This just in from Ontario raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt:
A constitutional challenge over raw milk is the next action in the long battle for government recognition of citizens’ food rights in B.C.
Some time today — January 20th, 2011 — papers will be filed in a B.C. court to challenge the constitutionality of current laws and regulations pertaining to the right of non farmers to access fresh unprocessed milk.
The ongoing legal wrangling between Fraser Health and Alice Jongerden resulted recently in a court ruling convicting her for contempt of Court. Alice founded and operated the “Home on the Range” cow share farm in Chilliwack with over 400 cow share members.
In order to prevent jail and heavy fines she recently turned over the entire B.C. cow share operation to Michael Schmidt, who successfully beat the same charges in Ontario January 2010. Since then Michael Schmidt operates and manages the 400 cow share member farm under the name “Our Cows”. Because of the existing laws in B.C., Our Cows is only producing cosmetics for it’s share members.
This new legal challenge, which seeks to review the constitutionality of the existing laws pertaining to the right of consumers to choose between farm fresh milk or processed milk, is a response to the government’s crackdown on cow share operations in B.C.
Alice Jongerden, represented by her lawyer Jason Gratl and backed by 400 cow share members out of her former Home-on-the-Range cow share operation, decided to go a similar route as taken in the Ontario Cow Share case.
The province of Ontario, in the meantime, is appealing the court’s decision (acquitting Michael Schmidt on all charges in January 2010) in what looks like a frantic attempt to prevent the further spread of the cow share movement.
The laws regulating milk are under provincial jurisdiction therefore another constitutional application had to be filed in B.C. as an Ontario ruling would not automatically apply.
Alberta is another Province trying aggressively to prosecute farmers who are running cow share operations.
Michael Schmidt is predicting that Alberta will be next on the list to face constitutional challenges by determined consumers defending their constitutional right to life, liberty and security of the person.
In the meantime Cow Share Canada continues to push for proper production guidelines and an accreditation process for cow share operations in Canada.
Michael Schmidt says: “At some point the constructive dialogue with the Government has to begin. We are creating an alternative approach to the corporate food control system.
The message has been clear for many years: People demand to have the freedom to make fundamental decisions about their health. The issue won’t go away.”