of comments made on our web site at www.pacc-news.com and www.naturalnews.com make it clear that our readers understand the ramifications of allowing due process to be abated.
It’s the people that just don’t get it that worry me, because some of them are appointed to positions that allow them to violate basic Constitutional rights of American citizens.