Calvin Weber is a student from Listowel, Ontario. And the following is a speech he originally wrote for an assignment at his high school, and which he subsequently presented at the 2016 Raw Milk Symposium in Guelph this past January (photo below):
Thousands of people are killed in drunk driving accidents every year, hundreds of thousands of people are injured in these accidents every year, but people of legal drinking age still have a choice to buy liquor.
It is readily available, even in some grocery stores. But what about raw milk, some people would like to drink raw milk but cannot legally do so. They do not have a choice, shouldn’t people have a choice?
I think people should be able to choose if they want to drink raw milk or not. Liquor has caused many deaths, but it is still available.
Raw milk is not available to people who want to drink it even, if it is 35 000 times less likely to cause food borne illnesses than prepackaged salads, peanut butter, and raw eggs.
The government’s laws say that it is unfit for human consumption because it is not pasteurized. But in most of central USA it is sold in grocery stores. Between 1993 and 2006, there were only 1500 reported cases of food borne illness connected to raw milk.
In all of these cases the milk was either not properly handled or poorly refrigerated. In all of Europe raw milk is considered safe and is consumed by many people. However the farmers must clearly mark the milk as unpasteurized and take tests every month. In France many of their traditional cheese is made of raw milk, and cheese made with pasteurized milk is considered junk.
In Germany a farmer who sells raw milk must have a licence, the regulations are so stringent that only 80 farmers in Germany have one. Pasteurization is a process of heating the milk to a certain temperature for a certain amount of time to kill what can be harmful bacteria, instead it destroys the chemical makeup of the calcium, and a lot of the beneficial enzymes. Raw milk has many health benefits.
Up to 80% of minerals in raw milk are easier to digest than in pasteurized milk. Many people who claim to be lactose intolerant can drink raw milk, but react to pasteurized milk. Raw milk is actually alive with healthy bacteria that is killed in the pasteurization process, and is not found in pasteurized milk. Raw milk also has 62% more beneficial fatty acids.
Raw milk is also known to help with asthma. In large tie stall dairy barns, there is a greater risk of mastitis. All that pasteurization does, is make milk from larger less sanitary dairy farms safe to drink. If a farmer has a small, well looked after herd that is out on pasture every day and sleeps on clean straw bedding every night, there should be no danger of the cows becoming infected with mastitis, an infection in the cows milk producing glands.
If this happens the milk could become infected with puss and other fluids from the infection. But if the cow is always bedded on good clean straw, there should be no danger of mastitis. There is one other small risk, a bacteria referred to as pathogens.
These pathogens are a bacteria that can grow in the milk. But if properly refrigerated the chances are very slim and only 1 out of 59 people may encounter a small illness due to them.
I do believe that children growing up on farms, that are exposed to dirt and bacteria all the time, have a better chance of not getting sick from raw milk because of a better immunity. I live on a farm and we have our own cow. I have been drinking raw milk since I was a baby, and have never become sick from it.
Dairy farmer Michael Schmidt has been fighting for the right to sell raw milk to customers who want it for 28 years, and has won many court battles but has made little to no progress. Instead his farm is continually raided in search for evidence that he is doing something wrong.
All of his customers now each own a section of his farm and in this manner are allowed to drink raw milk because they are also owners of the farm and are not purchasing the milk from him. Farmers are allowed to have their own cow and drink raw milk, but other people who come out of city’s and towns don’t have the opportunity.
I think that people who want to drink raw milk because of health conditions, and think that it is healthier, should be informed, first of the risks then told how to properly store and use the milk. After this they should be given the choice, do you want to drink raw milk or not.
By: Calvin Weber