If, ands, and butts, of raising goats for raw milk — Jan Steinman’s transcript from last week’s radio interview

Photos and transcript from Raoul Bedi, in B.C.. By way of introduction, he says:

Farmer Jan Steinman "kidding "around with his pet goats. Raoul Bedi photo

My old friend Jan Steinman asked me to create a written transcript of his wonderful radio interview last week on “Grow Your Own Food” radio. Here it is. It has info on the upcoming rally at the BC provincial legislature as well. 

Interviewers: Dennis  Lucarelli and Belinda Schroeder  of CFSI radio 107.9 FM (Grow Your Own Radio) .www.growyourowncfsi.ca

Interviewee: Jan Steinman,cofounder of Ecoreality ecovillage (www.ecoreality.org) and goat herdshare member on Saltspring Island, British Columbia ,Canada  .

Dennis: Jan , you are here today because 5 years after a November 23, 2006 armed raid of an organic dairy farm (in Ontario) , Food Freedom advocates across Canada have been rallying to get public support for legislative changes to allow limited distribution of safe, carefully produced , dairy products,and we are usually talking about local farmers sharing with their neighbours.

Jan: Yes , included in that definition I would say “GRASS-FED” animals with a minimum of grain, a minimum of antibiotics use (or hormones) and , in general , all things that industrial dairy is not !

Dennis: And you are also raising goats so we are going to talk abou the “ins and outs” and the “ups and downs” , the joys and the challenges of raising milk goats .

Jan: The “IFS, ANDS and the BUTTS ” of raising goats ! (pun intended )

Belinda: No KIDDING around here !(Laughter !)

Dennis: So we will mix in a bit of practical knowledge about milk production locally because that is part of producing food locally and that is the mission of this show and we will be talking about the legal and regulatory environment and some big plans that you (Jan) have for November 23, 2011.

Belinda: I know your goats. I met your goats when they were first on the island and the “kids”that they have had . They are lovely animals and i am wondering about dairy producers on the island (of Saltspring ) ? Do we have them ? Moonstruck Cheese is one ?

Jan: Yes.

Belinda: Is there anyone else producing milk on the island ?

Jan: To my knowledge Julie and Susan (of Moonstruck Cheese ) are the only ones doing   it .I mean  that is commercially and publicly available .

Belinda: So there are people with their own goats and cows ( I know quite a few people ) but you can not really go to a Thrifty (supermarket) or Country Grocer at this time and buy “Island ” milk.

Jan: No you can not .

Dennis: Or Natureworks?

Jan: Natureworks had pasteurized goatmilk but they stopped carrying that recently .

Belinda: And is there a demand for it?

Jan : Oh yes ! People consider it the same way raw foodists are really passionate about what they eat .People consider raw milk to have many beneficial characteristics. Recent European studies have found children fed raw milk instead of pasteurized milk have 41% lower asthma rates and 50% less allergies than kids brought up on pasteurized milk. So there are proven scientific studies that show the benefits of it .

Belinda: And is consuming raw milk common in other countries or is this just a Canadian issue?

Jan: It is mostly a Canadian issue. Canada and Australia, and parts of theUS , ban it but Europe does not . Canada is the only G8 nation that totally bans it . In Europe , (for example) in Italy, you can go to vending machines , put coins in and place a bottle underneath (a spout) and obtain raw milk.

Belinda: WOW ! It would be the Coca-Cola of Raw Milk ! (Laughter !)

Jan: And a bit healthier too !

Dennis: What about our neighbours to the South ? I used to drink raw milk from Alta Dena dairy in California . What is the situation in California now ?

Jan : The situation is pretty mixed .The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has made interstate commerce of raw dairy illegal. The state goverments can make it legal however. And they have done atrocious things (recently) like raided Amish farmer Dan Alger’s farm by infiltrating his cowshare program . Then this fake member ,who was actually an FDA spy, bought milk and then transported it across state lines whereupon they charged him (the Amish farmer) with conspiracy to transport (raw dairy)  across state lines .

Dennis: Did that prosecution stick ?

Jan : I don’t know the current state of it (the case ) . It is atrocious that they were able to do that .They spent a year and a half million dollars stinging an Amish farmer! They (those Amish farmers ) are sooooo dangerous ! (Laughter !)

Belinda: So what is the situation in Canada ? We know about Michael Schmidt . Could you talk about his scenario ? It is illegal to sell or even give away raw throughout Canada however only a few provinces make it so that owners can not actually enjoy their own raw milk .

Jan: Now no province actually comes out and says that a single owner can not do it but the BC Milk Industry act specifically cites cooperatives as a way that you are NOT allowed to supply someone else with milk .

Dennis: So is this mostly a provincial issue? Or mostly a federal issue in Canada ?

Jan: It is BOTH . But we are taking a provincial approach to get laws changed and Michael Schmidt was recently on a 37 day hunger strike that he only ended when he (finally ) met with the Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty with the understanding that they would begin a dialog towards resolving the situation. (Premier) McGuinty told him we are going to continue enforcing the laws as they exist. You (Michael Schmidt) need to take legislative action. So it (change ) is not going to happen in the courts . It is going to happen in the legislature by ( finally )introducing new legislation that will make it legal and with  limited availability to people who understand the risk involved , and know what they are doing, to obtain raw milk from animals that they collaboratively own .

Dennis: Was this legislation passed in Ontario and other provinces a long time ago because of concerns that some people have about raw milk or has it been a recent big corporate (or dairy board) monopolization attempt (in order )  to squash the small producers? Or both ?

Jan : It is hard to paint the trail . It is really hard to make those links . We do have a situation with state and industry tightly working together to enforce a monopoly so the milk industries act does say that you can only sell milk from the lactile secretions of a mammal to the Milk Marketing Board and they have even recently updated that to include goats, sheeps, and Water Buffaloes ! You can only sell it to the BC Milk Marketing Board.

Dennis: It IS a state monopoly.

Jan: Yes. But they do not have a market for goat , sheep or water buffalo milk at all . So people with those animals can do nothing at all (legally speaking ) .

Belinda: I remember the Water Buffalo producers in Cowichan producing beautiful milk for Mozarella , very highly sought after, the consumers wanted it, many chefs requested it, but they had their herd destroyed. Or rather the government destroyed their herd because of fears over an unrelated Mad Cow Disease ? No trace of it anywhere ! No relation at all (to the situation ) ! But (the government ) ruthlessly took those animals. It is very hard for small farmers who only have a few animals – they end up being an extension of the family.

Dennis: Are the big farmers or milk producers afraid of small producers that have just a few animals ? Or are they directing their monopolistic energies at a larger target ?

Jan : I don’t have a definite answer about that . I do know that fluid milk sales are down . They have been declining for some time over the past decade or so by 1-2% per year and at the same time interest in raw milk is way up .

The centre for disease control indicates that roughly 9 million Americans regularly consume raw milk so this has got to have “moneyed” interests running scared as well .

Dennis: Well I can tell you my personal story on this . 10 or 15 years ago for whatever reason i became concerned about consuming milk in my breakfast cereal which i eventually stopped eating anyways .So i basically stopped drinking milk altogether but when i came to Saltspring island I discovered your goats ! The joys of goat milk when it has not sat on a truck and been bounced around – and how incredibly rich and creamy it is – and i took your word for it . It is absolutely delicious ! Can you spend a little bit of time and talk with people who are interested in raising goats and (producing )  milk ?

J: Can I spend a little time ? THAT will be a challenge ! I can spend a LOT of time discussing goats !

J: They are delightful animals . I don’t have anything against cows. But (goats ) are intelligent ,curious and affectionate and (they have )  personalities – they have the whole range of human personalities ! So we get great joy from our animals !

D : They stare at me as I am leaving .Do they stare at everybody ?

J : They recognize you . You have been there before .

Belinda: I sometimes don’t go (to your farm ) for months but when i come they (the goats ) know it is me.They are are very intelligent – and mischievous – so how is your fencing (laughter ) ? They always get through .

Dennis: I know what you are going to say Jan ! You are going to say “They know how to get your GOAT “( Laughter ! )

J: OHHHHHHHHHHH ! You took the words right out of my …………..whereever .Well their personalities are such that they can cause trouble for people that are new . They know when they can take advantage of a situation. And some of them won’t be contained by a simple fence . We tried controlling (their movement) for 2 years with 2 wires of electric (on the fence) but we had to go to 4 wires recently because we had one or two BAD goats .

Belinda: How many hours per day do you need  to spend on the care of the goats i.e  milking , feeding ,brushing, walking them ?

Closeup stare from one of Jan's loveable goats. Photo Raoul Bedi.

Jan: Well if you do not include lobbying the BC legislature then it does not require all that much time. We go out at 7:30 and depending on how much help we have , if it is just my wife  and I , it takes 20 minutes , if we have “help” it takes 30 or 40 minutes . (Laughter ! ) So we do the morning milking in 20 minutes to a half hour .

Dennis: So how many goats are you now milking ?

Jan: We are only doing 2 goats right now. We were doing 3 but one goat is off “romancing ” with a buck named Lincoln from a Vancouver island farm .

Dennis: Maya and Shakti are producing?

Jan: We are milking Shakti and Priya right now ?

Belinda: So if somebody wanted to have a goat you have to have at least 2 because they need a ‘buddy’. So if you had 2 goats it would probably take a half hour to milk them.

Dennis: Is that true of any variety ? Your goats are relatively large – they are Nubians ? Sing the praises of Nubians and their advantages because there are many different kinds of goats.

Jan: Nubians are considered to be a combination goat. They can be used for different purposes. They can be used for meat or milk . They can’t put out great gobs of milk like a Saanen or French Alpine will but they put out higher butter fat milk.So the Nubians are the Holstein of -or rather  the “Jersey or Guernseys(cow equivalents ) ” of the goatmilk world whereas the Saanen, French alpines and Toggenburgs give out  vast quantities of milk like a Holstein (cow)  will but with not as high butterfat content.

Dennis: And the butterfat in goat milk– explain that ? It somehow mixes in and is more digestible and not as bad for you ?

Jan: First of all it is NOT homogenized .Which explains a lot of the digestive problems because people who say that they are lactose intolerant , actually have problems with homogenized milk, because the fat in milk is in the form of little packets, little lipid packets. It is like a balloon made out of fat with fluid milk inside and in goatmilk those packet sites are average of one-fifth the size of cowmilk. So it tends to be more easily digestible . So a lot of people are able to digest who are not able to tolerate cow’s milk . But you have not tried raw cow’s milk. So (in your case ) it may be the homogenization of milk that was causing you problems ?

Dennis: Well i did drink raw cow’s milk 20 years ago in California from a commercial dairy. I did not notice (personal ) problems with milk until 10 years and I am not sure what started it .

Jan: Well just because i love goats I don’t want to “rag” on cows !

Belinda: Well I know for food allergies . I know that if you can’t drink cow’s milk then you try goat’s milk next . And a lot of people find success that way . A very healthy choice

Next we will talk more about the rawmilk scenario that is happening here in the province (of BC )

and Jan’s planned trip to Victoria and also more about goats – Jan’s lovable goats .

Dennis: Radio show call in number  931-7999 area code 250 (for questions )  .

The main theme here is the right of people to seek out the food they choose from local farmers without government interference. (Break )

We are back talking about the legal and regulatory environment for local milk production with Jan Steinman .

Belinda: Jan explain a little bit about the regulations. So it is illegal in Canada for a farmer or anyone to sell their raw milk and they are not allowed to even “share” it .

Jan: They are not allowed to sell it or give it away . The wording in the “Milk Industry Act ” is”supply” and so by that definition if you go away for a week and you have your neighbour milking your cow then they can not give you back that milk because then they would be ‘supplying ” it to you ! Or maybe while they are milking it you may wish to pay them so then a “supply” (which is illegal )  is happening . So it is extremely draconian thewording.

Belinda: So is this because of  the dairy board or an antiquated law that people have not updated ?

Jan : Well we have been trying to track that down . Nadine I. (who is coordinating the rally with me next week ) has been looking through the legal books . And all that she could find is that the last change that they made to the Milk Industry act was as a result of a request by somebody in  the Milk Industry according to the MLAs (BC members of parliament ) who were speaking on it . And who was specifically concerned about adding “Water Buffalo”to the definition . So somebody in the industry does not like Water Buffaloes . (Laughter ) .

Belinda: And this could be also because it has been such a hot topic in the media lately with Michael Schmidt and his 37 day hunger strike – the raw milk dairy farmer in Ontario and his meeting with the Premier Dalton McGuinty. So that may be why it (the BC Law ) was updated recently . What is going tohappen on November 23 – next Wednesday .

Jan : On the 23 of November at 11 AM on the legislative grounds we are having a rally in favour of Food Freedom .

Dennis: Who is “WE” ?

Jan: Well we are about as organized as the “OCCUPY (Wall Street) “movement so we don’t have a name yet or a leader . We are just a bunch of people who think that Canadians should be able to eat food of their own choosing with informed consent about whatever risks there might be .

Belinda: So if a bunch of you are getting together . You are going to be at the legislative grounds. If somebody does milk a cow there and gives away the milk then they will be breaking the law? .

Jan: Exactly . We are not planning to arbitrarily break a law for that reason . However we will have our own herdshare members and we will be giving the milk to other herdshare members as we milk the goats with the belief that these are co-owners of these animals so they should have a fundamental right to the products that they in fact own . .

Belinda: OK . Can you explain a little bit about the herdshare . How much does it generally cost ? How many people do you need to support one cow or one goat ?

Jan: Well it depends on how much milk you drink ? A herdshare could be as simple as your neighbour has a cow and you don’t and you give them some money for roughly half the value of the cow and share the output of it – which is totally ILLEGAL (in Canada) !

Belinda: It is illegal but that is a nice way to get your dairy from next door.

Jan: That is a nice way from keeping everyone from having their own cow. Because a cow produces way more milk than even a medium size family could hope to  consume.

Belinda: How much does a Nubian goat produce per day ? How many litres ?

Jan: It is pretty variable . Milking 3 goats we were producing 40 litres per week about 3 or 4 months ago. Now at the height of lactation it is down to about half of that now..

Belinda: That is still a lot of milk. So there is a surplus there that you could be sharing .

Dennis: That is 5 or 6 litres per day. Wow ! That is an awful lot of milk .

Jan : We have 44 people in our herdshare.

B; So do those herdshare members drop by once per week and get a pail of milk ? Or do they get a bottle ? Or Mason Jars ? How does it work ?

Jan : We are extremely careful about cleanliness . We have been through FOODSAFE (BC safety course ) and we take great care . We package (the milk)  in Avalon (local BC dairy) dairy bottles that we have purchased and we reuse the plastic caps after sterilizing them . We don’t allow people to take it into their own container because we feel that we want to be responsible for the quality of the milk going to them and we do not know the quality of the container they may be putting the milk in on their own .

Belinda: And so hygiene is number one anyways . No matter if you are a commercial operation or have one or two animals at home ? So you have the containers you sterilize everything . Milk goes home with that person probably in a coldpack or bag with ice and then they will rinse out the bottle when they are done and then bring back a clean bottle but then you sterilize and reclean them again.

Dennis: Do many or most or some of the herdshare members get involved in the production or the milking or any part of that such as when you and your wife need to be away ? Or are they mostly ‘hands off” .

Jan: I would say that they are mostly hands off . But that I encourage the people to come and interact with the animals . I want them to understand the situation the animals are in. They are happy animals , they are healthy animals and they are clean animals. We do call upon volunteers now and then. Two of our herdshare members took care of the animals while we went to visit family for a week. So we do call on them now and then to help out with their herd .

Belinda: And people would take great enjoyment in doing that . It is like doing a box program on a farm and /or a work- trade i.e  if you work at a community garden and you work for a shift  then you get to take home a box of vegetables. There is that lovely satisfaction and the thought ” I did this !” . I helped with creating my own food .

Dennis: I want to add the converse of that . We have been talking about personal connection and personal responsibility and personal action and producing your own food . The converse of that , I am thinking in terms  of seeds, and seed-saving. Are their parallels in the restrictions against saving seeds especially with patents and GMO foods and the patents on those and the government sanctioned monopoly on certain seed varieties, do you see parallels with the whole issue of seed-saving that we have discussed on this radio show many times ? And the regulation of local , individual or small group milking ?

Jan: I do ! In Canada the situation does not appear to be so dire. But Canada appears to be a few years off usually from the US in such issues . And in the US they just passed something very awful called the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Dennis: That sounds ORWELLIAN !(Laughter !)

Jan: Under that law people can have their computers and their bank accounts confiscated without a warrant or a court order  JUST UNDER THE SUSPICION that they are using unapproved farming methods and seed sources . It is good-bye permaculture, good-bye biodynamics and good-bye whatever the big agribusiness does not want .

Dennis: Are those unapproved farming methods named in the regulations or statutes ?

Jan : No. Currently not. Which means they can change their minds .

Belinda: It could just the “flavour” of the week .Which could mean this week we are targetting raw milk and next week people who are using Biodynamic methods of farming.

Dennis: So that applies to both plant crops and animal products ?

Jan: Of course . And a lot this comes from industry . Washington is notorious for revolving doors. Michael Taylor is the person who is largely responsible for the persecution of raw milk producers in the US . His previous employer was Monsanto. Prior to that his employer was the FDA who he works for now . Prior to that his employer was a law firm whose major client was Monsanto . So he has worked twice for Monsanto and twice for the FDA. Whose interests do you think he really represents ?

Belinda: It makes me wonder what they have in their refrigerator at home ? (Laughter) And what food are they eating out of their own cupboards ? And have they ever looked into a farmworker’s eyes ? And shaken that person’s hand ?

Jan: In order to feel like there is room for dialog with these people i have to fight with casting them as the ‘devil” and they probably REALLY DO believe that they are doing the right thing .

Dennis: Jan I would like to give you an opening here because we had a conversation a while back about opposing things and confronting things. What you are talking about is not ‘Opting into that ‘ but opting into something else that involves personal responsibility (of a higher order)  . Would you care to discuss again about the satisfaction of raising your own goats and producing your own food ?

Jan: I think that the most important thing that we can do is take responsibility for some of our food. We have a situation where Fossil sunlight is going into decline and the big large food system that we have come to depend on may collapse over the next months , years and decades . I think that if you have an apartment balcony and can plant some beans that is great and we need the goverment to support these sorts of actions and not stand in the way of it.

Dennis : You are listening to SaltSpring’scommunity Radio Station ! And it is all yours !

Live Caller : Good day. Michael Schmidt was just here in Chilliwack . He was due to be in court to face charges because he had taken over Alice Jongerden’s “Home on the Range” Cowshare in Chilliwack because she was served with a “Cease and Desist” order and last year Michael took over that cowshare on paper about the same time that  he had gotten off on 20 charges in Ontario of not being guilty of distribution because the judge saw it his way that in fact people are allowed to make an ‘informed “decision just like if we buy a dead chicken in the supermarket and we know that it has Salmonella and i am going to cook it to the point where it is safe to eat it . So Michael is due back in court   (in BC ). I wanted to ask which legislature first of all is the November 23 rally ?

Dennis: In Victoria .

Live Caller : Alice is still assisting with this fight . And Michael will be back the end of November or early December (2011)  .

Jan: Michael’s BC court date currently  is December 5. They keep changing it (the date ) .

Live Caller : Are these the same people who say that it is OK to have Mercury in your mouth and innocculations . I was not aware of unapproved farming methods in the States . That does  terrify me. That means anybody with a garden may fall under the auspices of those new regulations and they may take away our rights to grow our own food.

Belinda: So you would like more info about who to connect with here ?

Live Caller : The $30 ferry charge is a challenge . I know that a lot of people showed up at the rally when Michael was initially due in court 2 weeks ago (in New Westminister) .

Jan: I would offer you a ride but I am going to be in a pickup truck with a goat and other equipment like a canopy and some tables and some other stuff in the back. However I am organizing carsharing .

Live Caller : How do we reach this kind of info ? I check in with the BOVINE .

Jan: The full URL is thewww.thebovine.wordpress.com

We have put our press release on the BOVINE. That is good too. I was interviewed by CBC last night. And there will be more interviews later this week including some possible TV coverage.

Live Caller: The scary thing for me, I only started farming 12 years ago and i was just up the road from Michael , is that i did not realize how little freedom we have in terms of our choices . Coliform and E.Coli naturally exist in the soil . I was living in Ontario and I was there when the raid happened on Michael Schmidt’s farm . Hazel Lynn, the Chief Medical officer in Ontario , kept quoting the wrong kind and number of E.Coli in terms of identifying it . So this ineptitude is at all levels . I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist. But certainly if they are saying that you can not grow what you want on your farm and approve seed and I believe that in the EU that they are trying take away the right to collect seed.

Belinda: Were you comfortable drinking raw milk as a neighbour and friend of Michael Schmidt ?

Live Caller R:  My daughter was raised on it .

Belinda: So you have personal experiences of the benefit of raw milk .

Live Caller R: She was raised on it from Grade 2 right up to (can’t say for legal reasons) . Yes indeed it is beneficial and in fact in Germany it is prescribed for kids with ADHT and the Bovine is a very good source too for people to find out and  to describe what people are all on about it because it does provide statistics about  what is taken out with pasteurization .

Jan: And since you brought up E.Coli I just would like to mention that nothing was ever found in any of Michael Schmidt’s milk . No one was ever sickened by his milk (There are NO victims ! )  and the whole charges by 20 armed men was for distributing something that MAY contain pathogens in the words of the government .

Dennis: This reminds me of WACO ,TEXAS ! (Laughter ! )

Live Caller : You would not believe that the children were shadowed by somebody in a black van. I know this for a fact . I Know his kids . And one of Michael’s hired hands, I know him, he speaks very little English was actually thrown into the back of a van and roughed up similar to the Percy Schmeiser story if you are aware of it.

Belinda: It is crazy for me to think that all this (conflict ) is about food . It is something that we are all consuming every single day and it is a human experience – everyone has to eat and drink , and yet they ( the goverment ) are using this kind of (bullying ) approach towards the topic of “Food” .

Live Caller: Well they are using a similar kind of approach with supplements and when they tried to pass bill C51 which required DIN numbers which is a lab test which costs approximately $100 000 to $200 000 to bring an individual supplement or herb capsule to market . One of the penalties was a $65000 fine for even recommending that you might take a herbal within the bill ( under the Harper government ) .

Dennis: I have a question about safety. You say nothing was found in Michael’s milk. Do you know how many cases of raw milk poisoning or other legitimate so-called safety issues that everyone gets so excited about ? Are there actually documented instances of that in the last decade or so in Canada orthe US ?

Jan: I am more familiar with the US data. In Canada it is ,so far, harder to obtain that data. But the US centre for disease control estimates that there are 42 occurrences of raw milk related illnesses among the 300 million people in the US or specifically among the 9.3 million raw milk drinkers in the US .

Dennis: So how does that compare with food poisoning cases in restaurants ? Or from meat at the supermarkets ? ( I would think that ) the rates of illness of any other inspected and regulated foods are properly far higher ?

Jan: There were 58 million food borne illnesses in the US last year . This means you are roughly 35000 times more likely to become sick from drinking raw milk than from any other food than from drinking raw milk .

Dennis: And does that  include approved milk? Aside from peope who are intolerant ? So people are drinking approved milk and getting ill from that. Is that what you are saying ?

Jan: Yes roughly 500 times as many people get sick from approved milk than from raw milk.

Dennis: That is something that i would invite listeners to consider when discussing this issue . That 500 times as many people have been sickened by legal pasteurized milk than by illegal raw milk. Considering that pasteurized milk is far more widely available can you compare ?

Jan: That is on a “per drinker” basis not per capita. I mean some other people don’t understand risk assessment INCLUDING the health authorities. You are 780 times likely to die in a car crash on your way to pick up your raw milk then you are from actually drinking it . (Laughter ).

Belinda: So that is why you should cycle over and pickup your raw milk !

Jan : You are roughly 400 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to become sickened by raw milk.

Belinda: And in all the other major countries of the world you can obtain raw milk except Canada and Australia and some ( 22%) of the states in the US .

Dennis: What states in the US actually forbid raw milk ?

Jan: I don’t have that list. There are 11 states that allow it any form . And there are approximately an equal number who ban it . And the ones in between have various restrictions on it (herdshare or farmgate sales only.) .

Dennis: Let me guess : The ones that ban it are the large milk-producing states .

Jan: I believe they are .

Live Caller : We have to look at it (production) holistically as well. These animals that are used for high tech production .These animals are very highly bred Holsteins and they survive a very short period of time.

Jan : 5-6 years for most of them .Whereas a naturally raised cow could live for 20 years .

Live Caller: They even start to consume their own body parts. They literally just die of exhaustion.Most people who are doing cowshares are breeding with Canadian crosses . They are getting away from the Holsteins so it is a much more humane way of looking at things. Whatever happens to the least of us happens to all of us. So if we treat these creatures in this manner, and  I am not anti-milk drinking or anti- meat eating . But you have to look at how we treat our creatures. These are machines . They are living animate machines .They are considered units.

Belinda: They live in deplorable conditions where if you are buying raw milk or cheese from a local producer these are LOVED animals. They are out in the field eating grass .

Dennis: And you can verify that for yourself.

Belinda: The cows are wonderful at Moonstruck cheese . They are HAPPY cows ! And the owner Susan gives them so much love and you can just go up and pat them on the head and talk to them .

Live Caller R: Whereas if you go into a regular dairy barn the animals are pretty jumpy and skitsy . (and the smell is awful  ) . There was a picture in THE BOVINE of a cow with a huge udder knee deep in manure and these cows looked like frankenstein (monsters ) and these cows were really quite bizarre looking . But that is why pasteurization is necessary i.e as a means to tolerate the filthy and unhygienic conditions that these animals are kept in . You used to be able to eat raw meat or steak tartar almost anywhere . Nowadays why do people get E. Coli infections ? Because they are not cooking it properly and it is full of E.Coli nowadays . The cows nowadays are covered in poop I have seen films that show this .

Live Caller Nadine Ijaz  : I am organizing the rally with Jan Steinman . The Facebook page for more info on the rally and future rallies (on Vancouver Island ) is the “Milk and Cookies Rally for Food Freedom ” and it just went out last night . And then they can share information with other folks as well . Background about issues is on THE BOVINE as well of course .

Dennis: So it is the “Milk and Cookies Rally for Freedom ” at the steps and the lawn of the legislature building in Victoria . At what time ?

Nadine: It is at 11:30 next Wednesday , November 23 (2011 )

Belinda: So we know there is going to be raw milk there but will there be cookies ? Far out ! Keep fightingthe good fight !

Jan: I am delighted to work with Nadine. She is a joy to work with . And she knows her stuff and she is an amazing  organizer.

Dennis: Nadine do you raise goats ? That is all fine . Do you raise cows ? What is your relation to this?

Nadine : I don’t raise goats. I have had sheeps in the past and cows in the past but at the moment I am a member of a cowshare on Vancouver Island .

Belinda: Jan I was recommended a book to read and it was called the “Untold Story of Raw Milk” by Ron Schmidt. It was published in 2003. And I was told that it offered a really good history about raw milk in Canada , how things have happened, why the laws are now in effect . Why did you to decide to raise goats and consume raw milk ? What intrigued you about that ?

Jan : Well I was brought up with goats and raw milk . So I have that background on our family farm. And then for about 40 years I went without most dairy products i.e ice cream and cheese . And then serendipity , we had a choice to get hold of a couple of goats for free that were being thrown out of some place else because they ate somebody’s garden !

Dennis: Are you saying that this (opportunity) fell into your lap. Oh , I had assumed you had gone out and decided this ahead of time and then went looking .

Jan: Well I had thought of obtaining goats some day but fate gave them to me rather than me seeking them out ! .

Belinda: The goats need a shed or some sort of enclosure for (protection from ) bad weather ?

Jan: Yes. Draftproof and rainproof .

Belinda: And how much square footage (is required) per goat . Like I know for a cow you need a quarter acre, half acre or acre .

Jan : It depends a lot on the situation and if you do rotation . We do fast rotation so we have Five 1/5 of an acre paddocks where we run 8 goats through . We are kind of playing with the numbers and seeing what works. They were kind of breaking out of the fencing a lot. So the key is to make the goats feel more comfortable inside the fence than ( what they can hope to find ) outside the fence. So we  find we have finetune our system .It is somewhere between 4-8 goats per acre if you are paddocking them you need more room than if you are letting them roam free.

Dennis: I have a question for you .What do you think any local municipal candidate should know about local milk production ?

Jan: Well I have actually talked to some of the candidates . I won’t say names. I have asked them “Do you support the right for Saltspring Islanders and Canadians to consume the food of their choosing and will you work at various levels of goverment to see that that happens ?

Dennis: Have they all said yes ?

Jan: Yes. The ones that i have talked to – fewer than a tenth of the total candidates out there.

Belinda: But still (it is important) to raise that awareness that we are only producing about 5% or 6% of our own food right here on Saltspring island . If a couple of people can get a couple of goats and cows and if we can just put a little bit more of dent in that (low number of local food) maybe we could get up to 10% of the food we consume being locally produced .

Jan: It is so healthy for the people . It is healthy for the land . And what would be beautiful is a patchwork of diversity with different people having different things, different breeds and different crops because all the problems of industrial agriculture come from a  monoculture approach  and trying to optimize (short-term) profits .

Dennis: Well said . Thank you very much . Jan, any parting comments ?

Jan : I am just delighted to be here .And I hope that some of the people listening (to this radio broadcast) will be able to attend our rally on November 23 (2011 ) .

Note from Transcriber Raoul Bedi : This is a RUSH TRANSCRIPT. We would like to get this article out to as many people as possible before November 23, 2011 – the day of the Cross-Canada rallies . The information provided herein is on an “AS IS ” basis and is for research and educational purposes only. 

Poster for the raw milk rally this Wednesday in Victoria B.C.

Photos Copyright 2009 by Raoul Bedi

Reprinted with the author’s permission, from Raoul’s blog at Biofield.webs.com


Filed under News

2 responses to “If, ands, and butts, of raising goats for raw milk — Jan Steinman’s transcript from last week’s radio interview

  1. Thank you, Raoul, for getting that out so quickly! I’ll edit down the CFAX interview and get it to you today.

  2. Raoul

    Dear Jan:
    It was a very great honour to transcribe that great and informative interview on “Grow Your Own Food ” Radio on November 16, 2011 on Saltspring Island, British Columbia .
    For researchers and online journals that may wish to republish the transcription or portions of it elsewhere the latest update with almost all corrections for spelling , grammar, spacing and other wise is here :
    2. I believe that the vision and leadership from different regions of the country will provide us with the necessary impetus for constructive social change. Diversity breeds creativity whether we are talking about food production or social change.

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