Raw milk’s day in Vancouver Court

Gordon Watson sent us a link to the Vancouver Observer story excerpted below, along with the following commentary. There’s not much that’s really new here — that we haven’t covered before. But it’s always interesting to see how the mainstream media approach raw milk stories:

Raw milk supporters get their message across at the courthouse. That's Michael Schmidt on the left in the black leather jacket. Photo from the Vancouver Observer story about the court case.

“….The [VO] story leaves the impression that we raw milk advocates had lost that round, when in actuality … by getting out of the Courtroom without an injunction being issued … we prevailed.

Some of the raw milk supporters who came out to the court hearing. Vancouver Observer photo

The way Mr. McDannold – lawyer for Fraser Health – scuttled-away afterwards, spoke volumes. If every mouthful of raw milk from our herd is a hazard to the health of the Public, then, logically,  the Judge ought to have dealt with that situation, immediatement.  Going away to consider what I and Alice and the other Respondents had put in front of her, says that she did not believe there was enough evidence = underscore “evidence” = of any genuine threat to the Public Health. We have won the point.  I bet Madame Justice Gropper is thinking hard this minute, composing the wording of her ruling so our dairy won’t get shut down, yet Fraser Health won’t be humiliated.”

Now here’s an excerpt from the Vancouver Observer story:

““Who owns your body? Tell me!”

“We do!”

“And who decides what you put in your body?”

“We do!”

“We never gave permission to the Government to tell us what to put in our body.”

German-Canadian farmer, Michael Schmidt, rallied with the enthusiastic crowd at a hearing last week in New Westminster on the legality of selling raw milk. His baritone voice could be heard even without his megaphone.

“We are in the forefront of a major battle, in a positive sense, to stand up for what seems to be lost. There was the Women’s Rights Movement, now there is the Food Rights Movement. We are demanding that we are responsible for our own bodies,” he said.

In court, speaking on behalf of farmer and operator Alice Jongerden, and her business, Home on the Range, John Watson addressed her Honor with this one statement: “We need our food and we need our medicine.”

The court proceedings last week left the approximate 30 present supporters subdued in comparison to this morning’s 9:00 AM outdoor court rally next to the New Westminster Supreme Court….”

“….Then the court was dismissed at 11:45 AM where, after data collected from both parties (Guy McDonald, the Fraser Health Authority prosecuting attorney and Jongerden), left the judge acting in favour of the Public Health Authority lawyer. The suspended verdict at this point is that there is no use in granting an adjournment and the missing affidavits, if required, will be sought after.

The brand Home on the Range Farms represents 300 shareholders who own the cows which Jongerden tends.

The Fraser Health Authority deems raw milk a health hazard since Jongerden and her company packages and distribute it, despite FHA’s Public Health Act.

From observing families with children gathered at the hearing, it is evident that health issues are not of concern to those drinking unpasturized milk. Strong, healthy children stood firmly with posters in hopes of legally consuming raw milk.

Home on the Range has been operating for about three years and not one person has fallen ill….”

Read the whole story on the Vancouver Observer website.

7 Comments

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7 responses to “Raw milk’s day in Vancouver Court

  1. Donna Hudson

    I noted in another story that Mr. Schmidt wanted raw milk like back home and that he has a customer, a Ms. Shibanova, who spent 10 years looking for raw milk after moving to Canada from Russia. I think I detect a hint of discrimination against European dietary habits. And what about Indian and African immigrants who have special recipes from their homelands for raw milk products? Can’t you spread the discrimination around a bit so you have a multicolored front united in favor of ethnic foods? I think that Indian immigrants in particular would love to get their hands on some nice raw milk with a good head of cream on it, instead of that pale watery stuff that the big govt approved Holstein dairies produce.

    • East Indian folks in the lower mainland of British Columbia have always had their own suppliers of raw milk. If we have to go through the appeal process in Court, I will be contacting them in order to have a good set of facts with which to make the religious discrimination Charter argument.

  2. People must follow to support Michael Schmidt and others like him. we love the sign,”We cannot smell cheese, we smell corporate crime.” Just see Mel Gibson’s newest film. even as a film maker, this man is a real Patriot. Check out the website EcoRazzi for the latest news from Hollywood. when Hollywood speaks everyone listens.

    Read David Gumpter’s new book, “Raw Milk Revolution.” He is a type of Ghandi for writers. India loves cows and so do we. Go Schmidt, Go David Gumpter, Go with Ghandi. Go People.

  3. Rani

    Yes, in India we do honour the cow and love our cream and milk. But we would never drink it unless it was boiled first. I think you are different here.

  4. thebovine

    What’s curious here is that there were not more mainstream media stories covering this rally and court news on raw milk — especially in light of the extensive coverage of the raw milk issue in Vancouver media following the actions of Fraser Valley Health against Home on Range which led up to the court hearing.

    So people got to hear over and over again how Fraser Valley Health thought there was a problem, and what a danger it was to public health.

    But relatively few of them got to hear how the story played out in court — that the judge wasn’t ready to agree that there was any basis for legal action against Home on the Range. Seems more than a little unfair.

    Was it just that everyone was focused on the Olympics or were there directives put out to news media to not cover what might be seen as “negative” news stories during the time around the Olympics?

    We all heard about what happened to award-winning Democracy Now reporter Amy Goodman when she came up to Vancouver a few weeks ago to give a lecture. Border officials interrogated her for hours on the unfounded suspicion that she was coming to Canada to do a negative story on the Olympics.

    What would they have been so paranoid about. Isn’t the Olympics an unalloyed good thing for everyone?

    Hopefully, raw milk coverage will resume once the Olympics fuss blows over.

  5. thebovine

    Thinking further on the lack of media coverage:

    WAS this a “negative” story. I don’t think so. I see it as a positive that the judge saw fit to not interfere with people’s access to raw milk though Home on the Range’s cowshare.

    Though I guess if you were a member of the “controlling class”, you might find the story disturbing, in that it described people who were effectively avoiding corporate channels and getting their food directly through a farmer.

    Perhaps this apparently baseless news blackout is something locals might want to take up with the CRTC when licence renewal time rolls around again.

    Yay for the Vancouver Observer — the only local media to cover this story — so far as we know.

    If anyone knows of any other media who have carried this news, please comment with links. Thanks!

  6. We think that it would be a good time to publicize the economics of this situation. The general public has to know how this all can and does make sense economically. Enough emotions, and philosophies, and civil rights statements have been made. Keep them coming, but we need to have some of the social scientists, mathematicians, economists and more professions; to write about how this type of farming and “HOW” the promotion of raw milk can and will actually add up to economic fairness and prosperity for all. Otherwise we are not getting the attention of the entrepreneurs and business people which is what you need right now. For example; raw milk must be thought as a commodity that needs proper handling, safety handling, transportation, storage, direct to consumer sales abilities. Systems for sales and promotion, marketing. There needs to me more money behind the organization and movements. How many of you out there are interested in this? Let us know more your ideas. You know how to reach those involved and you know how to call The Milkmen. Than you.

    The Milkmen USA

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