to the Editor, Burnaby NOW newspaper
In the furore around Home on the Range dairy, statements from govt. officials resulted in headlines such as ‘Raw milk hazardous to health’. They’d have you believe that ‘every glass of raw milk is teeming 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, is what determines whether a given batch contains bacteria harmful to humans
For the last 60 years – as called-for in the Communist Manifesto – American agriculture was industrialized. Marketing boards dictated winners and losers as the system churned out vast quantities of foodstuff. The perception of abundance was accomplished by reducing 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” comes from a factory farm. The dairy cartel is terrified by consumers rejecting its product after finding out how they’ve been cheated out of nutrition, who then seek out fresh, whole unadulterated raw milk.
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 agister in advance to do the work for us. We do not advertise. Every one of our shareholders sought out this arrangement. Our milk never enters-in to commerce. Whether the Public Health Act has jurisdiction, at all, is debatable.
Chief Medical Health Officer Perry Kendall denigrated our dairy as a ‘scheme to get past prohibition’, leaving the impression that we’re breaking the law. People who think it a crime for us to co-operate in farming to get a certain quality of food for ourselves, need to be reminded how this country is supposed to operate : we had the right to use and enjoy our property long before the Milk Marketing Board came along, and we still have it.
Last week the Health Authorities trotted-out some figures showing our milk had “massive amounts of contamination in the products”. But once we were given copies of the paperwork from the lab tests, we soon put the boots to that canard. Turns out that the tests were done days later, with samples not kept properly cold. Therefore those numbers are irrelevant. One has to wonder ; how come the experts in food safety did not follow the protocol for testing milk according to the Milk Industry Act.
I’m suspicious that their negligence was no accident. In June 2008, we’d been operating for a year. Suddenly our agister received an Order to Cease+Desist “distributing” raw milk. As part of appealing it in the Supreme Court, I used the Freedom of Information process to obtain inter-governmental e-mails which showed Health Authority officials knew they needed a complaint to move against us, 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 them lying before … why believe them now?
Michael Schmidt was on trial last year in Ontario, charged with illegally selling raw milk. He knows a thing or two about it, gained from two decades providing raw milk to grateful shareholders. Of all this frantic fearmongering, he says “It’s not about health, it’s about control”. What we’ve just witnessed here in BC is another episode in which the dairy industry is doing what monopolies always do … attempting to eliminate every little bit of competition. As per the script played out all over America, many times, propagandists raise the spectre of an anonymous sick child, pillory raw milk as the only possible cause, then retreat into the excuse of ‘privacy concerns’ for not presenting evidence of any real harm.
A couple of good things have come out of the recent attention to our dairy. More than 60 people requested shares in the herd. Cowsharing has been acknowledged as legitimate. With this proof of concept, hundreds more owner-operated local dairies will spring up across Canada, making wonderful REAL MILK for those of us who take responsibility for our own health.
Gordon S Watson, Justice Critic, Party of Citizens