David E. Gumpert of The Complete Patient discusses the challenges of sitting down with government regulators in the hope of re-working how raw milk is handled. In his latest post “Is true give and take possible when you’re accustomed to giving orders”, he tries to look at things from the regulators’ point of view. Here’s a sampling:
“…But what concerned me the most relates to the topic of the last posting–the effort in Michigan to bring the warring parties together in hopes of reaching common ground. I sense that concerns by consumers about “rights” and “control”–the kinds of things Milk Farmer and Blair McMorran worry about in their comments–are upsetting and threatening to most regulators. They’re used to working in a world where citizens draw back in fear and respect when the regulators show up. The idea of open debate, sometimes punctuated by sharp verbal jabs, is foreign to them, stuff to be avoided at all costs. It’s why the California Department of Food and Agriculture refused to participate in Sen. Dean Florez’s hearing on raw milk last April.
It makes me wonder how much “common ground” there really is, not only in Michigan but elsewhere. Good will is helpful to a point. But things have a way of breaking down when it comes to defining “protection.” Consumers of raw milk are willing to leave much of that to the farmers who supply the milk, while regulators usually have more grandiose, and troublesome, ideas.
I understand the needs of regulators. They need to justify their existence. And they don’t want to be placed in the position of having to explain an illness in a world of zero tolerance.
I’d like to see some of the alienated bureaucrats return here and tell me why I’m totally wrong.”
And here’s a link to the previous post he refers to, about a working group on raw milk in Michigan that tries to include all the stakeholders.