One young person’s view on raw milk

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



Filed under News

5 responses to “One young person’s view on raw milk

  1. sundancer55

    The gov’t has done the same with many things over the years. With cigarettes, it started off with the gov’t telling people where they could smoke and now it’s gotten down to where the gov’t is telling people where they can buy cigarettes. Of course, now there’s this drug available to help people stop smoking (and that was the point from the get-go of the “let’s make them quit” campaign from the gov’t). I’m not saying smoking or drink either one are good things, but that’s kind of beside the point because we are talking about people’s freedom rights here. The way I see it the gov’t wants people to quit smoking using drugs from their pals at bigphrma, they want people to stop drinking alcohol by seeking “rehab” from a gov’t facility, and now they want to please bigdairy by cutting off our right to choose raw milk.

    Anyone see a pattern here? This isn’t about what’s right or wrong, this is about them vs us. Gov’t is taking our freedoms and they want to do it such that it’s barely noticeable – until people don’t comply willingly, then they decide to use the justice system as a shield of force.

    We must stand up – kicking and screaming – not go down kicking and screaming. If we go down, we stay down and so do the rest of our rights.

  2. sundancer55

    Also, refrigeration is not why pathogens are in milk. Raw milk turns from one edible food into another if it’s not in the fridge, so that’s a non-factor. If you leave milk out on the counter, it clabbers and it’s delicious. It’s also not *dangerous*.

    Pathogens are much more complex than simply keeping the milk at a certain temperature. They do not just appear in the milk because the milk ain’t in the fridge. That is a falsehood.

  3. just a reader

    “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. ”

    The problem is that the York Region court application states that evidence was found that raw milk was being sold, that customers were purchasing milk in a “buyers club” arrangement::

    “(jj) Even after the purchase of [shares], shareholders are still required to pay $3 to $5.50 per litre for the unpasteurized milk that they purchase from ARC.”

    “(vv) The information from the Respondents’ computer … confirms the following information …Purchases are paid for through a program called FARMMATCH, which is similar to Paypal.”

    “(ww) Email correspondence downloaded from the computer… confirms hat, despite the payment of $2,000 for their shares, shareholders are still required to pay for all their purchases from ARC, including milk and milk products. Shareholders have an account and are generally charged $5.50 for a litre of “fresh milk.”

    In contrast, my own herdshare has a $70/month/share agistment fee, which is constant no matter the quantity of milk, meat, calves, and manure that we receive from our animals. It may be more difficult for ARC to argue that sales are not taking place than if my own herdshare was being investigated.

  4. just a reader

    I’d argue that it is vital to organize and lobby to get Ontario law changed, at least to permit distribution and delivery, even if we cannot yet change both the federal and provincial laws which ban sales.

  5. This is such a great message. It is the kind of message our government needs to hear. Raw milk is safe, and we should have a choice to drink it. we should have the option to legally acquire it from responsible farmers. If we are trusted to make choices about drinking liquor, smoking, or eating fast food, why are we not given that same trust when it comes to the choice of drinking raw milk?

    When the logic of health experts is “the benefits of raw milk are outweighed by the risks,” why are they not banning the sale of tobacco, liquor, hot-dogs, Maple-Leaf processed meat, fast food, etc? If the concern is benefit vs. risk, there are some far more risky foods out there.

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