Even in Winnipeg, far from the centre of raw milk controversy in Canada, people are not fooled by Connie Woodcock’s pro-raw-milk arguments, which were published a week or two ago in the Toronto Sun and now more recently in the Winnipeg Sun. First a few excerpts from the comments, then a bit from Connie’s article — in case you don’t remember it:
Bob Demerey: “There is no law against drinking raw milk. The law is against selling raw milk. We are able to buy raw chickens, raw meat, raw eggs, etc, but not raw milk. The beef cows, chickens and such are all fed feed that comes off fertilized feilds, that are sprayed with herbicides. No problem. But if a dairy cow eats the same feed, there is a problem ?
If it was such a health concern, why do they still let the dairy farm families drink the unpasteurized milk? In the 1930’s, there was a problem with cleanliness and sanitation. Not today. All the dairy equipment is made of stainless, sanitized before use, and the milk goes straight from the cow to the holding tanks, cooled in a matter of minutes, to near freezing. A clean perfect food.”
Fred: “Raw milk is only a hazard when improperly handled and stored. The cows teats are cleaned prior to milking and the milking equipment is all sterilized prior to use. How many of us eat raw vegetables and fruit. We all wash them before consuming. If raw milk was so hazardous, calves and piglets would be dropping dead all over the place. How about your pets? Do you sterilize and pasteurize the milk from them before feeding it to their young? Yes, prior to refrigeration there was a greater hazard due to lack of proper storage.
The first 18 years of my life I drank raw milk, as did my 8 brothers and sisters. We all survived and continue to have strong immune systems.”
Garry: “Many years ago unpasteurized milk carried very little risk. This was partly due to cows (herbivores)eating untainted grasses and weeds in unpolluted pastures. There were very few reported cases of people becomimg sick due to tainted milk. Flash ahead 100 years, and now you have cows being fed toxic foods containing animal protein from fish, sheep, chickens and even other cows; in effect turning them into carnivores! They also feed in pastures which are heavily polluted from run-off from excessive use of chemical fertilizers etc., all of which have give rise to such diseases as “mad cow” disease, Jacob Creutzfeldt disease and God kniows what else! In view of these facts, pasteurization of all milk products, should remain mandatory!”
Sheila: “My grandfather was dairy farmer who delivered raw milk to customers from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. None of his clients ever suffered any consequences and of course he and his own family consumed the raw milk as well.”
Melissa: “I believe there is nothing wrong with raw milk. How many of our parents were raised on this as kids and were fine. I think that all this processing and sterilizing is what’s causing all the allergies and other ailments these days. If I had a cow, I would drink it’s milk….and it’s my own fault if I get sick, as is for the other people to do so.”
Colin: “I for one, wouldn’t drink raw milk. But if someone else is willing to drink something that is potentially hazardous why should I care. You say that I can’t but hazardous products like heroin, but I can buy cigarettes, alcohol. Eating raw chicken is hazardous. But is there a law against eating raw chicken? Can I buy raw chicken? Would a reasonable person eat raw chicken? If people aren’t willing to take steps to protect their own health, maybe we should let them learn through the consequences of their actions.”
And now, an excerpt from Connie’s story again:
“…..Schmidt is the Durham-area farmer whose trial on 20 charges of selling raw milk wrapped up recently in Newmarket. He’s spent years trying to get around the law against the sale of unpasteurized milk and came up with a tricky way to subvert it by selling shares in his cows.
Schmidt, who likes to paint himself as a simple hayseed and a martyr to personal freedom, spent his trial arguing the raw milk law is unconstitutional because it interferes with people’s “freedom” to make their own choices.
His side of the case was heavily reported. What was underreported was the truckload of scientific evidence the Crown introduced to prove the dangers of raw milk.
A decision isn’t expected for four months.
Apparently, there are all kinds of people who put their personal freedoms ahead of public safety. Only last month, a conference in Toronto gathered about 100 people to sing the praises of raw milk and its alleged health-giving qualities.
Harper’s magazine in the U.S. did a semi-supportive story on him last year.
But that doesn’t make him right. For all those who think they ought to be allowed to make their own decisions on drinking raw milk, I have one word: Listeriosis.
You’d think last summer’s huge meat recall — and the deaths and illnesses that accompanied it — would have taught us food safety is hard to guarantee and you don’t miss it until it’s gone.
Or here’s another word: Salmonella.
The recent massive recall of peanut products and the deaths and illnesses should also get the message across.
There are lots of other diseases cows are susceptible to and that can be passed on to humans in milk — such as tuberculosis and E. coli. Raw milk fans argue pasteurization takes out valuable nutrients. Everyone from Health Canada to your local health unit will tell you that’s simply not true.
Schmidt claims his herd is clean.
Ever been in a dairy barn? Even the cleanest is an open sewer.
The potential for disease is massive, which is why we have pasteurization. And he’s wrong on a couple of other counts.
First, we aren’t free to consume what we like in this society. You can’t buy drugs without a prescription because they’re dangerous as well as helpful. You can’t buy heroin just because you want to.
You wouldn’t feed your children cat food or eat a hunk of raw chicken, so why would you drink raw milk?….”