Michael Schmidt shares some thoughts on the state of raw milk in Canada:
Things have drastically changed in Ontario since January last year. As soon as the celebration of the historical cow share ruling by Paul Kowarsky was over, many farmers who had been silently waiting on the sidelines jumped at the “golden opportunity to milk the opportunity”.
The market is there and is expanding at a frightening pace. There have been countless requests by people searching for raw milk:
There are hundreds of reasons why the demand for raw milk keeps increasing across North America.
So far, only Ontario has come down with a court ruling that clearly defines the right to opt out of the protection of the State. This was great news for all kinds of “freedom fighters”.
Lately, I have been getting more and more reports of raw milk operations springing up across Ontario. These are not necessarily cow share operations defined as “legal” by Justice Paul Kowarsky but, rather, quasi cow-share operations with similar contracts or without contracts.
Another interesting observation is the emergence of raw milk dealers peddling milk into city centers across Ontario establishing their territory and expanding their markets.
Cow Share Canada was founded out of a deep concern that many will seize the opportunity to fill the growing demand for raw milk at all costs without understanding the responsibility involved and without having the skills and basic knowledge needed to produce a safe product while conforming to the Kowarsky ruling.
The demand comes from the consumers who want to obtain raw milk wherever, whenever, without making the critical inquiries about where the milk is coming from and how it is produced, so that they may make the informed decisions essential to their health.
Unfortunately my name is sometimes used without my knowledge or approval and, based on that, people trustingly and willingly enter into quasi cow share arrangements that lack the necessary safeguards.
We are dealing with a very volatile situation in which the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food are monitoring the current situation very carefully. In one of my discussions with the Government lead investigator before the court ruling, he mentioned that in fact they currently have dairy farms under observation.
We are blindsiding ourselves to assume that they do not know who is who in the raw milk trade. It is not unlikely that they are more than ready to embark on more raids at any time, especially if the appeal of the court ruling on April 11, 2011 in Newmarket does not go our way.
As things stand now, potentially they could find enough evidence to shut down farms and charge “dealers”, an experience I do not wish on anyone.
Cow Share Canada is an attempt to demonstrate concern and responsibility, and to show the deep respect that the courageous ruling by Justice Kowarsky deserves.
With sadness and resignation, I realize that many do not look beyond, do not understand, that abusing our current ‘freedom’ can only lead to a crackdown by the authorities. It is more than clear that the next round of attacks on raw milk will have as its ultimate goal to reinstate the total control once again through hardship and fear amongst farmers.
I question why we are not able to act with wisdom and foresight. Why can we not act responsibly in order to encourage and nurture, within the governing body, a support group willing to look at the legalization of raw milk?
Cow Share Canada is just an attempt to bridge the governments’ concerns around food safety with the voluntary establishment of raw milk standards.
Whatever the seemingly obsession with liberty is we are fooling ourselves thinking that we have and will achieve what we want by demanding freedom without demonstrating responsibility.
I believe only if we are able to demonstrate responsibility and due diligence, we will be able to initiate and participate in change beyond cow-sharing.
Freedom comes with responsibility.
We want it all. Now.
Are we dreaming of a Libyan raw milk uprising? And, if so, why?
Why not change from within??
Just a question . . . I could be wrong.