As with all the content published on the Bovine, this article represents the views and opinion of the author, and not necessarily that of the editor, or of Michael Schmidt, or of Glencolton Farms, or of the raw milk movement generally. Editorially, our philosophy is that entertaining a diversity of perspectives helps folks to find the truth for themselves. – Ed.
By Lyndon Kirkley
We need to look to the government, not the courts, to protect Glencolton Farms.
Glencolton Farms, which has been of great value so many of us, could be fully shut down by an injunction which the Attorney General of Ontario is seeking from court. The community which supports Glencolton Farms must unite to oppose this injunction, otherwise we risk losing the access to raw milk which we have been defending since 2006.
The injunction against the farm is specific. It seeks to shut down the production and distribution facilities on the farm. It would prevent Glencolton Farms from bringing us the milk and dairy products we value.
The injunction would not prevent us from drinking raw milk, it would prevent us from having convenient access to raw milk. Even though the injunction would stop Glencolton Farms from providing us with raw milk, we would still be able to obtain it legally. The Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act does not prevent anyone from drinking raw milk from their own cow. If we went out and bought a farm and a cow we could have legal access to raw milk. There is no law in Ontario that fundamentally restricts us from obtaining raw milk.
What makes the injunction so dangerous to our cause is that it could legally shut down Glencolton Farms. The courts have ruled that our current distribution system is illegal under Ontario law. Regardless of whether we call ourselves a members of a cow-share, or a farm-share, the fact remains that we get our milk from a farm that produces, bottles, and delivers our milk. This is a system of production and distribution, and is subject to Ontario law. We modified the system, by calling it a cow share, and then a farm share, to try and circumvent the law. We have crusaded under the banner of “fundamental food rights” with the illusion that somehow these laws are unjust, and do not apply to us. But this entire time, we have been getting our milk from the same basic system of production and distribution.
The Ontario Milk Act says that it is illegal to produce and distribute raw milk. In the case of Glencolton Farms, the Ontario courts have upheld that law. And how can we expect them to do otherwise? The courts cannot bend the law in our favour. The courts are designed to uphold and interpret the law, not to change it.
Our provincial government can change the law. We need the Ontario government to change the Milk Act so that we can legally produce and distribute raw milk. We need to prove to the government raw milk is safe, if it is produced responsibly, as Glencolton Farms has been doing for years.
This is why I think it is urgent for our community, and especially those who are leading our community, to lobby the men and women who represent us in the Ontario Government.
The reasons for our desire to change the law may be complex: food rights, the value of independent agriculture, the health value of raw milk. But we must not forget that our demand is simple. All we want legal and practical access to healthy, farm-fresh raw milk.
“R v Schmidt: Call them “Cow-Share Agreements”… But You’re Still Just Distributing Unpasteurized Milk” by Daniel Styler. Accessed from http://canliiconnects.org/en/commentaries/30637 on Feb 27.
“Raw Milk Injunctions Saught” by Don Crosby for The Sun Times, published Feb 1. Accessed From