Ohio court comes down hard on “flagrant regulator abuses” in recent raw milk case

Once again we bring you an excerpt from another significant chapter in the annals of raw milk from David E. Gumpert’s The Complete Patient blog:

The February 2006 ODA action in Ohio led to an obscure court suit filed in a county court by Gary Cox of Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund fame. There were a number of problems with the ODA’s orders to the two farmers, according to the suit–they had each been legally selling their pet food for more than four years prior to the order without incident, the ODA didn’t give them a reasonable way to challenge the order, and a national organization monitoring pet food ingredients had no prohibition against raw milk as pet food.

Yesterday, an Ohio judge issued a judgment rescinding the original ODA orders and demanded that the ODA pay the two farmers’ legal fees of nearly $20,000. In the process, the judge, Ed Lane of Common Pleas Court of Washington County, castigated the ODA for flagrant violations of the farmers’ rights as well as of Ohio law. Here is a sampling from his opinion:

–“The (ODA’s) actions in this matter clearly violate the guarantees of the equal protection clauses of the Constitutions of the State of Ohio and the United States of America.”

–“It is not illegal in the State of Ohio to use raw milk as an ingredient in a pet food product…”

–“The ODA’s interpretation (of an Ohio law) as prohibiting raw milk as an ingredient in a pet food is illegal rulemaking.”

–“The Plaintiffs have not been afforded a hearing on the validity of their labels because of the unconstitutional actions of the (ODA)…”

–On this last point, the judge even turned the ODA’s “protection” responsibilities against the agency: “Had (the farmers) not been law-abiding citizens and proceeded to manufacture and sell their pet food products containing the raw milk, the agency contends that in that event, the Plaintiffs would have been entitled to a hearing on the stop order. This policy clearly puts the consumer at risk and demonstrates a callous disregard for the safety of the pets of the consuming public. This policy is a violation of the duty and policy of this state to protect the citizens of this state.””

Read the entire story on The Complete Patient.

And from a story which blog author David E. Gumpert references in the piece above, also from the same blog:

“….Now, I want to say right off that I try never to compare Nazi tactics with American government tactics. No matter how bad things might seem in the U.S., we are nowhere even a little close to the brutality that was Nazi government policy. Having said that, I also want to say that there were some eerie comparisons from tactical perspective between what happened to my aunt and what happened to Gary Oaks.

The first thing the German soldiers did was separate and interrogate the captured teenagers. Under threats, three of the teens admitted that they weren’t lost Swiss citizens, but rather Jews trying to escape to Switzerland. But Inge refused during her interrogations to admit her real identity. The German commander offered to stop the abuse and reunite her with her friends if she admitted who she was. She was quite tempted, just to end the terror, yet she continued to resist. The German commander was so intent on winning the intimidation battle that he then threatened to have her shot if she didn’t admit who she was. She continued to refuse. She had decided that it was preferable to be shot then and there rather than go submissively to death a few weeks or months down the road. She survived and, later in life, suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome.

Gary’s experience paralleled Inge’s in several eerie ways. The authorities separated him from his shareholders. They then began interrogating him. When he didn’t say what they wanted, they had others badger him. Finally, they offered him the bait: write out a confession, and we’ll stop the abuse. At this point, Gary was physically ill, so he wrote out some verbiage that wasn’t exactly what they wanted (see the confession with the article). He eventually collapsed from the abuse. Later, he was hospitalized several times with post traumatic stress syndrome.

The parallel was the use of official authority to intimidate. Both Inge and Gary were respectful of official authority. The authorities knew that, and tried to use that to their advantage. Inge stood up and salvaged her dignity. The Circle O Farmers shareholders similarly stood up. That is what the authorities fear most.”

Read the whole story which the above exceprt is from here.

Here is our earlier post on the story to which both of these excerpt relate.


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2 responses to “Ohio court comes down hard on “flagrant regulator abuses” in recent raw milk case

  1. Pingback: Ohio Department of Agriculture loses challenge over legal uses of raw milk « The Bovine

  2. Pingback: ODA “swats” Manna Storehouse Co-op « The Bovine

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