Monthly Archives: December 2012

Dairy lobby drives raw milk prohibition

David Gumpert isn’t the only one who sees the Vernon Herschberger case as a bellwether. From Margo Redmond in the Baraboo News Republic:

“…The Wisconsin Farm Bureau is an advocate of corporate farming. Two years ago I spoke with Jeff Lyons — now second in command at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection — while he was assigned to the raw milk issue at the Bureau. I asked him if the Bureau represented the interests of big and small farmers. He replied that small family farms need to become corporate farms, as that is the only realistic kind of farming today.

I could tell he considered me silly for saying I missed seeing cows grazing on Wisconsin grass. But it is practical to prefer milk from truly contented cows that graze on grass because it nourishes them and, in turn, us. I do not apologize for using animal products and even eating them, but I believe they are owed, in return, a natural, decent life. Continue reading


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Why the Vernon Herschberger raw milk case is important for future food rights

From David E. Gumpert on The Complete Patient blog:

“I’ve been devoting a considerable amount of time and energy to reporting on the sometimes tedious ins and outs of the upcoming trial of Vernon Hershberger.

Why? What makes this case so important, in my view?

Here are six reasons I see it as being key:

1. It could go a long way toward determining whether Americans will retain the right to privately obtain foods the government may object to. Note, I say “retain.” Americans have always had the right to obtain food privately–whether directly from farm stores or at church suppers or via lemonade stands or from neighbors selling extra milk or cans of food. Continue reading

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New Zealand farmers to sell raw milk

From the Canadian Raw Milk Consumer Advocacy Group:

“A total of 1685 submissions were received on the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI’s) discussion paper: Proposals for continuing to legally provide for farm gate sales of raw drinking milk (discussion paper). Of these, 1663 were from the general public, two of which were petitions with multiple signatures. A further five submissions were from public health agencies, three were industry-related organisations, ten had identified themselves as farmers, two were interest groups, one was from an academic institution and one was a food safety auditor from a private company.

“The vast majority of submitters (1561) supported the continuation of raw drinking milk sales. The reasons given by submitters for drinking and using raw milk included the superior taste when compared to pasteurised milk, perceived health benefits, a desire to purchase an organic and natural product and the ability to support local, small businesses. Continue reading


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CFIA vs PEI fish scientist, over salmon

From Denis Calnan in the Toronto Star:

CHARLOTTETOWN—There’s something fishy going on in Prince Edward Island.

A professor at Atlantic Veterinary College says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is trying to discredit his work after tests he conducted showed a virus in British Columbia’s valuable wild salmon population.

Dr. Frederick Kibenge, who found the infectious salmon anemia (ISA) virus in October 2011, is recognized by the World Organisation for Animal Health — known as the OIE — as an expert on the virus.

Despite Kibenge’s results, and a Department of Fisheries and Oceans lab in B.C. that also found ISA, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has maintained that West Coast salmon is free of the virus, which has never been found in the province before. Continue reading

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DATCP vs Herschberger and his faith

You’d think the Vernon Herschberger raw milk case was going to be the trial of the decade the way the prosecutors are pulling out all the stops to stack the deck in their favour with pre-trial maneuverings. But now a new factor, Vernon’s Amish faith and its relation to the legal system, has been brought into play.

David E. Gumpert has the story:

“At today’s (Friday) hearing, the issue was freedom and protection of religion, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

That issue came up when Judge Guy Reynolds sided with the state in agreeing, at the prosecution’s request, to block retired pathologist Ted Beals from testifying on behalf of Hershberger.  Prosecutors argued that Beals’ testimony was irrelevant, because the case was about licenses, not health and sanitation issues.  Continue reading


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Michael Schmidt conducts Handel’s Messiah in Thornhill and Hanover

From the Thornhill performance of Handel’s Messiah:

Michael Schmidt with musicians about to perform Handel’s Messiah in Thornhill

There was a capacity crowd at the Christian Community Church last Saturday Dec. 17th for the presentation of Handel’s Messiah, conducted by Michael Schmidt and presented by Symphony in the Barn. It was a moving performance for those lucky enough to be in the audience. The Messiah was performed again the following Sunday, Dec. 18th, in Hanover.

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Raw milk farmer seeking to save sheep?

From Chris Clark at

Photo via Southwestern

“Neither raw milk nor rare sheep make Michael Schmidt sick. Bureaucracy does.

The Durham-area dairy farmer has long been a vocal advocate for raw milk, and has battled tirelessly to legalize the sale of unpasteurized milk. It has taken him in and out of court, through a personal hunger strike, and left him on the radar of the Ontario government.

This month, his outspoken fight for the rights of the farmer has landed him in hot water once again; this time over the disappearance of a flock of rare sheep.

On Aug. 2, police and a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) investigator visited his Glencolton Farm to seize telephone and computer equipment. The raid was in connection with 31 sheep the CFIA claims were illegally removed from a quarantined eastern Ontario farm in April. That farm, operated by Linda “Montana” Jones, was also visited by officials earlier this month….”


Subsequent to this story, charges have been laid, and a court appearance is scheduled for January 23, 2013.

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Report on the raw milk underground

Video below from Rachel Simone James. Story from Pacific Network TV.


“Amid the rhetoric and sharply drawn battle lines in the controversy over raw milk, it can be difficult to parse out the facts without getting mired in scientific jargon.  Used as a cure for a myriad of ailments around the turn of the century, only to disappear with the advent of pasteurization, raw milk is back in fashion, the result of growing interest in whole foods, sustainability and homesteading.  It is also extremely difficult to obtain, with sales restricted or illegal in most states.  In fact, in most of the United States, it’s easier to buy a gun than raw milk. Continue reading

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Further details on the Michael Schmidt sheep-napping “conspiracy” charges

From Scott Dunn in the Owen Sound Sun Times:

Michael Schmidt and son. Photo via Owen Sound Sun Times.

“DURHAM – Canada Food Inspection Agency officers seized electronic devices and stored data from raw milk activist Michael Schmidt’s Glencolton Farms Thursday as part of a federal investigation into the illegal removal of sheep that were under quarantine near Peterborough before they could be euthanized this spring.

CFIA issued a brief statement Friday confirming only that it executed search warrants “related to the ongoing investigation into the April 2nd removal of 31 sheep from a farm in Eastern Ontario, breaching a federal quarantine that was in place due to risk of a disease called scrapie.”

Schmidt acted as a spokesman for the so-far anonymous Farmers’ Peace Corp. earlier this year, after it took responsibility for taking the animals into “protective custody.” Continue reading

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Michael Schmidt sees legal case over sheep “going in the right direction”

David E. Gumpert has the scoop on what’s going down with Michael Schmidt:

Photo courtesy of Michael Schmidt

“The legal situation confronting Michael Schmidt could hardly look more ominous.

He faces four counts of conspiracy, in connection with the disappearance last April of 31 rare Shropshire sheep suspected by Canadian health authorities of harboring scrapies disease. Conviction could mean a lengthy jail term of up to 14 years, he has been told. Three other farmers charged in the alleged plot to move the sheep and save them from mandated slaughter by the Canadian Food Information Agency (CFIA)  are Montana Jones, Suzanne Atkinson, and Robert Pinnell.

Schmidt has been forced to surrender his passport in connection with the charges–a not insignificant penalty for a man who has over the last few years become the spiritual leader of North America’s budding food rights movement, and been in ever-greater demand as a speaker around the U.S. and Canada. Continue reading


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