Ontario appeal court rules against raw milk dairy farmer Michael Schmidt

From Jessica Leeder, in the Globe and Mail:

“The future of Canada’s most prominent raw milk advocate has turned sour.

Dairyman Michael Schmidt was found guilty of 15 out of 19 charges related to distributing unpasteurized milk from his farm in Durham, Ont. The verdict, written by Mr. Justice Peter Tetley of the Ontario Court of Justice, reverses a decision made last year by a justice of the peace, who acquitted Mr. Schmidt of the same charges.

It is unclear what the decision means for the future of Mr. Schmidt’s farm, a cow-share operation in which raw milk and related products are provided to about 150 shareholders. Raw milk from the farm is not sold commercially.

Mr. Schmidt has continued his business throughout his legal battle with health authorities, which began in earnest in 2006. Still, his rural property has seen several raids. For now, the German-born agriculturalist said he plans to appeal the decision – and keep milking.

“It’s a call to arms,” he said of the guilty verdict. “Now we know, there’s a lot ahead of us to fight.”

Indeed, Mr. Schmidt’s legal battle now spans two provinces. Earlier this week, he was served with contempt of court charges that threaten a $55,000 fine. They stem from his involvement in Our Cows Inc., a Chilliwack, B.C. cow share that authorities attempted to shut down last year. Operator Alice Jongerden was charged with contempt for distributing raw milk, considered a hazardous substance under provincial health laws; Mr. Schmidt stepped in and figured out how to keep milk flowing to members by relabelling products as cosmetics “not for human consumption.”…”

Read it all in the Globe and Mail.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Ontario appeal court rules against raw milk dairy farmer Michael Schmidt

  1. Trevor

    Mr. Schmidt’s situation is a perfect example of government tyranny. We are NOT children of the government and we have the right to consume anything we want.

    It is imperative that Mr. Schmidt learn Common Law and become a Sovereign. Then ridiculous legislation like this will not apply to him. The best way for him to do this is to go to http://www.FREEMANitoba.com and watch the series of videos by Dean Clifford.

    Good luck to you sir!

  2. Peter Geoffery

    People like Michael Schmidt frustrate me to no end. They are nothing but capitalists attempting to legitimize their activities by cloaking them under human rights issues.
    He has the right to consume unpasteurized milk, but he doesn’t have the right to sell it.
    Rules are one of the key threads in the fabric of our society and although we may not agree with all of them we need to observe them. If each individual is equal to every other individual in every single possible way and as such have the right to do whatever they wish, our society is in jeopardy.
    One might ask how this impacts me personally. Let me offer the following
    If anyone becomes ill because they have consumed raw milk I as a tax payer help to support their care through our medical system.
    My tax dollars also supports a justice system, that is extremely overburdened, and it doesn’t deserve to have its time wasted by issues such as the ones associated with whether or not we should have the right to sell unpasteurized milk.
    Canada isn’t perfect, but what I suggest is that if an individual such as Mr. Schmidt can find a country that better fits his needs so be it go live there.

    • Leslie Loberg

      I am a born and raised tax-paying Canadian. Michael Schmidt’s cause is about so much more than milk. It is about the ridiculous squelching of property rights in a country that pretends to be a democracy when it is in actuality ruled by an autocratic layer of unelected bureacracy. People purchase meat cows and house them with other farmers all the time. The cow’s owners butcher as they please because the meat belongs to them. Michael Schmidt is following rules health officials hate.

      Mr Geoffrey, if you do not wish to contribute taxes to a system that treats people who get ill for reasons you personally deem “non-legitimate”, perhaps an American system of privatized healthcare would be of more use to you.

    • Peter thank you for your concerns. I totally understand and appreciate your view. I have been asked many times to leave the Canada if I do not like the rules.
      I wish I one day will have a chance to explain you one on one that I care very much about our country and where it is going.
      So far I have only lost in this battle. There is nothing capitalistic about this fight. I guess when this is done there is nothing to be made because I am too old.
      I guess the model you propose that those who get sick from raw milk should have no access to health care. It is interesting that a lot of our raw milk drinkers have eliminated doctor visits and emergency visits.
      Most of them have no interest and need to use the system. Therefore you have a real benefit because we are in fact burdening the health system far less. You should try it.
      Smokers, drinkers and many others should as well be considered as not to be allowed using health care.
      I know it is extremely frustrating but it does not take much what this is all about. For sure not free for all as you might think.
      I have a lot of concerns and respect what we have, but I do not follow the law blindly. Laws are man made. Man can err or pass laws which are extremely unjust. Therefore it is our responsibility to object to old draconian laws.

    • Peter, you don’t seem to understand much about this case.

      Michael Schmidt was not “selling milk.” He was distributing it to co-owners of the animals, in accordance with Canada law that the owner of an animal may consume its milk, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Freedom of Association, which gives us the right to do collectively whatever is legal for us to do individually.

      If you, unlike the first judge to try this case, think that collective ownership “doesn’t count,” where do you draw the line? Would it be legal for two people to own a cow and consume its milk? How about five people? How about 50? The Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not draw such a line, and neither should Justice Tetley.

      Dr. Ted Beals has determined from US CDC figures that you are much more likely to injured in your car on the way to pick up raw milk than you are likely to be sickened by that raw milk. By your argument, all people who drive cars should be denied health care if they get in an accident, because it is inherently a hazardous activity that is voluntarily undertaken. Perhaps the same should be true of alcohol consumption, or smoking, or eating too much fat at fast-food restaurants. Again, where do you draw the line?

      You complain about the waste of your tax dollars by the justice system in this case, but perhaps you didn’t realize that Michael Schmidt was acquitted of all charges, and it was your tax-supported government who appealed to a higher court! You should vent your ire at them for wasting taxpayer money!

      Your reply has all the trappings of a knee-jerk response, or worse, “astroturfing.” I invite you to become more familiar with the case, including reading the original acquittal, before you decide something based on ignorance of the case.

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