Thousands of petition signers urge parliament to modernize milk laws
Toronto, Ontario—A group of Canadians are hoping for a Health Canada policy change for raw milk. A Parliament e-petition in favour of changes to Health Canada’s raw milk policy has already gathered over 4,000 signatures. The petition, sponsored by Member of Parliament (MP) Larry Miller, ends on August 11, 2016.
As many Canadians return to natural and local foods, a growing number of fresh food enthusiasts want their milk produced on a small-scale from local farms. This natural, raw milk, that people have been consuming for thousands of years, is actually illegal in Canada—something that the petition creator, Cory Harris, is working to change.
“I started this petition so Canadians can have the freedom of choice to access natural foods from farmers we know. Currently, not only is it illegal to buy raw milk from a farmer, it is even illegal for me to own a cow and board it at a farm,” says Harris. “I don’t like to see the government send raids and swat teams out to farms over milk. It is time to see this policy modernized and see Canada welcome a new and more collaborative, farmer and consumer-friendly model for raw milk alongside the existing system.”
For the past 22 years, the provincial governments have targeted specific farms to enforce the prohibition of raw milk. Consumers, who board cows on a farm (or partially own the farm), object to what they call draconian and heavy handed and unreasonable measures against their farmers.
A consumer who chooses raw milk for herself and her family, explains, “I am furious that our government refuses to dialogue with us and instead continues to harass decent farmers,” says Masha Perrone, a member of Our Farms, Our Food Coop in Ontario. The coop was formed for co-ownership of a farm so coop members are only drinking milk from animals they own. “They need to read this petition and see that a passionate minority of Canadians want legal access to fresh, raw milk.”
Advocates cite multiple reasons for wanting their milk raw including: for culinary uses, ethnic traditional recipes, body building, overall health and wellness, weight loss, lactose intolerance, and the desire to support small farms.
Cory Harris urges Canadian citizens who are concerned with personal freedoms, whether or not they themselves want fresh milk, to sign the petition to support consumer choice of this traditional food.
Our Farms, Our Foods Coop is a 120 member cooperative formed in 2010 for the purpose of boarding personal cows with a responsible dairyman. The group is just one of the many interested stakeholders in this petition to the Canadian Parliament. Creator of the petition, Cory Harris is not a member of the cooperative.
Additional references: Additional information on the petition • background and science on raw milk • Raw milk science:presentation made to BC center for Disease Control.