A new Canadian raw milk consumer advocacy group has now been formed

A guest post by Margo McIntosh:

A new consumer group has formed to coordinate the efforts of many across Canada to make headway with raw milk legislation.  There is a working group consisting of consumers from various walks of life across Canada.  Our website is www.rawmilkconsumer.ca.  I have just been informed that Slow Food Montreal is gearing up to create the same type of group in French so we will be collaborating our efforts with them.  This is a Federal and Provincial advocacy effort and we need your help.

On the Welcome page of the website is a petition that we need hand signed and returned to us by September 15, 2012.  In order to present this to the House of Commons, the petition has to be in original format.  Please help us by circulating this petition and collecting as many signatures as you can.  Anyone who believes that Canadians have the right to access natural foods if they want them can sign this petition.  You will find the address to mail the petition to printed right on it.  We need your help!  Help us make a difference!

The purpose of the website is to share information and act as a central hub for this initiative.  The purpose of the working group is to collect information and create an educational package for Members of Parliament at both levels of government.  Photocopies of the petitions will accompany this information package.

We are recruiting volunteers to help us with:

a)    Petition signatures.

b)   Distributing our educational package in each province and following up with politicians after the distribution.

If you can spare some time to help with this in the fall of 2012, please contact us at info@rawmilkconsumer.ca.

If you are someone who understands the inner workings of government, are a scientist or student who will help with research and writing or a consumer activist with a strong desire to make a difference for futuregenerations, please consider joining our working group.  Contact us through the website at info@rawmilkconsumer.ca.

The battle for raw milk has been going on across our country for years.  While the number of raw milk consumers has certainly grown by leaps and bounds, we still find ourselves having to resort to the underground market to obtain a healthy, natural product that is allowed in many other countries.  Some countries even have vending machines for this “dangerous substance” as our public health deems it.  Humans have been drinking the milk from mammals for thousands of years and yet ourgovernment has been totally closed about discussing ways for us to access it safely.

Food rights are about as basic as breathing from my perspective.  We cannot and should not allow government to disregard our demands when half the rest of the world is happily consuming raw milk.  It makes no sense.   Any rational person can see how ridiculous it is to continue to tell us that all raw milk is a health hazard when thousands of people across the world are drinking it and in fact thousands are drinking it in Canada safely.   There is good research that shows that the way the cows are raised and handled makes all the difference for food safety.  How did we get to a point where food safety concerns and legislation has gotten so tight that there is no room for new ideas and discussion?

The people who enforce the laws around food are not a bunch of evil beings looking to upset our lives.  They are human beings doing their jobs.  Where we need to look is at the laws that govern how these officials are required to do their job.  For that we need to educate the Members of Parliament so that they understand the public desire.  We need to set up a government task force to do deeper investigation into how we can decriminalize raw milk andprovide a way for tax paying citizens to obtain it within the law.  That is entirely possible as we will be showing them in our information package.

Please help us collect thousands of signatures to go along with our initiative.  Show our government what you want and lets make a difference that will benefit future generations.

Margo McIntosh, RHN, RNCP, CGP

Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner

Weston A. Price Chapter Leader, Ontario.

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “A new Canadian raw milk consumer advocacy group has now been formed

  1. Peter

    Seems a bit odd to me: The quote “Never ask Government to grant you the right for food of your choice” is right on the website that is seeking to have the government regulate raw milk… Something doesn’t quite jive here…
    Interesting that the comments section is not enabled, and there is no apparent disclosure about who is making the “behind the scenes decisions” about what are, and what are not appropriate blog entries (other than a mailing address for Wellesley). Perhaps the pictures give us a clue. Anybody recognize them?
    Public education to the exclusion of public commentary/feedback/scrutiny… I wonder why the insecurity. Perhaps they are the small group of thoughtful citizens that are in the know, and we are not, and so we’ll just have to swallow/tow the line of whatever education/propaganda they are so generous to feed us. It’ll be interesting to see… perhaps the articles can be posted here on the Bovine so that we can add commentary on this site…

  2. It’s quite simple Peter. The group is completely run by volunteers with no monetary help. The website is through a Mac iWeb program that doesn’t allow comments unless a Mobile Me package is purchased. I realize now that perhaps we need to purchase that package to allow comments. It was something that didn’t occur to me. There is nothing to hide here as you suggest. The group was started by Margo McIntosh and includes 8 other consumers from across the country and numerous others who have offered to help in other ways. Give us a break as we figure these things out. We’re trying to help. Schmidt’s comment was meant to make people think about why it is that we have to fight for the right to have a natural food and “ask government” for permission. The fact is we do and we are but the question is why do we? I hope that clears this misunderstanding up.

    • Peter

      Thank you for clearing that up. There was nothing on the site suggesting it had anything to do with yourself, nor was there anything to suggest Michael was not one of, or ‘the’ regulator(s).
      Disclosure on the site says: “Comments are not enabled as this blog and website are produced to educate and inform only. We reserve the right to post only those articles that we deem to be relevant to our cause.” Hope you’ll forgive me, but those statements strongly imply a disposition similar to the main stream media… We tell you what we think you should know. I’m not suggesting that you don’t have a right to operate it that way… it is just not particularly inviting, and deters participation or referral for want of scrutiny of the overseers or the cause.
      As for rights and petitioning the government, I would simply suggest that we not get them confused. The juxtaposition of Micheal’s quote and the goal of the petition simply suggest such may be the case. Just calling it out as I see it…

  3. To be clear on this. Michael Schmidt is not part of the working group for this initiative. In fact he has nothing to do with this group. We are consumers. I decided that it was about time consumers made their voice herd at the government level if we want to be able to access this food legally and see some kind of standards set for it. We’ve had consumers come out to rallies but perhaps it’s time to find out exactly how many of us there are in this country and let our government know that this isn’t just a small band of renegade foodies but a group in intelligent people who can make food decisions for themselves. That was the thought process behind the forming of the group.

  4. Peter or anyone else wanting to comment on the post on the rawmilkconsumer.ca blog can do so on my blog at this link http://balanceyourapple.com/?p=1065. We will set up something from the new website that will allow commenting shortly. Thank you for your patience.

  5. Wow, really? That’s your comment. Here is a hint Petey, read the sig at the bottom of the article here

    Margo McIntosh, RHN, RNCP, CGP
    Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner
    Weston A. Price Chapter Leader, Ontario.

    Go google Weston A Price and you’ll get all the answers you want.

    Here, I’ll even do it for you.

    http://www.westonaprice.org/

    • Peter

      FYI – I get that Margo submitted the “guest post” on the Bovine. However, nothing on the site suggest it is hers.
      PS – I did not see anything on the web site suggesting it has anything to do with WAPF. I hope you’ll forgive me if I missed it… If the site is to be read in conjunction with Margo’s post on the Bovine, it might be beneficial to state such on the web site… It is just odd that the “About” and “Contact” tabs omit the disclosure of who the “group of Canadian consumers” is, or who the principal behind the site is.

  6. Hi Peter! The ability to comment on a blog is always nice, but it would cost Margo another $100 of her own money to enable “Mobile Me” so that the site can have comments! The site has only been up for a couple of days — please give us time to get the bugs out. :) But there’s plenty of ways to discuss the site even w/o a comments section on every web page . Come on over and join us at the “Cow Share Canada” FB group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/cowsharecanada. :)

  7. Carol

    Margo, do not forget it was “the people” who petitioned the government to pasteurize the milk. Also, a number of people obtain raw milk but do not drink it raw but have their own pasteurizer or bring it to a boil. I personally resent the inference that only certain farmers have the knowledge to produce safe milk with a low bacteria count. You might be surprised to find out that many of us produce milk with a lower somatic cell count than what you are drinking. I also recent you as a consumer implying unless I farm a certain way, milking a certain breed of cow my milk is unhealthy and will make people sick. In truth even in the best circumstances life is a risk.

  8. Carol

    I am a little confused about,”The Raw Milk Advocacy Group”which implys to me it is an organization in support of promoting “Raw” milk. I then would assume they would have everything in order including their mission statement before they put their website was launched. Yes, like anything there will always be kinks to iron out but I can only wonder why one person Margo is responsible for financial changes. From the statements on the website it seems to me very clear in their statement,”We reserve the right to post only those articles that we deem to be relevant to our cause.” that open discussion is not welcome and now because of the controversy you seem to be spinning your intention.
    As far as the offer to,” come on over to Cowshare Canada FB” I am not on facebook However, I would think that idea would fracture the intent of the discussion plus would there again be censorship.

  9. Adrien Lapointe

    Wow! I was not expecting such a harsh receiving for the group here at the Bovine. Ideally we would have had all the creases ironed out before launching the website, but that would probably have meant months of delay. We are a small group of people…

    As to the people petitionning the government for pasteurizing milk, that was in a whole different era. Modern technologies such as refrigeration and stainless steel bulk tanks make it possible to provide cities with safe raw milk, which was not necessarily the case 80 years ago when pasteurization was made mandatory.

  10. I have been away all weekend and just seeing these posts now. I am well aware that we can never please everyone and yes the website isn’t perfect at this point. I have taken note of some things that we do need to change and I will do that. I also want to make it clear here that what I am about to say may or may not be the belief of the other members of the group I have created. I have not discussed this with them so I can only speak for myself at this point. I will set the record straight and then get out of this conversation because I know from experience that this can go on and on and nothing gets resolved. We needed to get the petition out and so I launched the website as is. We are going to put a forum linked from the website rather than a blog. We don’t need another forum to debate the whole thing. Fighting amongst ourselves on these issues just plays into the hands of the people who want to see us fail and personally I don’t think we need to go there for the initiative that I envision. We have the Bovine for discussions of this sort. What we need now is information that can be useful as we go forward to make some headway with raw milk. The wording I put on the blog I thought was clear but apparently not. The purpose was to collect information that people across Canada would send us about research or procedures or whatever and not to create another forum for people to fight over small details that aren’t helping any of us get anything done on the raw milk front. It was not meant to exclude anyone. The other members of the group didn’t pick up on that potential issue when I sent out the prototype of the website and I did not myself. I can see how it was a misunderstanding and we will right it. We’ll use the new forum to collect information as soon as I can get it set up. There will be a place on that forum for people to comment and I am hoping that the conversations will be constructive and not argumentative. We need to learn from each other and find ways to work together to get this done. There will also be a place to collect as much information as we can from across the country from farmers, scientists on our side and consumers. We need a central hub to go to in order to collect, sort and work with information that could potentially help us with approaching government. That is my vision for this. People coming together for a common goal and sharing their constructive ideas about how we can create a way to have raw milk safely. Peter, the onus has been on me up to now for the financial side of this because I started the whole thing and we are a small group of people at this point trying to bring some kind of organization to a movement that has been doing a lot of talking about how unfair the laws are in Canada and yet working as small groups of people feeling like we aren’t getting anywhere. A bunch of little groups of people without some kind of organization doesn’t make much impact. I know that there are thousands across the country drinking raw milk and yet our governments don’t really know that. The rallies we’ve had have attracted a few hundred. We need to tap into the bigger consumer group that is quietly drinking raw milk and not getting involved if we want to make headway with government. As long as we are perceived as a small group of either “foodies” or “Michael Schmidt groupies” we get nowhere. There are no hidden agendas, no secrets, just people trying to make a difference and learning as we go. WAPF isn’t behind this venture as far as helping to set it up or putting their stamp on what we say and do. It certainly fits with the WAPF philosophy and I have asked for help in promoting the petition across the country which Sally Fallon has graciously agreed to do. I cannot say we are speaking for WAPF though as we are not. Because I’m a chapter leader, I have visited a lot of farms, spoken to a lot of farmers and some scientists and learned a lot over the last few years. Because I believe so strongly in the right to choose our foods and in the power of raw milk to transform health, I decided to at least attempt to bring some organization to this movement. Is it perfect at this point? No. Does it have a pure intention? Absolutely! Carol, the research in the world and the legislation in most countries suggests that cows on pasture, not fed large amounts of grain and soybean do create milk that is safer. It does not mean that other milk is all bad but we have to be realistic about what we are going to be able to accomplish at the government level. In looking at the way this is done in other countries and the legislation around it, it is clear to me that if we are going to show our government that there is a safe way we have to go with what is proving to be safe in other countries. That means raising the cattle on pasture on farms where there is no spraying and antibiotics only when absolutely necessary. I will be providing links to research and websites that I’m looking at now from the forum as time goes on. That is part of the education part of this and I hope will create conversation that we can all learn from. I appreciate that you may farm a different way and your milk has been clean. I would welcome your input on the forum. Tell us how you see this being able to work and how we can prove to government that it could be safe from conventional dairy farms across the board. I realize the wording I used on the website is being misconstrued so I will attempt to be clearer. The way I am looking at it after researching what is happening in other countries, we will never change governments mind unless we can prove to them that there is a way to produce raw milk that has a track record for safety and that track record has to come from other countries. If you do some research you will see that the authorities around the time of pasteurization implementation were also saying that cows raised on pasture produced healthier milk and that as long as those cows came from clean dairies we shouldn’t need to pasteurize it. You might also want to look at the A1/A2 controversy and what is being learned there. It’s quite interesting and I personally would welcome your comments on that once you have looked at the information. I think we all need to understand the implications of A1/A2 milk better and am still learning myself. I’ve watched as farmers argue this point about how to produce safe milk between themselves and how defensive they get when challenged with new ideas. It’s like arguing politics and isn’t likely to ever be a conversation that anyone wins. That is not solving the issue at hand and that is that we are the only G8 country that doesn’t have provision for raw milk. I’m not a farmer and have a consumers and a health professionals outlook on this. Personally I want the raw milk from A2 cows on pasture that provides my family with more CLA and beta carotene as well as A, D and other nutrients. I would not drink pasteurized milk under any circumstances and react to it quite badly. That is my personal choice and something that I think people need to research for themselves as one of the criteria to choosing where they obtain their raw milk. That will be much easier for people to do once we have some legislation that protects the farmers. I realize this doesn’t make me popular with all farmers but then we can’t please everyone in any battle. Personalities always get in the way of good work it seems. The issue right now is to get our government to concede that this is done around the world safely and look at a task force to investigate this further as many consumers are wanting raw milk and we do have the right to have it without seeing our farmers, whoever they are, treated like drug lords. I think on that point we can all agree. It has been my stance that until consumers get their act together and get organized somehow to speak out about the raw milk issue this will continue to be a fight fought by a few brave farmers while the rest of us sit back and complain and scream from our living rooms and it will never be won. Farmers are not going to get this done. They are seen as having a monetary stake in this which works against them. Farmers are also a small part of the raw milk movement. It is the consumer group that is larger. We need each other but we also need numbers. If we want to have safe raw milk to feed our families and be certain that we can always get it then we have to speak up and take a stand with government. If anyone wants to speak to me personally about this or meet with me I am more than willing to do that. You can contact me through my own website at healthharmonybalance.com. Now lets get on with doing some work on the raw milk front in a constructive way.

  11. keith

    why are you bothering to ask legislation for something that is your birthright?? to eat what you want, to do what you want as long as you do no harm. this is a human rights issue, not a statutory one. it should not require legislation

    • You are absolutely right Keith. We shouldn’t have to bother with this but the sad fact is that unless we do our farmers will be at risk. I agree completely that it’s ridiculous that we have to go to these measures to decide what we put in our own bodies. Yet if we want to ensure that our children and grandchildren can obtain safe fresh raw milk we have to voice that or nothing will change. I don’t want my farmer looking over his shoulder all the time waiting for the shoe to drop.

      • Peter

        I believe your intent is noble. With regulations in place, the consumer is again relieved of responsibility, and all the burden is again place on the producer. Are you confidant the producers want the imposition of regulations? The consumers (as you indicated, being the larger voice here) by asking the government to be the oversight and protection is (again) (inadvertently) imposing on producers.
        Sighting children and grandchildren is, imho, ingenious. How is a future generation prevented from attaining milk in the future any different from today? You seem to suggest that a lack of government regulations today will preclude the same in the future.
        BTW, I would suggest that introducing regulated raw milk will have the effect of reducing the population of farmers from 2% to even less. If you cherish small/quality production, reducing the number of viable farms to even less is not the answer.
        I hate to say it, but it is the burden of us all, including consumers, to become empowered with the principles of freedom, learning the distinction between rights and privileges, and then having confidence in applying that understanding in court. I humbly suggest that the remedy for government oppression the proper understanding and application of law in the courts.
        I encounter the resistance to learning this at every turn. But the continuing attitude that we should ask the government for protection, oversight and privileges is the reason why things are the way they are. Putting mover fuel on that fire for the sake of immediate expediency (not for the benefit of our children), is, imo, not the answer.

  12. no, it shouldn’t, but we can’t seem to convey that to the Fraser Health Authority apparatchiks. It’d be good if you can arrange to be at the farm in Chilliwack if / when they show up with RCMP sidekicks, intent on dumping our milk … give us a seminar on the constitutionality of it all ?

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