West-coast raw milk advocate Gordon Watson tries to make sense out of recent official harassment of Home on the Range cowshare in Chilliwack, B.C.:
In the furore around Home on the Range dairy, statements from Health Authorities resulted in headlines such as “Raw milk hazardous to health”.
They’d have you believe that ‘every glass of raw milk is seething with bad germs’. Which is utter nonsense. In fact, as it comes from a healthy grass-fed cow, raw milk is one of the purest foods of all. How milk is handled from then on determines whether it contains bacterial harmful to humans
Michael Schmidt was on trial last year in Ontario, charged with illegally selling raw milk. He knows a thing or two about this controversy, gained from two decades providing raw milk to grateful people. He says “it’s not about health, it’s about control“. Same here in British Columbia. This skirmish is not about ‘bad milk’, what we endured is only another episode in the smear campaign … as usual, officials invoking the spectre of a sick child to demonize raw milk, then retreating into excuse of “privacy concerns” for not producing evidence of harm
For the last sixty years, as called-for in the communist manifesto, American agriculture was industrialized. The marketing boards dictated winners and losers in the system churning out vast quantities of food. The perception of abundance is accomplished by sacrificing quality and diversity. Customers are deceived with quaint images of cows grazing in sunny fields, but the truth is, the thin, denatured, devitalized whitish fluid inside cartons of ‘homo milk’ came from a factory farm. The movement to regain our heritage food – fresh clean whole milk produced on family farms – threatens that monopoly
Since REAL MILK was not available, I organized a little dairy and have assisted it for two and a half years, as we went from one cow to 27. We own the cows. We pay the farmer in advance to do the work for us. We don’t advertise. Every one of our shareholders sought out this arrangement. Whether the Public Health Act has jurisdiction over our private property, at all, is debatable.
Spokesmen keep mentioning the Milk Industry Act so as to leave the impression that we’ve been breaking the law. Read if for yourself. Notice the distinction between ‘producer’ versus ‘vendor’. Our cowshare is indeed a ‘producer’, but we are not a ‘vendor’. Since our milk never enters-in to commerce, we are not caught by the requirement to cook the milk on its way to market. Since when is it a crime to co-operate in farming to get food for ourselves?
What particularly galls me is, spokesmen playing the lowdown dirty card: “the presence of fecal material.” Not letting on that e coli is common in nearly all foodstuffs. Its mere presence is not what counts. What matters is the quantity of such bacteria.
I have yet to see any proof of the allegation that someone got sick from drinking milk from our dairy. Last week the Authorities trotted-out some numbers, ostensibly lab. test results on samples of our milk show high bacteria counts.
I’m suspicious because of the way Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health treated us previously. In June 2008, we’d been operating for a year. Suddenly our agister ( farmer) received an Order to Cease + Desist “distributing”. As part of appealing it in Supreme Court, I used the Freedom of Information process to obtain inter-governmental emails which showed officials knew they needed a complaint to act, yet did not have one. Thus, issuance of that Order was an abuse of process. To this day, their lawyer refuses to produce the name of the purported ‘complainant’.
Point being: I caught these same people lying before … why believe them now?
I urge readers to get the facts. think for yourselves. Go down to Washington State where wonderful raw milk is retailed, perfectly legally, from dozens of licenced farms. Find out what you’ve been missing! Then contact the Ministrix of Healthy Living, Ida Chong and ask her why farmers are prevented from doing the same here?
Gordon S Watson is the Justice Critic for the Party of Citizens, and a wanna-be farmer