Are debates about the merits of raw milk overrated? — Michael Schmidt

From Ontario raw milk farmer and advocate Michael Schmidt:

Michael Schmidt (right) at a recent raw milk rally in Minnesota.

As Sustain Ontario is organizing a much anticipated debate about the benefits and risks of raw milk, I begin to wonder why not a debate about how to provide quality raw milk in the current regulatory climate in Ontario or in Canada.

As I said before, we cannot and should not try to explore such a political issue in a debate where there is absolutely no interest to resolve the basic rights issue.

What should be debated is the following;

Why has the right to obtain raw milk  been severely restricted and taken away after all?

And how can we provide quality raw milk, which provides some kind of safety assurance for Government and consumer protection?

Considering the participants of this Canadian raw milk debate, it will be a repeat of the same without any new conclusions or considerations.

You can have hundred experts on the one side and hundred experts on the other side and at the end you will come to the extraordinary conclusion that the only thing you can rely on is your own experience and your own instinct and your own research.

The debate about raw milk cannot evolve unless we are willing to put aside the political aspect of righteousness.

In a way I agree with previous comments, why should we at all even engage in the debate, how we can get the law changed to have the right granted to us to obtain raw milk?

Certainly we can attempt to live in the freedom bubble like some, who declare themselves outside of any jurisdiction.

This can certainly be applied under the pretense that today’s reality of Government control does not exist.

The declaration to be free in the context of rights remains a mystery to many but keeps attracting many followers and the issue of quality raw milk is pushed into a realm where it does not belong.

As the “raw milk consumer advocacy initiative” takes shape it will have to reflect on it’s own direction trying to please everyone or trying to avoid to offend anyone.

The “political correctness” might create nothing else than many other initiatives who will get drowned by bureaucratic formalities and thousand of signatures which at the end get tossed into another pile of many other causes of disgruntled citizens.

Do not get me wrong I admire the initiative but everything that is proposed has been done. We are beyond the stage of begging politicians and collecting signatures.

We are in the need of demonstrating how we can produce responsibly quality raw milk and how we can create a proper understanding what our rights are.

To pretend that we are not part of the system is fine and dandy but this way we are displaying the same ignorance as the so called bureaucrats we like to criticize.

I rather go the route of training, education, testing and accreditation for raw milk quality than spinning the freedom wheel. After all I believe that those who promote free for all raw milk still drive on the right side of the road, stop at the traffic light and fly in airplanes which are controlled by pilots with a license.

The “underground raw milk movement” provides emotional canon fodder to the debate but no credible partner to challenge authorities.

As much as people like to criticize Cow Share Canada, as of today I have not seen any other alternative which could provide an alternative.

Going to Government without a proper understanding of the issue and without a working model will lead to further non co-operation and for sure not to freedom.

What is freedom anyway??????

If I am a slave of my own obsession about freedom and control, then I rather want to be free to say, yes I think we should create our own standards of quality and integrity, so that the more and more confused consumer has some support in making a choice.

Those who reject standards are always “free” to continue to be slaves of their obsession to  be “free”.

Regards

Michael Schmidt

16 Comments

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16 responses to “Are debates about the merits of raw milk overrated? — Michael Schmidt

  1. nedlud

    http://www.fff.org/comment/com1205t.asp

    I will repeat: Government/hi-technology is the disease, we are dying (being killed, if you prefer) from this disease. This is a very radical dangerous and comprehensive (ie., all-inclusive) disease!

    Whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not, a lot more people are going to die from this disease, no matter what is done.

    Eventually, maybe the disease will play itself out and be gone. But like I said before here (on The Bovine): We have Fukushima et al now, we have gmos, we have ‘COREXIT’, and we have total climate/environment desecration and destruction. So, will any of us survive? Doubtful….

    I am sorry.

    Sad but true.

    nedlud

  2. “Those who reject standards are always “free” to continue to be slaves of their obsession to be “free”.”

    I have a hard time following your logic in general Michael, but this statement takes the cake. By standards you are, if I am not mistaken, saying that I do not have a right to contract in a free, un-threatened manner with others. You are saying that there should be an enforced monopoly on let us say the only inspection entity that is allowed if one wants to buy raw milk.

    That is the paradigm that is used in medicine, and besides it violating my right to contract, it has failed miserably. We have a dental monopoly much like you support with raw milk with your “standards.” Well we have dental “standards” that have negatively effected the health of millions of people. The “dental standard” is to put mercury into the mouths of everyone. There can be no competition Michael because we must have “standards” and we lock anyone that competes with the “standard” in a rape cage. Dr. Weston A Price figured out much of what is wrong with dentistry, but people can not contract with dentists (for the most part) that believe in this paradigm because there must be “standards”.

    There was also a dental organization that was the precursor of the ADA, and they had banned the placement of mercury into patients mouths. But now we have the “standards” of the ADA monopoly, and most people have no choice, but to take their children to a dentist that practices the “standards” that you are so fond of – of putting mercury and fluoride into the mouths of our children and permanently harming their minds and their bodies.

    This is not an anomaly this is what “standards” do in every aspect of our lives.

    It is my sad observation that freedom to you, and to be fair most others, is such a strange and foreign concept, that you not only do not understand it, you are actually frightened of it.

    There are 2 types of people in this world. Those that just want to be left alone, and those that will not leave you alone. Please do not be the latter.

  3. Robert Bright

    Really not sure what you’re trying to say here, Michael. Much of this article doesn’t seem to make sense. Are you saying there is no point in publicly raising the issues of raw milk and trying to raise public awareness about this basic food right?

    Regards,
    Rob Bright

  4. charles jasunas

    To get things rolling in the right direction we should take the students’ example and do what they do in Quebec. They are shaking the government’s cage that makes a differance. Up close and in your face is what it takes to change things.

    • Gordon S Watson

      “I went down to the demonstration, to get my fair share of abuse” = Mick Jagger 1969, before he became Sir Mick Jagger, member of the plutocracy …. the wheel comes full circle
      those students are idiots, manipulated by communist agitator Jaggi Singh, of whom we had our fill, here in Vancouver in the 90s

  5. D. Smith

    I’m not from Canada, I’m from the US, but as you know, we have the very same type of issues here. We cannot seem to escape regulation which, at its heart, is always against the small farmer and the people who want access to raw milk. I guess we will just have to face the fact that we are beaten down by a government establishment which knows better, but doesn’t want to DO better. So they keep us pinned to the floor like a wrestler in a higher weight class. For now, I drink raw milk and love raw milk. When I can no longer obtain raw milk because of a shortsighted bunch of yahoo officials, I will not drink milk at all. I refuse to pander to the BigDairyGoons and I also refuse to partake of that white water they refer to as “milk”. It’s no such thing. Not even close. My body would probably reject it anyhow.

    Off subject a tad – every time I read a “blog” post from some person professing to be a nutritional guru or “just a blogger who wants to talk about health” – I cringe when they list dairy amongst the foods which should not be consumed by those with autoimmune disorders. I’ve been dealing with an autoimmune disorder for the past 10 years. Six years ago my husband and I decided to find a source for raw milk if it took us months, which it did. When I started drinking raw milk the good fats, enzyme, probiotics, etc, found in it have helped me so much I can’t begin to list the reasons. I think people should evaluate their own personal health issues, try what’s available to them and if it doesn’t work, move on to the next thing. In fact, I don’t read many of those blogs anymore because they give advice that is not suited for everyone because we are not all in the same box. Point being – as long as I can GET raw milk, I’m gonna drink raw milk come hell or high water.

  6. “We are in the need of demonstrating how we can produce responsibly quality raw milk and how we can create a proper understanding what our rights are.”
    I agree with you on the first part, Michael. It’s incumbent on raw milk producers to demonstrate they can consistently produce a quality product. Recent outbreaks in the U.S. haven’t helped in this regard.
    I have no doubt it can be done, though. The big challenge comes once it is done. Because I have no confidence there is any current interest in creating “a proper understanding what our rights are”…unless there are enough of us demanding our rights.

    • nedlud

      @David Gumpert:

      First of all, I appreciate you straying over here, from your blog, The Complete Patient. I’ve been there once or twice, but I have liked this site better.

      Secondly. people will have their rights when they work at them. A lot more people should keep a goat (or a cow) and produce their own damn raw milk. This would have been very effective, if all were not too late, as I believe (and wrote above) it basically is. We live in a techno-dystopian world now and it is gettting worse and worse.

      As a society, we have become far too dependent on (and stupefied by) bureaucracy and technical, pseudo-scientific nonsense (produced by same) and the thinking (and laziness) this dependency produces.

      We need(ed) a revolution (of spirit against machine) and it did not come. We needed a peasant population that could and would operate on its own!

      I agree with the commenter here (Rob Bright) who could not make sense of Michael’s ravings. Although I feel Michael’s ‘ravings’ are due to his having lost control of his own life to the bureaucracy (over time). I sympathize, I am the same, it happened to me too, as a farmer. You do lose all sense (and hope), when this ‘thing’ enters your life and becomes the controller.

      nedlud

    • David you said: “It’s incumbent on raw milk producers to demonstrate they can consistently produce a quality product.” That is the most sane comment I have seen in this whole thread.

      Except you probably meant it to mean to demonstrate to government regulators. While those that do not have a slave mentality would take it to to mean to demonstrate to their customers a quality product… the very foundations of a voluntary and free market system.

      It is amazing to me that many here want a monopoly on food inspections by those that have proven time and a time again that they are bought off and incapable of doing so.

  7. Nadine

    Michael – I am very interested in understanding your position more accurately and how his relates to our political goals. Are you proposing that rather than lobby for the total protection of unregulated herdshares under each province’s laws, we work towards legal protection of a membership-based self-regulation model? If so, where does this leave the very small scale producer (say, one or two animals) wishing to exercise freedom of association by sharing milk with a neighbour or two?

  8. Richard Barrett

    Further explanation is needed on, “the issue of quality raw milk is pushed into a realm where it does not belong.”
    The questions you wish to be in the debate should be and could be addressed.
    Information that is truth is powerful and it won’t change either side but those listening and being educated will take a stand instead of being full of apathy as I previously was. Is there not a cause? Many Doctors when exposed to the health results of good safe raw milk are changing their minds.
    One person with a good attitude will be listened to better and get more done than many “disgruntled citizens.”
    I question, “Everything that is proposed has been done. We are beyond the stage of begging politicians and collecting signatures.” We must take the council from the Judge that charged Michael Schmidt when he stated that the laws must be changed so a person’s immunity can be improved by drinking Fresh Unpasteurized Whole Milk which prevents a person from getting sick so much. Also the Ontario’s Premier said to lobby the political members. Has every Federal and Provincial politician been contacted and informed so we know their point of view? When more public informs a desire to their politician, whom then informs their Health and Ag. Depts., the concerns have higher priority in the ruling caucus. I presently have two helping and a third politician has requested to get together.
    Michael has been demonstrating how we can produce responsibly quality raw milk for 17+ years. Besides keeping the milk cold, and all milk equipment plus bottles clean, are you at liberty to record on the Bovine site all the Milk tests which are required with Cow Shares Canada. I need this to educate others.
    In the raw milk movement, to be a credible partner, one must acknowledge and respect both sides and not to personally challenge authorities but to challenge the unjust laws when and where possible.
    As I have been invited to become involved in the review process of amending The Dairy Industry Act and Dairy Industry Regulation for the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development by John Knapp, the Deputy Minister, I look forward to receiving your input which I may forward.

    • This is awesome. Congratulations on your hard work and it paying off! You could also have a look at the Wisconsin Raw Milk Working Group report. They have some good ideas on that report although a few of them would be controversial here. Take a look and see if there is anything you could use. I think I sent it to you but if I didn’t it is at the website http://rawmilkconsumer.ca/information/.

  9. BC Food Security

    Michael : This article is the best example of “shooting oneself in the foot ” that I have seen all year ! The best advice I can give you is that you should get a friend or relative to translate your articles from German to English . Some of the profound ideas you express here are very jumbled up and it actually clumsily comes across as if you are attacking “Sustain Ontario” and “Canadian Consumer Raw Milk Advocacy ” for the wonderful and delightful job they have done of arranging this amazing discussion. Note : It is not billed as a “debate ” but as a “heart to heart ” discussion .We all know you would never intentionally attack either of these 2 great organizations one of whom has been your greatest supporter over the past 10 years financially and otherwise.
    What isn’t a waste of time anyways ? US and Canadian federal elections are a waste of time . Writing letters to politicians is a waste of time. Protesting about sheep is a waste of time ! Blogging and writing articles here on THE BOVINE is a waste of time . Facebook is a waste of time ! Even if true, why take away the joy of others trying to express themselves through their own humble work and creativity ?
    Michael , I have a further and final suggestion : Just to clear the air and prove that you really did not mean to insult or attack “The Canadian Consumer Raw Milk Avocacy Group” why don’t you now publicly and in writing WISH THE ENDEAVOUR WELL AND GIVE THE JUNE 4, 2012 WEBINAR AND DISCUSSION YOUR WHOLEHEARTED AND SINCERE WRITTEN AND VERBAL ENDORSEMENT . You can do it Michael !

  10. Well Michael your comments seem unfair given that you have not spoken to me or anyone else on the working group to find out what we are actually sending to government. I can guarantee that an initiative such as ours has NOT been done before. We need to work together to get this done with government as we have a common shared goal and working together will be much more influential. The Premier said explicitly to you that it was necessary to educate politicians. That is exactly what we are doing and we are presenting them with 3 research papers along with the signatures (the originals of which are going to the House of Commons). That has definitely not been done before and even if it had been, if we don’t keep at this we will never get any further than incessant talk and debate back and forth. The debate that Sustain is holding is to bring more consumer attention to this issue from both sides of the debate. There has not been a Canadian raw milk debate ever before so I don’t understand why you say it has been done before. We would love to work with you on this so if you have any questions about exactly what we are sending to government I’d be happy to talk to you. The raw milk consumer initiative has the potential to be beneficial for every raw milk farmer. Why not help us?

  11. I have another question. What do you mean by this? “As the “raw milk consumer advocacy initiative” takes shape it will have to reflect on it’s own direction trying to please everyone or trying to avoid to offend anyone.” Why would we have to try to please everyone or try to avoid offending anyone? That is impossible as there are so many opinions on this that it’s like walking through a mine field just to have a conversation about it. I am speaking for myself now and not the working group as I don’t know what their individual responses to this statement would be. If you are mistaking my trying to explain more clearly to people what the initiative is about for trying to please everyone you are wrong. I like to play fair, I use my own name when I comment anywhere and I speak it like I see it. I do my best to educate myself and sometimes that means changing course because someone else might be right and I’m not afraid to admit I was wrong when I am. I like to have people work together as a team but if I offend someone in the course of working on something that I feel needs to be done then so be it. If I know I’ve done it I can explain or apologize as I see fit. There is nothing in life that any of us can do that everyone is going to like. That’s life.

  12. Raoul

    I have been in the marketing and consulting business for almost 3 decades. From experience ANY kind of exposure is beneficial and useful and appreciated (especially if it is no cost or low cost ) PROVIDING one is well-prepared and has a constructive and positive attitude and intent. We can be supremely grateful to Sustain Ontario for giving us this golden opportunity to air our views in the shared public media space which otherwise faces enormous competition for time, $ and content . I look gratefully forward to the “GREAT CANADIAN RAW MILK DEBATE OF THE CENTURY ! ” on June 4, 2012 .

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