Author Archives: thebovine
Raw Milk Drinkers in Ontario Seek to Raise $100,000 to Challenge Injunction that Criminalizes Raw Milk Distribution
Raw milk consumers across Canada have spent decades peacefully trying to obtain raw milk from local farmers despite the threat of harassment from the authorities. Finally, some of us have stepped forward to tell the courts that our constitutional rights are being violated by laws restricting access to raw milk – a food that is perfectly legal to consume in Canada.
A January 2018 injunction against anyone “selling, delivering or distributing” raw milk in Ontario was the last straw, criminalizing peaceful citizens who want access to this safe, unprocessed food. So, with the encouragement of leaders from several cow-share communities in southwestern Ontario – we’ve mobilized!
We found a highly experienced lawyer to represent us on a partly pro bono basis, and his legal team has been building our case at lightning speed. In early February they served a Notice of Application against the Attorneys General of Ontario and Canada, on our behalf – 19 raw milk consumers and two raw milk producers, whose freedom of conscience or religion, and security of person, are being violated (under sections 2 and 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms).
All 21 of us applicants made this commitment despite financial risk, the ordeal of being cross-examined, and fear of the unknown consequences of taking on the Government. We did this not only based on our personal conviction, but on behalf of our raw milk communities and other consumers across Canada, who all stand to benefit from this constitutional challenge.
Please help us pay the legal bills: $100,000 during the next ten months. (Regardless of which side wins at the Ontario Superior Court, the decision could be appealed and ultimately the case may be decided by the Supreme Court of Canada. So next year, unless the case is settled, we will have to raise money for the next round.) Continue reading
On Nutritious Milk
Since 2000, I have been consuming milk from a farm operated, at the time, by Michael Schmidt. Prior to consuming this milk, I had done research which resulted in my decision to choose to drink this unpasteurized milk. Based on my research, which I will document in this article, I asked Michael Schmidt two questions. I already knew his cows were at grass so I didn’t need to ask him a third question which I would have asked if I hadn’t known the cows were at grass. The two questions I asked Michael were:
1/ What colour is your butter?
and 2/ What kind of cows do you have?
His answers were “yellow” and “Canadienne” to the two questions. Based on my previous research and his answers I decided to drink the milk.
What prompted me to want to investigate milk?
Very simply what prompted me to want to investigate milk were previous investigations. The investigation which led directly to “Pottenger’s Cats” was reading a book titled, “IMMUNIZATION THE REALITY BEHIND THE MYTH” by Walene James. In her book she talked about Pasteur and the pasteurization of milk. In addition, she described a ten year study by Francis Pottenger, Jr., M.D. in which cats were fed several combinations of raw and cooked milk and meat. The investigation that led directly to reading Walene James’ book was a book called, “Confessions of a Medical Heretic” by M.D. Robert Mendelsohn. In this book, Dr. Mendelsohn recommended some other books to read. Walene James’ book was one of them. What caused me to buy and read Dr. Mendelshohn’s book was seeing him interviewed on a late night television program, probably “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. Continue reading
No More Raw Milk for Coop Members due to Injunctions Granted to Shut Down “Milk Plant” and “Distribution”
Members of Our Farm Our Food Coop are in a tight spot due to injunctions granted January 5th to Ontario Milk Director Gavin Downing and the Regions of York, Simcoe and Peel.
In short these injunctions would shut down the “milk plant” at Glencolton Farms and also criminalize continued “distribution” of raw milk in the Regions of York, Simcoe and Peel. The injunctions apply to anyone who has knowledge of the court ordered injunctions, so potentially these apply not just to the operations of Glencolton Farms and the Our Farm Our Food Coop (OFOF) but to any raw milk suppliers or cowshare groups.
One of the few media reports on the injunction that has appeared so far, has been a story in the Owen Sound Sun Times, titled “Court Stops Raw Milk Work“. It remains to be seen whether Milk Director Gavin Downing or representatives of any of the Regions (York, Simcoe, Peel) which asked for the injunctions, will take steps to publicize them, now that they have been granted by the court. Because, after all, the injunctions only apply to those who have knowledge of them.
In his 25 page ruling, Justice Sutherland said that the injunction originally asked for by the Regions was overbroad and that the injunction which he granted more closely followed the wording of the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Milk Act. Continue reading
The raw market; Even conservative government statistics show there are about 80 raw milk consumers per licensed dairy farm in the province
Reprinted from The Ontario Farmer:
By Ian Cumming
IT’S ESTIMATED THAT 4.5 billion people, including the British Queen and her immediate heirs to the throne, will drink raw milk today.
An Ontario Public Health Report in 2013 estimated that 1.8 per cent of Ontario’s population, about 270,000, are raw milk consumers.
Raw milk advocate and producer Michael Schmidt, persecuted by provincial authorities for years at a cost of millions of dollars, by his own account feeds 600 of those Ontario consumers. So who provides the raw milk to the others? The 1.8 per cent of Ontario’s population cited in this Ontario study as being raw milk consumers is dismissed by most experts on the subject as being way too low for an educated liberal society with a high rate of immigration.
Even if it is too low, and not counting the 3500 dairy farm families that may be drinking their own raw milk themselves, that’s about 80 raw milk consumers per licensed dairy farm in the province.
USDA public data estimated that in 2010 raw milk consumption among its consumers was just under four per cent, double the percentage estimated by the Ontario gov-ernment for its residents.
In 13 years of data published by the United States Centre For Disease Control, there have been 121 reported food illness outbreaks, resulting in 1,571 people getting sick from consuming raw milk and the cheese manufactured from it.
Raw Milk activist and farmer Michael Schmidt is currently out on bail after having served a few weekends worth of the 60-day jail sentence that was handed down last month in Walkerton court following his conviction on charges of obstruction of a peace officer during a raid on Glencolton Farms in October of 2015.
Michael posted the photo above on the Support Michael Schmidt Facebook page, which is where you should go to find the latest breaking news about Michael Schmidt and raw milk in Ontario. You do need to open a free Facebook account to be able to access that page.
Michael posted the picture on Dec. 25th, as a Christmas greeting to folks who’ve been following his struggle to establish raw milk on a legal basis in Ontario, these past 25 years or so.
Earlier this month, Glencolton Farms hosted a very successful Christkindl Market in support of the Edgehill School. Christmas markets are all in rage in places like Toronto, and it’s wonderful to hear that so many people made the journey out to the country to attend the Christmas market at Glencolton Farms.
Michael Schmidt’s Not the only Raw Milk Farmer in the News
Meanwhile, over Ottawa way, farmer Michael Ilgert has been working to educate people about raw milk, doing radio interviews, most recently with Evan Solomon on CFRA AM 580, and being written up in the Ontario Farmer newspaper, on account of his ongoing conflict with public health regulators, regarding raw milk.
About those Proposed Injunctions against Raw Milk
We’d heard a while back that the case of the injunctions that had been applied for against raw milk by the Ontario Milk Director and by the Region of York and other regions, was to have been decided in December of 2017.
However, the Crown asked to have the opportunity to add some more input on the case — presumably the results of Michael’s trial in Walkerton for obstruction, in which he was in the end convicted and sentenced.
So then we heard that a decision on those injunctions was expected by Jan. 5th, and then later we heard that the decision was expected between Christmas and New Years. And now it’s New Year’s eve.
Where Did all the Pictures Go?
If you see old Bovine posts with missing pictures, it’s because we made the mistake (in retrospect) of hosting those pictures on Photobucket, a site that seemed like it was catering to people who wanted to host pictures to post elsewhere.
Fast forward a few years and the management at Photobucket decides they want to start charging people $400 a year to host pictures to be posted elsewhere — something they had earlier been doing for free. Here at the Bovine, we’re running on a shoestring budget, and don’t have $400 to spend keeping our pictures up.
So for new posts, we’ve switched to vgy.me as a new photo host. They were recommended to us by someone in the IT business, and so far they seem to be just great.
In a recent post on his “The Complete Patient” blog, American raw milk journalist David Gumpert explains in some detail why the United States does not treat raw milk farmers as political prisoners, the way Michael Schmidt is now being treated in Canada.
“Why doesn’t America have a Michael Schmidt equal, a farmer who is a political prisoner? After all, raw milk availability has been just as contentious an issue in the U.S. as in Canada. There have been surprise raids, court suits, and trials. We have the same Big Dairy influences as Canada. And we have the farmer candidates—Alvin Schlangen, Vernon Hershberger, Amos Miller, Mark McAfee—who have been threatened with criminal charges
Yet they are all walking around free and continuing to make their raw dairy products available, while Michael Schmidt continues to be hounded and even thrown in jail.
Michael Schmidt was sentenced November 6th to 60 days of jail time for obstruction of a peace officer. Citizen Beverly Viljakainen raises some questions about whether justice was done in the court proceedings leading up to that judicial ruling.
The case has been widely reported on in the news media. Here are links to a few recent media reports:
SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO’S DIFFICULTIES WITH DAIRY FARMER MICHAEL SCHMIDT
by Beverley Viljakainen, November 11 , 2017
1. Why, during the 2017 obstruction of a peace officer trial, were erased e-mails between the chief investigator of the 2015 raid on Glencolton Farms and the arresting officer of the local municipal police unit deemed by Justice Minard to be irrelevant when he supposedly had no way of knowing what they contained? This when both correspondents knew they would be laying obstruction charges and in no way considered the case closed. It is quite possible that the contents of these e-mails would have provided evidence crucial to the defence’s case, especially given that the arresting officer was under the erroneous impression that the five men eventually charged were members of an organization called Freemen of the Land, information possibly used to obtain the search warrant. When the defence questioned the grounds upon which the warrant was obtained, the Justice disallowed it, saying that Mr. Schmidt was on a “fishing expedition” and wasting valuable court time.
2. Why, after several months of a criminal trial supposed to get at the truth, did someone at the Walkerton Court House instruct the Offenders Transport driver, who was taking now-convicted offender Michael Schmidt to prison in Penetanguishene, to advise its staff that Mr. Schmidt was a Freeman of the Land when there is absolutely no evidence to support this claim? The admittance staff member greeted Mr. Schmidt with, “So you are a Freeman of the Land” and readily explained how he had come to know. Continue reading
Raw milk activist and farmer Michael Schmidt was convicted yesterday (Oct. 19th, 2017) in Walkerton court of obstructing a peace officer. The charge arises from a raid on Glencolton Farms on October 2nd, 2015 in which investigators were prevented — by the crowds of supporters — from leaving the farm with equipment which they had seized. They were eventually allowed to leave once the equipment had been removed from the truck.
This court case has dragged on for many weeks and months, with multiple adjournments, most recently until this past Tuesday Oct. 17, when Michael Schmidt filed an 11b motion to have the case thrown out, since it was taking an excessive time to have justice rendered. In considering Michael’s motion, the judge discounted several months of time required to hear the 20 defense witnesses, on the basis that their testimony had been useless.
Sentencing is set for Wednesday November 8th. Regarding a possible appeal, Michael is currently reviewing all options. Michael says:
“There is already an outstanding appeal in regards of the denial by this judge to have access to West Grey police records which got strangely enough deleted. They relate to communication about who to charge. These e mails were always at the Center of many heated exchanges between me and the judge. The other appeal I am looking at is the 11 b application. He dismissed the validity of ALL our witnesses which is astounding and never heard of. I am currently getting all transcripts. The biggest surprise was that he acquitted John Schnurr. But it highlights that they wanted to get me at all costs.”