Raw milk “bootleggers” in Wisconsin

A cartoon and a column from Phil Hands in the Wisconsin State Journal:

Cartoon by Phil Hands, from the Wisconsin State Journal

“A month ago, I would have told you comparing the raw milk ban to prohibition was silly.  That was before government officials starting raiding family dairy farms that were selling the unpastuerized milk to willing customers….”

“….I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again; I don’t have any interest in drinking raw milk, and I don’t think it has any of the health benifits that its proponents claim it does.  In fact, the idea glugging down a glass of fresh milk, bacteria and all, sort of grosses me out.  But it should not be a crime for small scale dairy farms to sell this milk to the people who want to buy it.

Our state is in crisis.  School are laying off teachers and the University system is raising tuition to make ends meet while state aid falls.

Frankly, I can think of lots of better places for my tax dollars to be spent, than on keeping people from buying unpasturized milk.”

Read the whole thing here.


Filed under News

16 responses to “Raw milk “bootleggers” in Wisconsin

  1. When I’ve compared raw milk to alcohol in the past, I’ve received some pretty strong negative responses from raw milk types, so I’m surprised (and pleased) to see that the conversation has moved this direction on its own. Ultimately, the comparison is a good one. Both substances have a built-in risk to the consumer, the historic bans on both have been undeniably political (in part), and both have motivated consumers to vocally claim their right to eat and drink as they please. The solution reached on alcohol, although it has failed to curtail alcoholism or alcohol related deaths, at least gives the appearance of preserving choice while protecting consumers: we make alcohol available only to adults, and we have strict laws about who can sell it under what circumstances. I believe most of us who have opposed universal access would be more than happy with a similar resolution on raw milk. As long as the only people drinking raw milk are consenting adults aware of the risks, I have no objection whatsoever.


    • truthbetold

      The sad truth about the dairy industry is that the regulations are NOT based on science.
      It would be a very simple matter to provide raw milk to consumers following a basic bacteria sampling protocol….you need to ask then, why is this so vehemently opposed when it is performed daily in the EU…so much so that they safely buy raw milk from vending machines?
      Big industry opposes the sale of raw milk because once all 50 states allow it, then, according to import export laws, it has to be imported. They arent worried about fluid raw milk pouring into our country, but rather the raw milk CURD that will come in.
      We will never get anywhere in this debate until we address the real issue that is driving this crazy train.

  2. thebovine

    Interesting elaboration of the comparison, Patrick.

    My thought however, is that raw milk is important for children. Consider Michael Schmidt’s recent experiment on two calves. Now imagine if someone were to repeat the experiment on two twin human children. Once the children were weaned from their mother they’d be fed on milk, one getting pasteurized and the other raw. Knowing what little we do know about the effects on the calves, I think a strong case could be made that the experiment was ethically unsound because of the likelihood of adverse effects from the pasteurized milk diet.

    That said, perhaps there are others who would take a similar view of the dangers of a raw milk diet.

    Which brings up the question as to the comparative role and responsibilities of the parents and the state in the raising of children.

  3. Milkmen USA

    We think that the food supply is vital to the strength and vitality of the nation and our local communities; from towns to counties and then to the States. The local food movement has taken hold and although it accounts for a small percent of the total agriculture, the big business and government see this and also want part of this. And they want to control it. They all sense the degree of truth and virtue and liberty and freedom that this represents; local, fresh, not industrialized foods, and non-commercial farms. A holistic and Slow Food Nation. Our advice is still this; continue to find ways toward sustainable agriculture, entrepreneurship, starting new businesses, and getting direct to the consumers. By the time the big companies decide to carry the “right foods” it will be too late. We see some light that the government and big business is trying to support sustainable agriculture, but is this another “Smoke Screen” and just another way to get us to trust them and put down our guard and trust in them? We advise you to all carry on the ways you believe in, carry the torch, and move as Mike Schmidt says with peace and sense for righteousness. The good will remain strong and eventually prevail. The good will defeat the bad in time. It is sure to happen and this is what they fear; their own pay checks.

    The Milkmen are Back!

    Milkmen USA

  4. I’ve already written on my blog about why I’m not sure Michael Schmidt’s experiment necessarily tells us much about human nutrition, so I won’t get into that again here.

    Obviously we come from very different points of view with regard to the safety of raw milk, particularly for children. You are right, however, that it does ultimately come down to a question about the comparative responsibilities of parents and the state in raising children. Given the libertarian political leaning of the raw milk movement, I’m sure my comfort level with government intervention is quite different from many of your readers’.

    If everybody could eat the way you and I do, with full knowledge and control of where our food comes from, government involvement in the food supply would be largely unnecessary. The sad fact is that most of this nation eats industrial food, and I’m not convinced that a deregulated industrial food system would do enough to protect consumers. Frankly, not even all small producers take the care that they should. The Hartmann dairy outbreak, while not at all a reflection on raw milk producers in general, does remind us that it only takes one bad apple to get people sick.

    • Raca Macuait

      I think you make a lot of sense Patrick. It’s nice to read a post that presents a more balanced perspective on these issues. I hope others will read your posts and gain some insight to a more moderate viewpoint.

      I agree that a deregulated food system would not protect consumers. Many producers, both large and small, would inevitably become complacent with safety or cut corners altogther (this is human nature, after all) – with serious consequences for the health and well being of the population. And in a completely deregulated system, even if something does go wrong, there’s no one around who can do anything about it. The issue of free choice is important and I’m sure some regulators are over-zealous in trying to limit it, but the suggestion (which appears all too often on this site) that everything the public health types do is a smoke-screen to promote big Ag and protect a paycheck can only be described as delusional paranoia. There’s got to be a happy medium.

    • Roy Ozanne, MD

      As a medical doctor helping parents and children eat nutritionally rich diets, including raw dairy products, for almost 20 years, I have had the opportunity to see the difference between raw milk and pasteurized milk raised children. Phenomenal difference. Raw milk makes for the easiest and healthiest pregnancies, deliveries, infancies and childhoods. Excellent growth and development, minimal sickness, great dispositions, joy to parents. No doubt in my mind about the benefit of raw milk from healthy, pastured cows.

      I also see many elderly that were raised on raw milk. They too, are healthier than their peers.

      No need to do the calf experiment. Find yourself a good supply of raw milk and other nutrient rich foods.

      Roy Ozanne, MD

  5. ned lud

    People consistently forget (or never figure out) that a poison can become a friend, in certain circumstances and that safety can become danger in a relative instant. Things change, and it takes a changing and high level of intelligence, local and present to the situation through an aware consciousness, to respond favorably to shifting ‘reality’.

    Thus, the importance and relevance of the conscious free-thinking individual and close associations to other similar free thinking people (family, friends, community) by that individual, and the utter stupidity (beyond belief–STUPID, STUPID, STUPID) of an imposed and leviathan bureaucracy, rigid and immoveable and–as I said already–STUPID.

    Civilization or modern industrialized, technocratic society, as we have come to experience it, is a DEBILITATING BRAIN DISEASE, on the earth and on its inhabitants.

    Why is this so hard for so many people to figure out? ??

    Why do they spend so much time, debating other, minor in comparison, issues?

    I guess because they’re stupid.

    • Cheryl Hadden

      Why Ned?
      Because it keeps their minds busy while accomplishing nothing but leaves them feeling as though they have done something. Notice that they aren’t the ones with a true stake in the debate, fence sitters who like to meddle but won’t take a stand. It’s not personal, just something to debate on.

      Imagine holding your newborn grandson, watching him continually gag and spit up on the free formula from the hospital. He’s crying, your crying and your heart breaks because you don’t know what to do!
      Switch to a soy based formula and it was worse than the milk!
      He’s hungry and there is nothing you can do about it. His mother can’t nurse him, I can’t nurse him, there is no human milk available, how would you feel?
      How do you feel when all you can give him is corn syrup in water?
      And after trying every commercial formula available, dealing with his misery, pain and hunger, day after day, realizing that he will die if he can’t nurse.
      Then discovering that he could have relief if he had access to raw milk.
      But thanks to regulations there is none available.
      His life depends on finding a farm that sells it.
      Your choices are make the drive to the country farm or continue to feed him a formula that is 50% sugar with a hint of whey and coconut oil in it at $27, a 11 oz can.
      Now comes the kick in the head, his parents decide that raw milk is too dangerous, after all isn’t that what the FDA and the CDC have said for nearly a century?
      EVERYBODY KNOWS that raw milk is germ laden and deadly to babies. Besides, his pediatrician nearly had a cow herself when she heard they were looking for a source of raw milk!
      This is what the battle is about, living vs existing. He’s going on 3 now, but he’s much smaller and thinner than his siblings, or any other baby in the family. Every time I look at him I want to cry. All the prayers that he would survive long enough to eat solid food, to develop normally, to have a strong chance at life. Always wondering what effect a sugar water diet has had on him?
      There is much argument and debate and tons of lies told about the dangers of raw milk.
      What it takes to decide would be open and honest testing of the sort that Michael Schmidt did with the two calves.
      Proof of doing, seeing, evaluating the facts and not the fictions.
      It would take the other side coming clean about the real reasons for the raw milk ban, that it is all about money and who gets the most by keeping an unfair and unjustified monopoly on processed milk.
      People getting sick isn’t an issue, they have drugs for that, plus it makes more money, especially if they have to be hospitalized.
      Hell, they make more money if they die when you consider the cost of a funeral!
      If it were an issue then the dairy farms would be completely different, sanitary, pleasant and cow friendly instead of being milking cows that are knee deep in their own feces day and night.
      For safety they wouldn’t pool all the milk from different farms, in order to tell which batch was bad or good without contaminating all the milk.
      No, people safety isn’t an issue at all, it’s a false flag thrown in to confuse the people, make them doubt and worry.
      Corn growers would lose money, milk processors and commodity brokers would lose money, doctors and dentists would lose money, the drug makers would lose money.
      There are billions of dollars at stake here, not good for business, it kills the hidden profit makers, all the background supporters of bad food. Healthy people are a drain on the free market, they don’t need stuff to feel better.
      Raw milk is too healthy, too nourishing, too good and taste better than factory milk.
      That is the true danger of raw milk and that is why they are fighting against it and will continue to fight until either the milk outlaws are put down or we win raw milk freedom!

      • ned lud

        to Cheryl:

        Yeah, it’s like that.

        People who think on their own, make their own observations, and attempt to live according to those observations, are a perceived danger to those who cannot think even remotely independently of propaganda. Those whose minds have been and are being bought and sold, just like any other commodity. This is what our western civilization has wrought.

        ‘A mind is a terrible thing to (t)aste.’


        ‘Only those who taste, know.’

        You are right, exactly.

        Thank you for posting.

  6. Milk Outlaw

    Here are my thoughts on the stupidity of Wisconsin’s ‘prohibition’ of unpasteurized milk:

    I really AM A CRIMINAL because of the fact that I have aided & abetted* in a crime by buying unpasteurized milk from my farmer, right? Why then hasn’t the state start cracking down on buyers too??? We should be locked up, shouldn’t we? Start posting MOST WANTED posters (should have milk moustaches). Media news reports: “Thousands, of us MILK OUTLAWS are on the loose in Wisconsin!!”?

    And yet if I, hop scotch just over the state line and lived in Illinois, bought unpasteurized milk, I’m a law abiding citizen.

    Where is the LOGIC in this? No logic.

    If pasteurization (heating) is supposedly the final solution to safety (in ‘conventional’ industry thought), then I too, can heat unpasteurized milk for it to be deemed safe, right? So why am I being prevented from buying unpasteurized milk or farmers from selling to me if I can cook it? Why are only ‘processors’ allowed to do so?

    A Wisconsin Dairy farmer loses his Grade A license if he doesn’t sell raw milk to a processor within 30 days? What a sham! This is obscene.

    It OBVIOUSLY all boils down to protecting the industry & controlling the market. This truly is a anti competition situation in Wisconsin, an Antitrust issue.

    Anti competition & monopolistic practices is THE issue that needs to be addressed in the Wisconsin Dairy industry, to get things to change & moooove in a new direction.

    Put your money where your mouth is & show up for this important event in Madison, US Dept of Justice & the UDSA- register online:

    June 25, 2010 – Madison, Wisconsin
    Dairy Industry, Agriculture and Antitrust Enforcement Issues in Our 21st Century Economy.
    Specific areas of focus may include concentration, marketplace transparency and market dynamics in the dairy industry.

    University of Wisconsin
    Union Theater in Memorial Union
    800 Langdon Street
    Madison, Wisconsin, 53706


    *Aiding and abetting applies to someone who assists or helps one or more other people commit a crime. To be held accountable as an aider and abettor, you must know of the criminal objective and do something to make it succeed. For example, if you drive your friend to a meeting where you know your friend is going to buy drugs, you may be an aider and abettor in the drug transaction.

    • ned lud

      To Milk Outlaw:

      Yes, unlike a couple of the other commenters here, you have the right idea on the matter. It is ALL about command and control. Controlling other people and their choices, indeed, controlling the very thoughts within their brains, to monopolize and maximize personal economic gain for a privileged few. That is the function of our government at present. Total bureaucratic effect.

      Everything else connected to raw milk has become virtually irrelevant, minor in the extreme.

      • truthbetold

        I used to work in the government as an elected official. My observations showed me that the greatest majority of elected officials are truly trying to do the right thing, but they can only function with the limited information that they have presented to them.
        The “regulatory officials”, (those who are appointed and hired) can also only respond to information that they have.
        To get the proper perspective it is imperative to follow the “information trail”. When we review
        “scientific studies” it is essential that we know who funded the studies….this is where the assault on large corporations becomes justified in many people’s minds. Large corporations who fund slanted “research’ that heavily predjudice regulatory and elected officials into enacting regulations that favor only half the story. This is where the anger is coming from. The end result is that people see the officials as being corrupt when in reality they are only guilty of making decisions based on using corrupted/incomplete information.
        There has been NO studies conducted at the UW Center for Dairy Research that involves raw milk because there is no big corporation to fund the study so we have regulations imposed on raw milk from an incomplete base of information.
        I am all for science based regualtions, but we currently do NOT have science based regulations…we have corporate authored regulations.
        We have evolved into an elitist society where only a small part of the population is represented, if you cant individually fund a study, your side of the argument is damned unless you can figure out how to raise funds to pay for independent research.
        Universities do not independently conduct “research”, they are funded largely by private grants sponsored by corporations. It used to be that a professor was granted tenure based on his potential for making money for a Universtiy by how many books he/she authored etc, now it is based on how much grant money they can bring to the universtiy.
        WE are the government, WE need to be responsible and WE need to make our voices heard.

      • ned lud

        Good comment, truthbetold.

        That there are people in government, elected no less, like you is somewhat hopeful.

        But then, there are those ‘others’ in government….

        …it is a nice thing to say though, that we are the goverment.

        And we are, so long as we don’t mind being killed, tortured, jailed or at the very least, deprived of our economic ‘share’, our worth, for our position in government, by those ‘others’ in government.

        Good comment. Thanks.

  7. truthbetold

    “And we are, so long as we don’t mind being killed, tortured, jailed or at the very least, deprived of our economic ‘share’, our worth, for our position in government, by those ‘others’ in government.”

    Once of my favorite phrases is:

    “Shed the light on the cockroaches and they will scurry back into the darkness.”

    That is how government works. If the people (you and I) each hand our government officials a lit candle, the beam of light gains in intensity and endurance…our representatives can not do this without us and they need US for their protection. It is extremely frustrating to be fighting for a “just cause” and have no one at your back. Our representatives need our constant and persistant presence in order to be able to posture themselves in an advantageous position fo negotiations..which is what “politics” is all about. Without their constituents (us), they are powerless…they are only as effective as we are.

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