In Canada, unlike here in the U.S., raw milk sales are illegal. That hasn’t stopped Canadian raw dairy farmer and activist Michael Schmidt from providing the nourishing, all-natural food to those who want it. He set up the equivalent of a herd-share arrangement where those wanted to could purchase a share of a dairy herd. What’s so magical about that? Well, if you are a partial owner of the herd, then you are theoretically entitled to a share of the milk that herd produces. This way raw milk consumers are consuming the milk from cows they own.
Canada officials saw things differently and thought that Michael Schmidt’s operations were just a flattering cover created to sell raw milk to the public under a semi-legal guise. They brought him up on 19 charges, and last year he was finally acquitted of all charges brought against him.
Raw milk advocates rejoiced in the victory. But, it has proven short-lived. For even though the lower-court acquitted Michael Schmidt, a few weeks ago a higher court reversed that decision after an appeals process, convicting him on 15 of the 19 counts.
His response? A hunger strike and an urgent call to action, which I am passing on to you.
URGENT RAW MILK ACTION ALERT
Mobilizing Against Governmental Interference
WITH Property Ownership Rights and Food Freedom
On Wednesday, September 28, 2011, the Ontario government won its appeal against biodynamic farmer, Michael Schmidt. The appeal reversed the former ruling, which confirmed cow share members’ right to obtain raw milk products. Justice Peter Tetley rejected Schmidt’s argument that providing raw milk to cow share owners who are aware of any health risks was his legal right.
Schmidt has been fighting for the right to provide raw milk at his Grey County farm ever since it was raided by government officials in 1994. The recent ruling convicts Michael on 15 of 19 charges and reverses last year’s lower court decision to acquit him of all charges. This latest judicial ruling basically endorses governmental interference of property ownership rights and violates basic human rights to food freedom.
Since this ruling, Michael has embarked on a hunger strike and faces imminent danger of another raid to his farm, as do other farms that participate in Cowshare Canada.
He feels that our movement is in great danger and we must act in unison now!
Michael’s urgent message: We must mobilize our forces throughout Canada and the US with an enormous public outcry. We need to put relentless pressure on legislators in both countries—national, state and local—and also on health authorities through a massive letter-writing and call-in campaign. We also need to organize face-to-face meetings whenever possible. Canada desperately needs US support in these matters, so we encourage all US members to send messages to key Canadian contacts as well.
ACTION TO TAKE
It is imperative that we organize to a much higher level. We need everyone in our movement to participate. We need:
—At the very least, all members (US and Canada) should write to Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario. Submit by email at https://correspondence.premier.gov.on.ca/en/feedback/feedback.aspx
or send a fax to 416-325-3745
Why write Premier McGuinty?
Schmidt is asking to speak with Ontario’s leader man to man. That’s threatening to the regulators, because it means there’s no filter. Man to man, Schmidt’s case is very compelling, and the actions taken against him can easily be seen as shameful. One way or another, he is determined to cross that bridge, break that barrier. (source)
–US citizens to write letters and call local, state, and federal legislators in the U.S. and to write letters to Canadian members of the Provincial Parliament in Ontario and British Columbia listed in this alert .
–Canadian citizens to write letters to Canadian members of the Provincial Parliament in Ontario and British Columbia listed in this alert.
–All need to write letters and call your local and state health officials.
Michael is depending on us to back up his brave efforts for food freedom!
Dalton McGuinty, Premier
Toronto ON M7A 1A1
Tim Hudak- Leader of the Opposition
4961 King St. E Unit M1
Beamsville, ON L0R 1B0
905-563-1755 (or toll free at 1-800-665-3697).
Deb Matthews-Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
242 Piccadilly Street
London, ON N6A 1S4
519-432-7339 Fax: 519-432-0613
Andrea Horwath – Leader of the New Democratic Party-
20 Hughson Street South
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 2A1
905-544-9644 Fax: 905-544-5152
Lanark–Frontenac–Lennox and Addington
105 Dufferin Street
Perth, Ontario K7H 3A5
613-267-8239 Fax: 613-267-7398
2 Beaverbrook Mall Unit 102,
Kanata, ON K2K 1L2
Liberal MPP in Ontario
140 Woodbridge Avenue, Unit AU8 – Market Lane
Woodbridge, ON L4L 4K9
905-851-0440 Fax: 905-851-0210
Queen’s Park Office
Room 186, Main Legislative Building
Toronto, ON M7A 1A4
416-212-1022 Fax: 416-212-1025
Federal Conservative MP for Grey
Chair of Standing Committee on Agriculture in Ottawa
1131 2nd Avenue East, Suite 208
Owen Sound, ON N4K 2J1
519-371-1059 Fax: 519-371-1752
Room 510, Justice Building
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
613-996-5191 Fax: 613-952-0979
State and Federal Elected Officials: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml
State Health and Agriculture Departments: Google your state and “Health Department”
An Urgent Appeal for Justice
Today, governments are pouring enormous resources into interfering with people’s rights to their own property and to obtain the food they need for their well-being. Governments that are truly concerned with justice are supposed to protect citizens’ rights, not violate them. We urgently demand an open, in-depth dialogue with government and health officials about these violations of food freedom and property ownership.
Increasing numbers of people consider it crucial to their health to obtain high-quality foods directly from organic, sustainable farms. These foods often include raw dairy products, meat and eggs from free-ranging, grass-fed animals—foods of very dense nutrient value that cannot be found in grocery stores.
In states and provinces where the law bans the sale of raw milk, people enter into contracts to co-own a cow and board the animal with a farmer. As owners of the cow, they are also the owners of the milk the cow produces, and are legally entitled to drink it because no sale of milk is involved. These arrangements are called “cowshares.”
The most allergenic food in North America is pasteurized milk, so it is not an option for many families. Raw milk is not allergenic and actually cures asthma and allergies (huge international studies show this to be true). That is why we must be free to have that choice. That is why our lack of food freedom creates illness and pushes us all into food slavery.
These basic principles of justice must prevail:
–Food freedom is an inalienable constitutional right
–Rights to one’s own property is a legally binding principle
–Cowshares are a legal binding contract of property ownership
–Access to foods from small farms is essential to the health and well-being of families who choose these foods
–Small sustainable farms are essential to the health of agriculture world-wide
–Governmental interference of property ownership rights along with violations to basic human rights of food freedom must end
–Government and health authorities must abstain from the infringement of rights and violence against cowshare programs.
This Action Alert may be found on our website at:
You are amazing! Thank you!
wow, living in not-so-free and not-so-democratic saudi arabia i do at least have the freedom to buy and drink raw camel milk.
thank you for letting us know about this. i wonder why other bloggers don’t write about these legal issues. if we don’t take action then pretty soon there won’t be any real food to blog about.
Shaye @ The Elliott Homestead says
Love this – thanks for keeping us posted. Will write.
Such a silly waste of time for any government.
Chris @ Earth Friendly Goodies says
That’s just terrible sometimes government is so misguided it is truly sad. Especially when reports are finding that the risk of contamination in raw milk is so low.
I think that people forget how much differently raw milk digests than pasturized milk. Also, pasturization is different in Canada than in the States (not typically as destructive). Though it would be nice if the general public had access to raw milk, the government has a lot of liability and cause to regulate.
The reason why it was taken off the shelves is because it made people sick. Not everyone can properly digest raw milk.
What would it do to the Canadian dairy industry if people started to get sick from raw milk? Milk/dairy products are part of a healthy balanced diet but milk consumption would drop. It’s kind of like selling cooked meat for the last *insert number here* years and then changing to raw meat and expecting people to cook it. They won’t.
Also, not all dairy farmers sell milk suitable to drink without pasturization. We have stricter milk shipping regulations than the US but there is still only so much that a farmer can do to make his/her milk suitable to drink raw. Too much variation. Let’s not forget the fact that pasturized milk has a long shelf life. There was a reason why milk was shipped alsmot daily to people’s homes when it was all purchased raw. People will be unwilling to purchase fresh milk every other day and will therefore consume less.
Paturized milk increases digestibility, and does not decrease the nutrient factor enough to make it worth the risk of selling raw. It’s about weighing pros and cons. There are more pros for the general public to drink pasturized than raw. In fact, introducing raw milk back into the market could jeapordize the dairy portion of our diet.
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