David E. Gumpert, who lawyer Bill Marler likes to cast as “the pope of raw milk”, has posted a fascinating think piece on the seeming impossibility of convincing organizational opponents of raw milk of the benefits of said raw milk, through scientific studies. No doubt these opponents feel the same way about us advocates of raw milk. Why don’t we just accept what seems to them like a scientific consensus, that raw milk is just not worth the risk?
“Once upon a time, I naively expected that if there were new credible scientific evidence that raw milk showed health benefits over pasteurized milk, the health and regulatory communities might relax their negative attitudes.
But a couple years ago, when I gave a talk at Rutgers University in New Jersey and expressed my hopes for a meeting of the minds between opponents and proponents of raw dairy, a psychiatrist warned me about holding such expectations. The psychiatrist, Richard Schwartzman, explained the regulatory opposition this way:
“One might expect that honorable people with good intentions, on both sides of the table, could somehow resolve the raw milk issue without battling in court…I contend no matter how much proof of safety is presented or what additional information is provided, the government authorities will never relent in their efforts to end sales of unpasteurized milk.”
Why such heavy resistance? “In their minds they must stop ‘dangerous’ activities and behaviors, never realizing their prohibitive actions are not really for the good of others but rather to make themselves feel better by putting an end to the behavior that makes them intensely anxious.”
I thought about his observations as I was reviewing an assessment from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration side about recent raw milk research. It came from the nearly invisible head of the FDA’s dairy division, John Sheehan, who only rarely treats us to his pearls of wisdom. But as part of his support of the Maine Department of Agriculture’s anti-food-sovereignty campaign launched last year, Sheehan submitted testimony to oppose state legislation that would have allowed small farms to sell raw milk from their farm sites without a license, and it showed up in the nearly 700 pages of info obtained by lawyers for Maine farmer Dan Brown. …”