About a raw milk consumer initiative

From Margo McIntosh:

It has been pointed out to me that some people do not approve of the rawmilkconsumer.ca initiative because we are asking for legal government regulated milk.  We are not and I will explain in a moment.  Some have said they would support it if it was linked to Cow Share Canada, others that they wouldn’t support it if it was linked to Cow Share Canada etc. etc.  Some seem to think that this initiative was spearheaded by Michael Schmidt, others that think we are doing this behind his back.  Neither of these has any speck of truth to it.  Michael knows what we are doing but has had no influence on anything we do. In fact he has not given any input nay or for.  I welcome his input but it won’t change what we do as a working group.

I thought this was explained clearly but let me give it another go.  We are collecting consumer support to take a package of raw milk information to our MP’s and MPP’s in order to give them another perspective to look at this from that isn’t the current dogma from Health Canada.  I became very aware that many of the politicians no nothing about safe raw milk being consumed in all the other G8 countries and half the US.  They also have no idea that the reported outbreaks and illnesses from raw milk, when taken in the larger context of total illness from raw foods of any kind, is very small.  We have someone working on a paper for research and one for how this is regulated in other countries.

We are asking for a private agreement between farmer and consumer, whether that be cow share/herd share or private contract to be recognized under the current law.  Changing laws in Canada would be nearly impossible so creating a place for raw milk within our current laws is much has much more chance to succeed.  The idea of private agreement in any form ensures that the consumer knows what they are getting, has done their homework on the risks and is choosing to exercise their fundamental right to whole foods by hiring a farmer to care for their cow, sheep or goat and milk it for them.  Under a private agreement the fear of Health Canada that innocent public will be endangered is null and void. Any consumer who is going to go to the lengths of searching out a farmer, taking part in the purchase of an animal and paying someone to milk and care for it is not likely to be a member of the uneducated and uninformed “public”.  Neither is a consumer who signs a legal document that they understand the milk they are purchasing is untreated.  This approach does not in any way infringe on supply management and it’s goals.  The consumer wanting whole raw milk is not likely to buy anything from a commercial dairy in the first place.

We are not specifying in our proposal any group that could oversee this.  This initiative is about gaining MP and MPP support for the idea of a private contract as a legal way for people to provide their families with a whole food without endangering a farmer.  This is about the right to choose for ourselves what we put in our mouths and what we feed our children.  Government bodies have made grave errors in the past on food recommendations and those of us who have educated ourselves on this fact want a different approach starting with the right to have raw milk and it’s products if we want them.  Those who are pro Cow Share Canada and those who are not are needed to help us with the petition and with the process as we go forward.  We all need to work together to get this done so lets put our personal agendas to the side and open a door that has been closed for far too long.

Once, with enough consumer backing, we have some support from elected officials, it will be up to any group that thinks they can present their case to government as an overseeing body to take the lead.  We are not denouncing or backing Cow Share Canada or any other group that wants to provide raw milk.  The working group is a diverse group of consumers who have different ideas about how we want to see this done.  We are working together towards a common goal.  We need all of you to stand up with us and help us.

I will be posting this on the forum at www.rawmilkconsumer.ca/forum if anyone feels the need to comment. It will also be on Facebook at http://rawmilkconsumer.ca/ and on Twitter.  If anyone wants to join the working group or help in any way please contact me at margo@healthharmonybalance.com.  Everyone please help with distributing the petition you will find on the home page of this website!

Margo McIntosh, RHN, RNCP, CGP

26 Comments

Filed under Background

26 responses to “About a raw milk consumer initiative

  1. “The working group is a diverse group of consumers…”

    … and at least one micro-producer is involved, as well!

    (Though, as I like to point out, one of the greatest strengths of the raw milk movement is that the producers are also consumers of their own product, thus adding a measure of trust and safety.)

    Thanks, Margo! Keep up the good work!

  2. in British Columbia, the New Democratic Party is wholly on-side with making REAL MILK available, legally. Thanks to MLAs Jenny Kwan and Lana Popham. One independent MLA is sympathetic but not publicly … amusingly, he’s the one who agreed that cowshares are OK, and who stands a better chance than anyone else, to be the next Premier!

  3. Carol

    Jan you say,”(Though, as I like to point out, one of the greatest strengths of the raw milk movement is that the producers are also consumers of their own product, thus adding a measure of trust and safety.)”Most Farmers who send their milk for pasteurization also drink their own product and yet it is said many times on this blog commercial milk can not be trusted and is not safe. You can not have it both ways.
    I also have a question on possible law suits from illness from unpasteurized milk and its products as there has been and will continue to be illness. No different than any other food. Where will the farmer obtain this type of liability insurance. Will the very persons who are working so hard to make unpasteurized milk legal be the first to seek large settlements if and when illness occurs as nothing that i know of in life is completely safe?

    • Peter

      One reason I believe the government will never legalize raw milk is precisely because of liability. Where the government knows of the hazard, has a remedy (pasteurization) (even if one personally disagrees with it being a remedy…), the first person to get sick from raw milk upon legalization of it can readily sue the government…

      • I disagree, @Peter. There are plenty of things of greater hazard that the government tolerates (or even endorses) without regard to lawsuits.

        Follow the money. This has nothing to do with liability.

      • Peter

        @Jan… You may be right. But I am curious which of the hazards the government tolerates or endorsed were made illegal because they were a hazard, and then made legal again… I am open to suggestions, because I am personally not familiar with any…

  4. Peter

    Thank you for the clarification. Your verbiage of late (as that of Michael more recently) and the aim of the organization appear to come around to an explicit acknowledgement of the virtues of private arrangements, as apart from general distribution into the public, as witnessed in other countries/states. It appears you must have received some valuable pointers of late🙂
    I cannot help, however, but point out that rights are not granted by legislators. I don’t know what your source of information is for the idea that the government can give you your rights, but I would question it. Petitioning the government for rights, produces, at best, an illusion of rights (colour of right). Rights are ours by natural law, and are enforced by the courts. For your reference, the right to engage through private arrangement appears to me to have already been edified by the Supreme Court of Canada (see Kowarski’s ruling for Michael’s original trial).
    Anyway, one can spend lots of time, money and energy petitioning the government for our rights (or doing rallies, writing letters, crying foul on the internet, etc). The end result will not be the government’s granting of any rights. This is absolutely predictably so.
    Or do we spend the energy to understanding the relationship of government regulations and common law itself, and learn to appreciate where rights come from? I would suggest it is through understanding that we can come into a realization of our rights. IMO, there is no shortcut, and there is no “simply sign this piece of paper/do a cow share program and you’ll be alright”. IMO, a petition to ask the government perpetuates the problem, and doesn’t provide any material improvement. In deed, I would suggest it is a mask, while the problem underneath the band-aid gets worse…
    But… if that is the journey we must have, then so be it, and let’s have at it. Blessings🙂

    • Hello Peter. I am well aware that rights are not granted by government BUT government is where we have to work if we are going to stop the persecution of our farmers. I am with everyone else in believing we should not have to ask government for our God given right to food. However, the reality is that unless we change something with regards to how raw milk is viewed in Canada, our farmers will be in danger for supplying us with a food consumers are increasingly demanding. It is a fact of life in North America that we have given government so much power over us that now we do have to fight with them to take some of that back. Sad but true. It was my intent right from the beginning with this initiative to do exactly what I have described in the article. Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough in the beginning and that is my fault. The working group understood me but perhaps I didn’t word things correctly on the website and have had a couple of farmers input on that and changed some of the wording. I know full well that getting raw milk regulated and available in stores is a) not going to happen in Canada and b) not the best scenario for all concerned, especially the raw milk farmers who are all small scale and striving for the best and healthiest farms possible. Can’t please everyone unfortunately but we have to start somewhere.

      • Peter

        IMO, that “we” look to the government gives them the power over “us”. Asking them to make private agreements legal empowers them to give it to us, or not give it to us. If they “give us that right” or not, does not matter. They are in either case empowered.
        I would like to suggest that the right for private agreements has been in place since the adoption of a judiciary (courts of law) and the adherence to common law.
        Freedom (absolute, civil, or spiritual/mental) is not granted to us by the government, or some explicit piece of paper. Civil freedom is only for those who are willing/able to perceive through that lens. As you indicated in another post, many of us are well indoctrinated with a deep seeded believe that the government is the source.
        I concur that we have given government so much power over us. However, I am of the opinion that it isn’t for us to fight with them to take some of that back. I am of the opinion that we simply need to stop giving it to them. I would suggest starting with ourselves, rather than with the government. Or another way to put it: The fight is with ourselves; our ignorance. As such, I don’t concur with your assertion that it is true (“Sad but true”)
        I guess I’m more inclined to think that the pen is mightier than the sword. I believe Prophet Muhammad said something similar when he said: “The ink of a scholar is greater than the blood of a martyr”.
        Anyway, take it for what it’s worth. Maybe is resonates with some… maybe it doesn’t. Either way, it is all okay🙂

  5. BC Food Security

    Peter : Your logic here is good. But the world , for better and for worse , is not a logical place. On the positive side, there is a process or magic , if you will, that happens when we constructively engage to the best of our abilities with the public , with our colleagues and with the other side including the government. The other side of the coin, to wait for everything to be perfect or for somebody else to do it, is not to have lived life at all .

    • Peter

      Fair enough… But by the same token, there is no such thing as security, including “(BC) Food Security”🙂 So why strive for security when it isn’t to be had? Why have a debate if we relegate logic to second place? If we should be governed by the “emotion” then what is the point of law or logic? In deed, we may as well throw our aspirations of what is fair out the window.
      And if we logically know that the direction we are headed in is at best a temporary band-aid, followed by worse conditions afterward, are we still inclined to proceed in that direction, because our emotions prefers the evil we know? Anyway those are my 2 cents worth🙂

  6. Or we could just shut ourselves in our homes and complain that things are not the way we want them to be and do nothing about making an attempt to try to change whatever it is that the don’t like or agree with. Why try? Nothing happens otherwise.

    • Peter

      Or we can sharpen our ax and go at the root, rather than trying to deal with the leaves (in perpetuity…)

      • I agree Peter and the root in this case is an antiquated law.

      • Peter

        @Margo,
        I would have to say I disagree. I believe you are continuing to perceive the statutory law (the one issued by the government) as being the highest form of law… again as though government is source. A shift in perception will reveal that law, our rights to engage, does already exist, for it is there not by virtue of the government, but by virtue of common law. Perceiving the law that prohibits the sale of raw milk to the public as antiquated perpetuates and feed the government with the ongoing perception that it crosses over into the private domain. I get that agents of the state perceive the same way… Because we all grow up with the same lens (aka – government is our source).
        I would suggest the root is our own limited paradigm. If we perceive that “others/government” must fix our external limitation for us, we inherently it/their subject/victim. And if we perceive that to be the truth, then such is our reality – and are thus resigned to complaining.

  7. Raoul

    “TO SEARCH FOR THINGS BEYOND OUR GRASP IS FANTASY,
    WHEN THAT WHICH LIES WITHIN OUR REACH WE SEE HAS NOT YET BEEN COMPLETED,
    YET HOLDS THE KEY,
    TO THAT WHICH THROUGH RIGHT ACTION OURS WILL BE.
    THE SIMPLEST THINGS IN LIFE WILL MAKE US FREE.”

    John Whitman Ray

  8. Yes Peter I agree with most of that. I know that our collective minds have created this problem and perpetuates it. If we now sit back and believe that we have the right to raw milk and just go ahead and sell or acquire it what will change in the outside world? This is the issue with mind. Yes the thought needs to change but unless the tipping point is reached with the population nothing changes in the outside world. Some type of action needs to in some way be taken or the outside world does not change. This battle has been going on for years and how far have we gotten other than now there are thousands acquiring raw milk and many more farmers taking a huge risk to supply it. I agree with this part of your statement “I would suggest the root is our own limited paradigm. If we perceive that “others/government” must fix our external limitation for us, we inherently it/their subject/victim. And if we perceive that to be the truth, then such is our reality – and are thus resigned to complaining.” If we do not try to educate the politicians, who have the ability to take our side and pressure the government on our behalf, to back off, then what is your solution? The only way they will back off our farmers is for something to change with the law whether we believe we are free or not. So what is your solution? Continue with the status quo until Michael, Alice or some other farmer is again attacked? Look at what is happening in the US. The mass consciousness is not at a point yet where we can tip the scales but it is getting there thanks, to a great extent, to those brave souls who are out there bringing attention to this in whatever ways they can. Because we understand that this is a facet of belief does not mean that those who are not the same mindset are going to be safe. I am quoting something that I copied down at one of the many hypnosis/mind courses I have taken “are we going to sit back and feel smug that we understand mind is everything and every perception of our world becomes truth in our individual minds or are we going to use what we know to further humanity? Without those willing to challenge the status quo, the collective mind of humanity remains stuck in a quagmire or illusion that perpetuates itself and grows larger.” Because something may have been tried before and didn’t work or because people with belief systems that allow them to complain incessantly about circumstances and about things those people working to create change are doing isn’t a reason for me to not undertake something I believe strongly would help this whole situation. It would have been much easier to just sit back in my belief system that my mind is creating my world so if I go about my daily business and ignore what is happening on the outside world, my milk supply will always be there. Believe me this project has been a tremendous amount of work and a lot of that work is doing damage control with people who either don’t understand the underlying reasons for it, are not willing to do the work to create change or would rather continue with the status quo complaining and talking about solutions without taking the action to create a new reality in the minds of others that would help us get to a tipping point where we really do create social change. As Michael says, this milk issue is the tip of the iceberg and he is very right there.

    I would really like to hear your solution to the ongoing attacks that are happening in the US and to the stale mate that we seem to have in Ontario right now with regards to milk. You and I understanding that we are truly free if we believe we are is not going to stop a group of enforcement officers from raiding Michaels farm or any of the other dozen or so farmers we have in Southern Ontario. If you have a better solution than the one I am attempting to perpetuate please, enlighten me. I’m all ears.

  9. Peter

    @ Margo – Responses throughout in brackets…
    Yes Peter I agree with most of that. I know that our collective minds have created this problem and perpetuates it. If we now sit back and believe that we have the right to raw milk and just go ahead and sell or acquire it what will change in the outside world? (As within, so without. Government is only an effect – not cause. If we want real change, we have to change ourselves. If we continue for others to change before we change ourselves, it won’t just remain status quo – it’ll get worse.) This is the issue with mind. Yes the thought needs to change but unless the tipping point is reached with the population nothing changes in the outside world. (Like I think you said somewhere, change starts with a small few). Some type of action needs to in some way be taken or the outside world does not change. (I agree… I believe the action to be taken is that we need to change our perception about the role/function of government). This battle has been going on for years (I agree… we have been asking for the “other side” to change – that “other side” is only an effect – not the cause… As I see it, this battle is futile…) and how far have we gotten other than now there are thousands acquiring raw milk and many more farmers taking a huge risk to supply it. (I believe Einstein said something like: to fix a problem, you cannot employ the same consciousness that created it in the first place. As is evident, fighting/battle/war have only made things worse… not better. Things won’t get better until with do real battle with ourselves) I agree with this part of your statement “I would suggest the root is our own limited paradigm. If we perceive that “others/government” must fix our external limitation for us, we inherently it/their subject/victim. And if we perceive that to be the truth, then such is our reality – and are thus resigned to complaining.” If we do not try to educate the politicians, who have the ability to take our side and pressure the government on our behalf, to back off, then what is your solution? (Looking to educate the politician is, imo, the root of the problem – when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. If the politician wants to know a thing, he/she will seek the answer. Otherwise we are just like the religious people knocking on the door. Be the change you want to see… Be the politician with the new consciousness/perception – It may take 40 years (see Ron Paul), but be patient. An idea who’s time has come cannot be stopped by any army or any government…) The only way they will back off our farmers is for something to change with the law whether we believe we are free or not. (I do not concur that this is the only way… For example, the court is not “the government”, and “the universe” has a way of manifesting according to our frame of mind. Some might say that we make our own bed… According to that thought, Michael has invariable created the drama he is experiencing… not the government…) So what is your solution? (Depends on which plane we want to operate on – political, legal, mental, or spiritual – first I believe it is absolutely crucial to define what is wanted). Continue with the status quo until Michael, Alice or some other farmer is again attacked? Look at what is happening in the US. The mass consciousness is not at a point yet where we can tip the scales but it is getting there thanks, to a great extent, to those brave souls who are out there bringing attention to this in whatever ways they can. (I’m of the opinion that suffering is necessary until we realize that it isn’t necessary – confrontation/bravery/courage is necessary until we realize it isn’t necessary. IMO, any way you slice it, the matter resides with ourselves). Because we understand that this is a facet of belief does not mean that those who are not the same mindset are going to be safe. (So is “safety” something we are after? And are we going to continue to look to the government, or someone else, to give that to us? Not right or wrong… just seeking clarity about what is wanted.) I am quoting something that I copied down at one of the many hypnosis/mind courses I have taken “are we going to sit back and feel smug that we understand mind is everything and every perception of our world becomes truth in our individual minds or are we going to use what we know to further humanity? Without those willing to challenge the status quo, the collective mind of humanity remains stuck in a quagmire or illusion that perpetuates itself and grows larger.” (I believe that, in my own way, such as commenting here on this blog, I am challenging the status quo mindset. I am perpetually sharpening my ax so that, when called upon, I am ready to give it my best shot, and deal with the root cause, rather than the effect – the timing of which I cannot say) Because something may have been tried before and didn’t work or because people with belief systems that allow them to complain incessantly about circumstances and about things those people working to create change are doing isn’t a reason for me to not undertake something I believe strongly would help this whole situation. (I believe that we cannot give what we do not have… Do we want what is fair, or do we want what is best?… for the individual, or the collective? Again, I believe it is question of what is wanted… for the individual, or the collective). It would have been much easier to just sit back in my belief system that my mind is creating my world so if I go about my daily business and ignore what is happening on the outside world, my milk supply will always be there. (I am of the opinion that physical action is much easier than real constructive thinking…) Believe me this project has been a tremendous amount of work and a lot of that work is doing damage control (“damage control”… I see this as a profound point for reflection…) with people who either don’t understand the underlying reasons for it, are not willing to do the work to create change or would rather continue with the status quo complaining and talking about solutions without taking the action to create a new reality in the minds of others that would help us get to a tipping point where we really do create social change (IMO, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear). As Michael says, this milk issue is the tip of the iceberg and he is very right there.
    I would really like to hear your solution to the ongoing attacks that are happening in the US and to the stale mate that we seem to have in Ontario right now with regards to milk. You and I understanding that we are truly free if we believe we are is not going to stop a group of enforcement officers from raiding Michaels farm or any of the other dozen or so farmers we have in Southern Ontario. (At some level, we cannot help those who cannot help themselves. We can share with others what we know, but we cannot make them understand. IMO, freedom requires understanding, then realization) If you have a better solution than the one I am attempting to perpetuate please, enlighten me. I’m all ears. (I would encourage a working group for those who want to genuinely contemplate and understand the principles of freedom within a civil context, the real and perceived role of government, and the administration of justice through the courts. I would suggest that it is then that we are genuinely empowered, and find ourselves no longer seeking safety or security, but becomes the change in the consciousness so desired. In deed, courage (masking our insecurity) will not be something we need to conjure up (manufacturing courage is, imo, taxing, and not conducive to our own well being). In deed, real strength will be found within, not at the cost of ourselves or others…)

    • Peter, some people reading this are going to think we have both lost our minds but I understand what you are saying. You are right on one level and I realize that. I guess we are all called to move in a certain direction and I’m moving in the one that feels right in my gut. Luckily I have an awesome team of people who share the vision so lets just see how it turns out. If we don’t make an attempt on the physical level we will never know. In fact, if I believe strongly enough that this will work, it will. :0)

      • Peter

        I am really glad we are able to contemplate ideas, and be constructive towards understanding those ideas, even if our “true” identities are not known. One day it might be common knowledge that abstract ideas are not themselves the individual that conveyed it. At that point, we’ll undoubtedly have moved beyond discriminating ideas because of the individual that brought it into this world.
        PS – Food for thought. Of course we make decisions from the “gut”. I am wondering if we should be surprised when politicians do the same. If we submit “logical material” to them for consideration, just as I attempted to submit logical arguments to you for which you acknowledged merit, are they likely to change their direction based on the logic you submitted, or would they continue based on their gut feel, just as you might/do?
        Again I ask: what is governing? Logic / fairness / principles, or gut instincts / feelings / emotions? Neither is necessarily right or wrong, and not necessarily mutually exclusive. But let’s call it out for what it is so that we can more clearly state what is wanted.🙂
        Blessings…

      • Peter

        I remember the “debt ceiling crisis” in the US last year. America has a “debt problem”. So you know what they decided to do? Increase the debt… kick the can down the road just a bit more. Par for the course… Appears obvious to me that “changing course” is hard… it certainly isn’t popular.

  10. Carol

    Interesting read. my son would agree with you 100% about common law Peter. It is a little confusing to me as one minute this blog talks about “food freedom” and the next minute “Milk”. i believe we have food freedom except for the raw verses pasteurized debate. If you want “raw”milk you could buy a goat,sheep or cow and put it on some acreage or pay a farmer to look after it. Not unlike boarding your horse and the individual arrangements you would make for its care.You will then have your milk no government approval needed!!!. You may think it is not fair you have to this or it is inconvenient but life is not fair. Because I live in a rural area I can grow my own food or obtain it from my neighbour but hey I can not walk out the door and take a subway etc. That is life!! I realize this is an important debate but it is my opinion that there are far more important issues at present such as IWT(industrial Wind Turbines)and how that will effect our food supply and hydro costs. The Mega Quarry that will effect our water and number one Agriculture land. These issues to name just two will significantly effect our food supply and cost.
    Margo you stated,”so if I go about my daily business and ignore what is happening on the outside world, my milk supply will always be there.” I for one am quite aware of whats going on in the outside world and I work hard to try and make this world a better place but each of us will leave our mark hopefully for the betterment of this planet and society as a whole in the way they see fit.
    One further comment. Since Michael’s fast etc and all the activity that went with that including the court case & Judges recommendations, it seems all is very quiet now. Are you pursuing the Judges recommendations or are you going in another direction? To me it seems that the momentum from Michael’s fast, meeting with the Premier and the Judges ruling has been lost.

    • Yes I feel that the momentum that was gained from the fast is quickly being lost which is one of the reasons I started this whole thing. The judge said the laws are antiquated and should be looked at and that it is up to us to educate government. Hence, education it is. At least as step one.

    • BC reader

      “f you want “raw”milk you could buy a goat,sheep or cow and put it on some acreage or pay a farmer to look after it. Not unlike boarding your horse and the individual arrangements you would make for its care.You will then have your milk no government approval needed!!!.”

      Unfortunately, not true in British Columbia. The farmer looking after your cow for you will be charged with “causing a health hazard” under the “Public Health Act, Health Hazards Regulation” if the local Health Authority finds out about it. 😦

      • @BC Reader – Unfortunately not true anywhere in Canada and that is what we want to change.

      • Peter

        One cannot be free / exercise rights without responsibility. In a free society (such as Canada), it is principally possible to buy a cow and hire someone to look after it for you. However, one must be honest about the relationship, and be clear about where the responsibility is. IMO, most attempts at such arrangements are not bona fide. As such, they don’t stand scrutiny. Remember, the facts in each case are different. Underneath, however, the principles remain the same. Principally, there is a space for government jurisdiction / regulation. I believe the power is in grasping where government jurisdiction begins, and where it ends. Then conduct yourself accordingly.

        @ Margo – The principles of freedom remain the same. It is not subject to change by the government. The government can only change public policy and the privileges granted by it. As such, making changes in that domain is not changing any rights, but is merely changing privileges (colour of rights). As such, we are forever sensed with enslavement, whether they grant us the privilege, or withhold it. It is blessed if you feel inspired to continue in such a task. I honestly hope it doesn’t leave you feeling bitter / with resentment / frustrated / victim / hopeless. I can see how the reduction in momentum can lead to such feelings. The all pervasive victim mentality in society, and here on this blog, imo, leaves something to be desired. And at the same time, interestingly, it is non-the-less facilitating growth. As such, it is all blessed🙂

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