Canadian Dairy Farmers See Support from Community

 

Canadian dairy farmers get support from comunity

Canadian dairy farmers get support from comunity Photo: David Pickett

This past week saw a notable celebration in Canada for Canadian dairy farmers in support of raw milk and food rights.

Hundreds of people gathered at the courthouse prior to a hearing on March 16 in support of Canadian dairy farmers. The rally and celebration of food rights was about an application for injunction that would ban Canadian dairy farmers or anyone else from distributing raw milk.

Several national media attended the event. Reported on “The Bovine” blog:

“The record turnout of raw milk consumers and supporters at today’s rally — an estimated 250-300 men, women and children — underlines just how unpopular such a move would be with the constituency that would be most affected by the proposed injunctions. The courthouse security police, who know Michael Schmidt from the many times he’s come to this courthouse before, told him that “every time you come here, there are more people”.

Durham-area farmer Michael Schmidt has been a lightning rod for raw milk issues in this province since 1994, largely because he has been very open in the way he operated.

On many occasions over the years Michael has sought various avenues to legalize the much-in-demand product, whose production and sale in the province remains largely underground. But the response to Michael’s overtures has not yet led to any improvement in raw milk’s legal status.

In his talk, Michael praised other raw milk farmers for also “coming out of the closet”. For instance, Michael was not the farmer who brought a cow to today’s event and milked it in front of the crowd. But even this could be just a tip of the black market iceberg.”

The article, “Massive Raw Milk Rally in Newmartket” continues on The Bovine site, describing other speakers at the fun event.

David Gumpert covers the event supporting Canadian dairy farmers in a similar vein. The “Big Demonstration” that David refers to alludes to the hundreds of people there. David goes on to explain the intricate and somewhat complicated court matters involved in the case.

“On this particular day, Schmidt brought about 300 people with him, the largest demonstration ever on his behalf. They were in good spirits, much more animated and outspoken in demand of their food rights than I’d ever seen before—radicalized might be the description that is beginning to apply.

It was a testimony to Schmidt and his cause that such a turnout materialized on a frigid and damp morning, since the actual court case is only in its infancy. The proceedings on Wednesday, which took about an hour, were devoted to scheduling future hearings and determining technical issues, like whether to combine two complaints against Schmidt—one from the York Region and another from the Ontario dairy director.

Or possibly people are simply becoming ever more outraged that the legal beat against Schmidt refuses to end, and has been renewed on entirely new grounds….after 22 years of farm raids and trials. I recalled in my talk to the crowd how the last time I was in Newmarket in January 2010, the legal assault against Schmidt was already 16 years old, and how that January day, he was acquitted by Judge Paul Kowarski. But because Canada doesn’t prohibit double jeopardy, like the U.S., Michael’s acquittal could be appealed and in effect, he was re-tried. The Ontario government jumped on the opportunity to keep the case alive, and found judges to overturn the acquittal.

Schmidt has ignored that conviction, and the fine that came with it, insisting he has done nothing wrong in providing milk to members of his herdshare. His persistence, together with his ongoing resistance, appears to have enraged Ontario officials and the dairy cartel they support, and so this latest legal case represents a new wrinkle in the seemingly endless legal entanglements thrust upon him.”

For the rest of the article, see David’s blog post on “Big Demonstration Buoys Michael Schmidt in Ontario’s Latest Raw Milk Case

For additional pictures of the event, attendee Dave Pickett shared his wonderful photos of the event.

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org

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Raw Milk In West Virginia Now Legal

After a seven-year battle, the Governor signs bill to make raw milk in West Virginia legal through cow shares

Raw milk in West Virginia is now legal and available through cow share arrangements. The news spread quickly on Facebook after the governor signed the bill into law.

Lead advocate for the legislation, Tinia Creamer stated,

“It has been really amazing to watch the positive change in West Virginia on the issue of raw milk rights and food freedom. We’ve taken Food Freedom from a place of silence to a hot button issue that whole state has now talked about,” Says Creamer.

“Regaining the ability to operate herdshares was certainly not an overnight occurrence here, and the general thought for a long time was that West Virginia would never allow co-ownership agreements to exist again. In the end, I believe it was worth the 7-year fight. Well worth it. Persistence and growing a strong statewide support base through social media made SB387, the Raw Milk Herdshare bill, law. We overcame corporate Lobby groups, Lobbyists hired by statewide Health Departments and involvement from the FDA.”

The fact that raw milk in West Virginia is now available through cow shares is phenomenal. This opening for co-ownership of animals through cow share arrangements speaks to the ongoing shift from complete prohibition to acceptance of people’s rights to obtain the foods of their choice from the producer of their choice.

It is refreshing to see this shift continuing to occur, especially as enforcement increases against raw milk in Canada. If raw milk in West Virginia can be legal and available, perhaps it won’t be much longer for the other states and Canada that are holding out.

After the West Virginia bill was vetoed in 2015, Tinia persisted in bringing the issue before the General Assembly in 2016. Her hard work has paid off with farmers rights now reinstated.

“It is a relief, really,” says Creamer. “I know that raw milk in West Virginia through herdshares will help small farmers thrive; they will be a much needed way to bolster our economy. I am thankful that farmers will be able to offer, through co-ownership, a local food to their communities. This will, in turn, offer education to families about where their food comes from, how it is produced and really connect farmers to the people, as well.”

As the tide continues to shift towards raw milk availability, it is the advocates like Tinia we can thank for their tireless, unpaid work that keeps legislation and possibility alive.

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org

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Kojo Nnamdi Show Covers Raw Milk

Sally Fallon Morrell Rejoins Kojo Nnamdi to Discuss Raw Milk 

The Kojo Nnamdi show, a popular daytime radio talk show in the DC area, recently had Sally Fallon Morrell on to discuss the benefits of fresh milk. You can listen to the full audio on the Kojo Nnamdi site.

During the episode, Sally points out that raw milk is a healthy food and that even the old, young and immune compromised can all benefit from drinking raw milk. She says that raw milk can be produced in a way that minimizes any safety risks.

She goes on to point out the richness and health benefits of the cream in raw milk. That it is what nature makes for growth and for protection against pathogens and it is healthy for digestion and the gut.

The fact that Kojo Nnamdi is covering this topic (and recently raw milk cheeses was covered in Vogue) Link here reveals the growing demand of fresh, raw milk and raw milk products from local farms.

The CDC estimates that about 3% of Americans consumer raw milk. Whether you are a proponent of raw milk for human consumption, or not, the fact that it is gaining mainstream media coverage indicates a general warming to the idea.

While no one expects raw milk consumption to overtake pasteurized milk consumption in the next few years, the fact that mainstream news is covering is with a balanced approach shows that perhaps those of us who relish the beverage will not be sidelined as much for consuming it. As raw milk gains normalcy status, we can hope to see some of the prevailing ridicule and criticism tempered with a more reasonable acceptance of raw milk as an suitable beverage for those who choose it for health reasons or otherwise.

Attitudes from those opposed to raw milk consumption, whether for personal or political reasons, are not likely to change soon, but are no longer being considered as the only voices on the issue. All in all, the shift in the media is not likely to create an overnight change in policy or public sentiment, but it begins to change the basic public acceptance of the wholesome food that has helped so many people regain their health.

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org

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Farming Class Highlights Raw Milk Safety

The annual raw milk Symposium teaches, among other things, raw milk safety and how producers can create higher quality raw milk from grassfed cows. The Weston A. Price Foundation, in conjunction with their annual Wise Traditions conference, puts on the class. This year, the entire class was live streamed so that viewers around the county who could not attend the conference could still benefit from the valuable information.

The raw milk symposium features lectures and practical tips on productions from farmers, nutritionists and marketing experts. The classes include a pivotal class called “Building, Managing, Marketing & Sustaining a Raw Milk Micro-Dairy” presented by expert Charlotte Smith from Oregon.

Other classes include a presentation by Sally Fallon Morrell titled “Why Raw Milk?” that delves into the nutritional benefits of raw milk. The talk focuses on “the benefits to bones, teeth, immunity, respiratory health, growth, detoxification and even mental health conferred by whole unpasteurized milk, citing studies going back one hundred years and up to the present day.”

Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures in California, has a talk titled “Behind the Scenes: What’s Really Happening with Raw Milk in the USA?” Mark is known for being involved in the legal sales of raw milk in California.

Peg Coleman helps us understand the importance of data and what it does say and what it doesn’t say in her talk “Risk Beyond the Numbers: Understanding Data, Gaps, and Assumptions Bridging Them.”

This symposium provides a platform for experts, farmers, consumers and anyone seeking additional information on raw milk from regulations to production to the nutrition of it. As an overview, this class will give anyone an idea of where to locate resources and information to further their studies on the topic. The class also helps to dispel misinformation about raw milk.

Each class is available individually, as presented.

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org

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Michael Schmidt Arrested for Removing Surveillance Equipment from His Farm

Michael Schmidt was arrested on October 19, 2015 on charges of criminal theft for allegedly removing surveillance equipment he found on his farm in August. After discovering the cameras, which had no identification on them, Schmidt removed them and contacted police to report their discovery and ask who they belong to.

Schmidt believes the cameras belong to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and were put there to spy on the happenings and visitors of his farm. He refused to turn them over to the police and, several weeks later, a summons was issued for his arrest. Schmidt was arrested and held overnight in jail on October 29th.

His arrest came on the heels of two back-to-back raids of his farm, which took place during the week of September 29th and ultimately ended in a tense standoff between local authorities and Schmidt supporters, who prevented authorities from leaving the farm with farm equipment and dairy products.

“I am convinced that these charges about the cameras are some sort of revenge,” Schmidt says. “After the investigator and the agents had to leave the farm without the equipment they seized on the October 2, 2015 raid, they want something to show for it.”

For now, the tension between Schmidt and authorities continues to build as his farm has pledged to continue to peacefully grow and produce food as it has always done.

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Australians Want Raw Milk to be Less Controversial Than Climate Change

According to Dr. Christopher Degeling of the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health, the discussion of fresh milk in Australia and New Zealand is “almost as contentious as climate change science.”

Earlier this year, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) reviewed Australia’s milk regulations and the released report legalized the production and importation of some raw milk cheeses. Unfortunately, the commercial sale of raw milk is still illegal (though drinking it is not).

Some believe that the reluctance to legalize raw milk sales stems from “laziness on health authorities’ part.” Australian microbiologist Dr. Ron Hull says, “They think it’s too hard to regulate raw milk, which is not true. Raw milk is regulated in most parts of the world and is just as safe as any other food.”

Read more via the The Sydney Morning Herald.

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Dairy Farmer Michael Schmidt Targeted by Authorities – Again

Canadian authorities have again targeted dairy farmer Michael Schmidt in two separate raids during the week of September 29, 2015.

Schmidt has become well known throughout his more than 20-year fight with the Canadian government over his right to distribute raw milk to those eager for it. In recent years, Schmidt reconstituted his farm into a co-op with shareholders who hold joint-ownership of the farm and can therefore drink milk from their own cows.

On September 29, York Region health officials and police officers descended on a church parking lot where co-op members were meeting to pick up their farm products. The police obtained a search warrant for health department inspectors to search Schmidt’s van and take samples of the dairy products.

Then, on October 2, more than twenty local police and health officials arrived on Schmidt’s farm and began confiscating milk and dairy equipment. Schmidt put out a call for help and soon more than 50 local raw milk activists and supporters came to his aid, blocking the driveway so the regulators were not able to depart with the stolen goods. A dramatic standoff ensued, finally ending peacefully with authorities only able to take a couple of computers before the supporters assembled.

Support the Campaign for Real Milk, join the Weston A. Price Foundation, today!

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British Columbia Citizens Launch Change.org Petition to Legalize Raw Milk

British Columbia’s raw milk regulations are among the toughest in North America: selling raw milk is punishable by a maximum $3 million fine or 3 years in jail. British Columbia deems raw milk to be a health hazard under the “Public Health Act, Health Hazards Regulation,” and selling or supplying raw milk is illegal under the provincial “Milk Industry Act.”

Citizens are now petitioning the Minister of Health, Ministry of Health and Government of B.C. to change the law and make raw milk legal. They have launched a petition on Change.org, with a goal of reaching 1500 supporters, and a Facebook page to promote the petition.

The petition argues that the law is antiquated, not based fact, and enforced by government officials without any first-hand knowledge of the farms this law so deeply affects. Read more about British Columbia citizens’ fight for food freedom and sign the petition here.

Support the Campaign for Real Milk, join the Weston A. Price Foundation, today!

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Tennessee State Legislator Criticizes Department of Health for Going Overboard with Warnings Against Raw Milk

All across the United States, there is a constant battle between health officials who argue that unpasteurized milk is too dangerous for consumption and raw milk advocates who argue that it is no more risky than buying produce or raw meat which is left up to the consumer to prepare. Each side uses its own carefully selected words and distributes its own propaganda to try to convince others to see it their way.

On July 21, 2015 the Tennessee Department of Health released a news bulletin that said: “Consuming raw milk in the belief it’s healthier than pasteurized milk is a perilous risk that shakes off the possibility of a range of serious and occasionally fatal illnesses for the individuals and anyone they share it with. Our best choice for healthy, nutritious milk is the pasteurized kind. Even if one believes there are health benefits, an upside, is it worth gambling on the downside risk of a serious illness, especially in a child?”

Senator Frank Niceley of Strawberry Plains, who sponsored 2009 legislation allowing cow sharing and has pushed for legalization of marketing for raw milk from these cow shares, believes the TN Department of Health is going overboard in their continuous warnings.

“Blue Bell ice cream killed three people, and it’s made with pasteurized milk,” he said. “Why aren’t they up in arms warning about that?”

Read more via Knox News here.

Support the Campaign for Real Milk, join the Weston A. Price Foundation, today!

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Massachusetts Legislator Wants to Loosen Raw Milk Restrictions

Raw milk sales are currently legal in the state of Massachusetts via cow sharing. However, there are restrictions in place – requiring consumers to pick up the milk on the farm and mandated monthly milk testing, for example – that one Massachusetts legislator wants to loosen.

State Representative Smitty Pignatelli of Lenox is sponsoring a bill that would exempt small dairy farms from some of these rules, and he is hopeful that the bill will gain support and move forward in Fall 2015.

Massachusetts Animal Health Director Michael Cahill defends the guidelines that are in place, saying they are for the consumer’s benefit: on-site pickup allows consumers to see the health of the cows for themselves and monthly milk testing protects consumer health.

The Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Massachusetts published a notice about the bill and is asking people to contact legislators in support of the new, less restrictive laws.

Support the Campaign for Real Milk, join the Weston A. Price Foundation, today!

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