Send us copies of the letters you send to your representatives in government so we can reprint them here, so other people can get inspired to share their views with their own elected officials.
Send them to TheBovine AT gmx DOT com And let us know if you don’t want us to use your name.
October 20th 2011
HRH The Prince of Wales
Clarence House, London
Great Britain, SW1A 1BA
Your Royal Highness The Prince of Wales,
I write this message to Your Royal Highness from Vancouver, British Columbia in the interest of asking assistance in an urgent matter regarding small-scale raw dairy farms across Canada. Our provincial governments have recently made this practice illegal and my own dairy farmer, Michael Schmidt, is presently in the twentieth day of his hunger strike to bring justice to our cause. Mr. Schmidt’s earlier acquittal on charges related to producing and distributing raw milk were recently overturned and he faces enormous fines and seizure of his family farm. Canadians like myself who wish to access raw milk have heretofore bought shares in cows in order to obtain it from local farmers. Our government is now putting an end to the practice and his hunger strike is a last resort. He has said he “is willing to die if it’s necessary”.
I was greatly inspired by your May 2011 speech at the Future for Food Conference, Georgetown University, Washington DC. I am writing this letter to you at this time in the interest of appealing to your good judgment regarding sustainable farming and because of your previous support of raw milk and organic family farms. Canadians are on the verge of losing their right to fresh milk. I am certain that any words you might offer in support of this sustainable agricultural practice in Canada would have enormous import at this turning point in our history. Michael Schmidt may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Margo McIntosh’s “Balance Your Apple” blog:
Andrea Horwath – Leader of the New Democratic Party
Hamilton Centre constituency,
200 Hughson Street South,
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 2A1
Choice is something that is inherent in our national identity.
People come to this country from all around the world because Canada is a place of liberty, and these are the values we hold most dear.
Yet, despite this, the raw-milk farmer, Michael Schmidt, has been fighting since 1994 for the right of men, women and children in Canada to be able to make the simplest and most important of all choices – what they eat.
Over the last 17 years he has made every effort to engage the authorities in a constructive dialogue about the issue of non-pasteurized milk in Ontario and Canada. In return his farm has been raided by armed officers, his family has been terrorized and he has been dragged through the courts – first being acquitted and then being found guilty.
The closest this issue came to being resolved was in 2006, when Bill Murdoch MPP proposed a motion to set up an all-party task force to investigate and lay out the real facts around raw milk consumption. Every NDP member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament voted against this motion, killing it stone dead.
Today, Michael Schmidt is on hunger strike because he, and farmers like him around the country are scared. They are scared that people with guns who claim to be acting in the best interests of the public will come and snatch their livelihoods. They are scared that they will be tried for the “crime” of believing that informed consumers and citizens in our free country should be able to choose what they eat and drink.
I respectfully call on you, Andrea Horvath, to examine whether you believe the NDP should continue to support a government position that takes away the most fundamental of all our rights – that to choose what we eat. And I invite you to make contact with Michael and to publicly show your support for his fight.
Thank you for your consideration.
Some background on why some people are writing to Andrea as well, on this issue:
In 2006 a motion was put forth to set up a working party at Queens Park to investigate the real facts around raw milk. The NDP killed that motion.
Let them look to the past, but let them also look to the future; let them look to the land of their ancestors, but let them look also to the land of their children. –Wilfred Laurier
Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. –-Abraham Lincoln
October 20, 2011
Dear Premier McGuinty,
I urge you to meet with Michael Schmidt in person as soon as possible to start a dialog on legalizing raw milk.
Farmers like Michael Schmidt have fed our country in the past, are declining in number at the present, and must be supported in order to continue into the future of Canada. They have fed, and continue to feed us and our children. Such farmers must not go the way of industrialized agriculture. Small farms, such as Glencolton practice sustainable farming practices and provide nutritious and natural food products. It is a crime to destroy such farms, as they are a model for the future. We need to look to our land and how we use it, for our children … our future.
I have been serving raw milk to my family for many years. My children have grown up on raw milk, and are healthy and strong. My husband had raw milk when he was growing up. I did not, and had trouble digesting pasteurized milk that I was forced to drink. I no longer suffer from that bloated feeling that I did as a child. Please read the accounts of people who have been restored to good health with access to raw milk, including accounts of babies and young children.
Studies have clearly shown that raw milk is more nutritious than pasteurized milk. In fact, the expert witness from Guelph University, for the crown, in Michael’s first trial, spoke of adding supplementary vitamins to pasteurized dairy products, which, ironically is not needed to do if the product is not pasteurized.
Raw milk is safe. In all the years of the operation of Glencolton Farms not one person has
become sick. Review the statistics in Europe where raw milk is legal, and children can buy it in schools or from vending machines. Review the statistics from legal operations in the United States, California for example. They have stellar records of safety. Clearly the issue is not about safety, not at all. To speak of raw milk being unsafe is false reporting.
Agricultural Boards, such as the Wheat Board have been dismantled. Large industries in both the United States and Canada have collapsed or are struggling . We are entering a new time. We need to respond with foresight. We need to pull our heads out of the sand, the milk marketing board included. The future of Canadian farmers and consumers depend upon it. We need to protect our farmers, and permit them to set up Farm share programs. We need to support farmers who farm with integrity and truly serve the people and the land. We need to support farmers who do not sacrifice the environment, quality farming practices, good nutrition, for profit and control.
Mr. McGuinty, you are our democratically chosen leader. We did not buy you. We
democratically voted for you. We believe in you to work for our freedoms, your freedom, and your children’s freedom. We trust you will not work against this desire, and will meet with Michael Schmidt to discuss legalizing raw milk, while he can still talk with you. As you know he is on a hunger strike, and it is of utmost importance to talk with him as soon as possible.
We all deserve our freedom to choose nutritious foods for ourselves and our families. Together we can do it. Together we can meet today and the future with hope and good will.
Shirley Ann Wood
Oct 20, 2011
Dear Toby Barrett, MPP Haldimand Norfolk Brant:
I, the undersigned, respectfully ask that you do everything in your power to ensure that pressure is brought to bear on the provincial and federal governments to help end the harassment of dairy farmer Michael Schmidt. In terms of the legality, he has done no different than what many dairying Mennonite families in Ontario have done in limited family-and-friend contexts, for generations. Michael has gone on a hunger strike to protest the resumption of harassment and threat to his ethical livelihood. This needless punishment should end and discussion begin.
Please see attached a copy of the letter he delivered on October 18th to Premier Dalton McGuinty. As a member of Michael Schmidt’s Cowshare programme, we should have the right to go to Michael’s farm and get milk from a cow, which we own a part of, without the government telling us that we can’t.
A cowshare is by design not intended for commerical marketing of raw milk. It’s purpose is to satisfy the requests for raw milk products for its limited membership. Advertising and promotion are not needed by this model of direct farmer-consumer community of caring and sharing.
No one gets rich in terms of money; but here farmer and consumer try to work at establishing a fair partnership and understanding with each other. With improvements of technology and science, the regulatory system ought to make allowance for modern hygienic improvements, and not needlessly obstruct the way of sharing fresh farm-product, such as made possible via ‘cowsharing’.
I hope you will raise the issue with your caucus and with the government. Do our families not have a continuing right to liberty and choice? Being raised on a dairy farm family and consuming raw milk, I would like to continue off the farm as a town-dweller in my beliefs and values which include the right to choose raw (enzyme-rich) wholesome milk.
I think the decent thing would be for Mr McGuinty to sit down with Mr Schmidt and look at resolving the problem which the Premier has so far ignored.
PS – Did you know that the Queen drinks raw milk?
Dear Mr. McGuinty
Your statement “In regards to Mr. Schmidt’s hunger strike, “we would never want anyone to put their health and/or safety at risk” holds no water with anyone that is listenting. Michael Schmidt’s health is at risk, and you are the only one that can do something about it, and you choose not to. At the same time you allow people to smoke cigarettes, even in the company of children, knowing full well that their are high risks associated with it. You have not yet shut down any fast food locations which are causing many cases of obesity and other health detriments. Your stores are full of processed foods, and cancer is rampant. Health is not your priority, and it shows. Your denial to speak with Mr. Schmidt confirms it is not about health. Not his health, or the health of other Canadians. In not so many years from now, when you are ailing, where will you turn for healing? Processed foods? Pills? Radiation? It will be at that time that you lie awake at night wishing you had done things differently. But then it will be too late. Why not Act now? A little dialogue is all he is asking.
From “Level Headed” (posted as a comment):
Thank you Jon. Hhre’s one I sent today to Premier McGuinty. I tried to keep it short and concise, and I built on yours with a note about my personal experiences:
Premier McGuinty, I respectfully ask you to meet with Michael Schmidt as soon as possible and engage a dialogue on the issues of the right of Canadian citizens to decide what food they eat. Michael is on the 19th day of his hunger strike today. This is a very urgent matter. I thank you for your consideration.
P.S. — My dependency on OHIP services has reduced significantly since drinking Mr. Schmidt’s raw milk for 2 years now. I suffered from Ulcerative Colitis (inflammation of the bowels) for over 10 years, it was diagnosed by my MD Gastroenterologist in Grade 13/OAC, and I had multiple scopes done (big money on the OHIP card I’m sure). Pharma drugs costed a lot and only partially helped, but raw milk got me fixed up and after 2 years I’m healthier than ever!
Cronic pain motivates a person to find a solution, and it took me years of suffering before I finally learned about the advantages of healthy raw milk. I have no doubt my UC was healed in large part because of Mr. Schmidt’s raw milk.
This is the email we’ve just sent Mr. McGuinty:
Mr. McGuinty, we are 4th generation dairy farmers. Every single day we drink raw milk – parents and children alike (2 biological, 4 adopted – none of the four biologically related to us or to each other). I mention the latter to ensure you realize that “tolerance” to raw milk is not genetic.
I have been drinking raw milk for 28 years, beginning at age 24 (having never had raw milk previously) to my current age of 52. My husband is 57 years old and has drunk raw milk since infancy. His brother is 62 and he, too, has drunk raw milk since infancy. His sisters are 65 and 52 respectively, and have drunk raw milk since infancy. His mother is 87 and has drunk raw milk since infancy. His father died at the age of 76, of multiple sclerosis, unrelated to drinking raw milk. Virtually every single dairy farming family we know drinks raw milk and has for generations.
Raw milk is not dangerous! Numerous studies have indicated it is actually beneficial to health, and milk which is not homogenized even more so. Younger folk likely don’t realize that milk always had a layer of cream which settled on the top . Homogenization breaks up the fat into very small particles. The tiny globules of fat which result from this process allows the harmful enzyme, xanthine oxidase, to get into the body through the intestinal walls. This enzyme can damage artery walls by causing lesions to occur.
All milk fat, excluding human milk, has this enzyme. It is not normally a problem as the fat globules which contain the enzyme are too large to pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. In milk which is not homogenized, the enzyme passes through the body without causing damage. This is not the case, however, after the homogenization process, the enzyme passes directly through the intestine into the bloodstream, where it’s circulated, causing damage to the arteries.
The truth is, the issue of pasteurization and homogenization have more to do with politics and industry control than they do with health. As quota holders with the Milk Marketing Board, we well know how politically and market driven this issue is.
Mr. McGuinty, meet with Mr. Schmidt, the dairy farmer who is, even now, on a hunger strike in order to bring attention to the travesty of justice against his person and his cow share program. Mr. Schmidt sold shares in his cows to people who want to drink raw milk, people who are probably much more health conscious than the vast majority of Ontarians who sit on their couches drinking sugar laden sodas, sodas which are, indeed, harmful to health.
It’s time for the dialogue to be opened. It’s time for unbiased and open discussion to occur. And it’s time for Mr. Schmidt to be given relief from what amounts to nothing more than persecution by the government, and moreso, persecution by the Milk Marketing Board which is primarily interested in protecting its market than ensuring health. Protecting the Board’s interests could still be accomplished through sales regulations, if we must begin with baby steps, rather than through pasteurization regulations.
Please don’t respond based upon preconceived notions, notions which you may hold primarily due to misinformation, notions which have long been entrenched in the public’s collective psyche, but which are inherently false.
Thank you for your consideration,
From Margo McIntosh:
October 18, 2011
The Honourable Gerry Ritz,
Federal Minister of Agriculture,
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada,
1341 Baseline Road,
As a taxpaying citizen of this province, I am asking that the hunger strike of Michael Schmidt be taken for the serious issue that it is and government be willing to sit down and talk to him about how we can safely access raw milk in this province. Safe raw milk is being consumed in all theother G8 countries and can be done here if the right testing and sanitationregulations are followed. Mr. Schmidt has all this information compiled and ready if government would stop refusing to have a meeting with him.
It is a mistake to underestimate the consumer and think that by ignoring him or watching him die from starvation, or laying ever more charges the whole problem will go away. Consumers who want healthy foods for their families will continue to find sources for raw milk in the underground market if that is what we are driven to do. In fact ignoring him and harassing him has brought a lot of consumers out of their closets and into the mainstream. Our government is actually helping to bring the food freedom movement into the public eye and gaining more supporters on the way. We have many groups of people fighting for food freedom and food sovereignty on many different issues in this country and I believe strongly that not hearing Michael Schmidt out and continuing to harass him is making that movement stronger. Is this what the government intends to do? I doubt it.
My question to you is. What is better, having people sneak around accessing their milk from an underground market where there is no regulation over the production of raw milk or having a framework of required practicessuch as Cow Share Canada have devised to produce it safely. As I said before, have no doubt that you will not stop consumers from finding it and underground farmers from producing it. If the provincial and federal governments would at least look at the way that Cow Share Canada proposes this could be done before condemning a farmer and angering thousands of people, perhaps it could restore our faith in a free and healthy democracy.
A mans life may depend on whether our government steps up to the plate and hears the citizens voice or not. I sincerely hope that I am wrong in feeling very disillusioned with our governments on both levels and that I see a dialogue happen very soon between the Dept. of Agriculture, Dept. of Health and Michael Schmidt.
151 Ferris Drive,
I just want you to know that I am supporting you in your battle. I have attached a copy of a letter which I sent to our MP, Ed Fast. I have sent a similar letter to the entire list of MLA’s that you provided us with. Keep up the good fight!
I want to appeal to you to bring some sense to the government’s handling of raw milk. A champion of our cause, Michael Schmidt, continues to be harassed by every level of government, including the federal. I have, in the past, given you over 50 pages of documentation prepared by doctors supporting the health uses of raw milk, and I could also cite my own personal experience with using it as part of the means by which I successfully fought thyroid and lymphatic cancer 5 1/2 years ago – choosing not to take the recommended surgery, chemo or radiation therapy – saving Medicare many dollars and having a successful outcome.
However, without even considering the health benefits, I think it boils down to the freedom to choose. I can choose to smoke whatever cigarettes that I might desire, in spite of proven detrimental health consequences. I can choose to drink whatever alcoholic drink that I should desire, in spite of proven medical and potential addiction problems. If I am a woman in Canada, I can choose to abort my baby even if it is full-term. And yet, I can not choose to drink unpasteurized milk? Does that make any sense to you? It certainly does not to me.
Please speak to this inequity.
Thank you, Ed!
Minister Michael de Jong October 16 2011
My name is Lisa Virtue. I am a McMaster University graduate of Humanities, and a certified Natural Chef, having attended Bauman College, a Holistic Nutrition School in Berkeley California. I currently work as a personal chef in Vancouver.
I was introduced to the literature by Weston A. Price, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, and Sally Fallon’s, Nourishing Traditions, while at culinary school from 2009-2010. Weston A. Price was a dentist in the mid 20th century, from Ontario Canada. He was curious as to why so many of his patients suffered from physical degeneration, as was evident in the state of such rampant poor oral health. He noticed dental caries (cavities) in an exorbitant number of his patients. These observations motivated Price to examine the mouths of a variety of traditional societies, untouched by modern civilization. He travelled to Africa, Switzerland, Scotland, Northern Canada, Ontario, Florida, Melanesia, Polynesia, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Peru, documenting nutritional patterns as well as physical and emotional health.
Price discovered that all people following their traditional diet including whole, unrefined foods, especially animal products, enjoyed pristine health and little to zero dental degeneration. I have cited the work of Price and Fallon below, thus I will not go into extreme detail about their findings (though if you have a family you love and wish to see succeed in life, it may be worth studying up on the nutritional patterns of our strong bodied ancestors). Here, I will discuss the importance of one food type in the diets of certain traditional groups: dairy.
In 1931 Price visited the people of the Loetschental Valley in the Swiss Alps. Their diet consisted of rye bread, milk, cheese and butter, including meat once a week (Price, 25). The milk was collected from pastured cows, and was consumed raw: unpasteurized, unhomogenized (Schmid, 9).
Price described these people as having “stalwart physical development and high moral character…superior types of manhood, womanhood and childhood that Nature has been able to produce from a suitable diet and…environment” (Price, 29). At this time, Tuberculosis had taken more lives in Switzerland than any other disease. The Swiss government ordered an inspection of the valley, revealing not a single case. No deaths had been recorded from Tuberculosis in the history of the Loetschental people (Shmid, 8). Upon return home, Price had dairy samples from the valley sent to him throughout the year. These samples were higher in minerals and vitamins than samples from commercial (thus pasteurized) dairy products in America and the rest of Europe. The Loetschental milk was particularly high in fat soluble vitamin D (Schmid, 9).
The daily intake of calcium and phosphorous, as well as fat soluble vitamins would have been higher than average North American children. These children were strong and sturdy, playing barefoot in the glacial waters into the late chilly evenings. Of all the children in the valley eating primitive foods, cavities were detected at an average of 0.3 per child (Price, 25). This without visiting a dentist or physician, for the valley had none, seeing as there was no need (Price, 23). To offer some perspective, the rate of cavities per child between the ages of 6-19 in the United States has been recorded to be 3.25, over 10 times the rate seen in Loetschental (Nagel).
Price offers some perspective on a society subsisting mainly on raw dairy products: “One immediately wonders if there is not something in the life-giving vitamins and minerals of the food that builds not only great physical structures within which their souls reside, but builds minds and hearts capable of a higher type of manhood…” (Price, 26).
All throughout Switzerland and along the Italian border, in the village of Ayer, Price found traditional societies surviving on rye bread and dairy. The people were displays of superior manhood, with beautiful children, immune to dental degeneration (Price, 30). Other traditional groups studied by Price, including tribes in Africa, also utilized raw, whole milk, cheese and butter in quantity (Schmid, 9). The milk was from healthy, well-exercised animals, unpasteurized and unhomogenized (Schmid, 9).
It makes perfect sense why the above traditional groups fared so well on a diet of raw dairy. Unpasteurized milk retains powerful enzymes, important for assimilation of body-building-factors, including calcium. Therefore, those who drink pasteurized milk, often suffer from osteoporosis: the calcium in the milk isn’t absorbed because the enzymes are no longer present (Fallon, 35). Furthermore, pasteurized milk is rendered more acidic, causing the body to extract minerals from the bones in an attempt to sustain a healthy pH balance. Lipase is one of the enzymes in raw milk that helps the body digest nutrients. This enzyme is destroyed upon cooking (Fallon, 137). Pasteurization destroys the availability of milk’s nutrients including protein, vitamin C, B12, other water-soluble vitamins, calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and sulphur as well as trace minerals, plus it promotes the rancidity of fatty acids (Fallon, 34). Of course raw milk will contain all of the aforementioned nutrients lacking in pasteurized milk.
Pasteurization is utilized in order to protect the public from disease. However all outbreaks of salmonella in recent decades have been due to pasteurized milk consumption. There was a 1985 outbreak in Illinois, striking over 14,000 and killing one. The salmonella in that batch was resistant to penicillin and tetracycline. Raw milk, instead, contains lactic-acid-producing bacteria that protect against pathogens (Fallon, 34).
Price and Sally Fallon speak of the protective effects of the inclusion of raw dairy products in the human diet. If our ancestors fared so well on these natural foods, I believe it is our right to continue their traditions. Our present day world is so sick, I don’t even feel it necessary to rhyme off the many diseases afflicting millions of North Americans. Clearly, we have not discovered health through modern day foods. Our only alternative is to look to our past, and learn from those who came before us. Shouldn’t we at least be given the right to decide for ourselves? People who drink raw milk are educated. We love our bodies, and our families, and we know that raw milk with all its nutrients will improve our lives. We deserve to develop bodies as strong and vibrant as the Loetschental Swiss. How terrible would it be to have such a privilege removed by our government. Our government, a body whose purpose is to protect us, one would assume also, to ensure we are nutritionally supported to an optimal degree. Well maybe that has been precisely the problem. Our government doesn’t know. Or didn’t know. I am telling you, as are so many others: people are thriving on the beautiful, nourishing milk from healthy, happy, free range cows. We are telling you, informing you, of the benefits of this divine food stuff. Please do your duty and consider all aspects of this issue. Please research the benefits of including raw milk in a daily diet. For the sake of our future generations – not only for that of my tastebuds (though they will be so very sad to have such delicacies relinquished). For the fat soluble vitamins and life supportive minerals that may nourish the children of tomorrow – please hear this message.
I want to add that I understand why factory farms may find it safer to pasteurize their milk. Often times their herds are under such extreme stress, being forced to milk when their udders are sore, causing them to bleed and ooze bodily fluids into the milk. The cows may suffer extreme crowding and harbour disease. These circumstances provide justification for heating the milk to high temperatures. But does any of this really sound appealing? Wouldn’t we be better off purchasing high quality dairy products from local family operated farms? Farms run with love and care. Businesses such as Our Cow’s.
For anyone who has a family, who cares about others, and wants them to be nourished, the matter of raw dairy should be considered. The health implications of these products are vast. At culinary school in Berkeley California, we drank raw milk and used raw cheese and butter in many of our recipes. My school was nutrition focused, thus we knew the value of the expensive raw dairy we were privileged to have. Aside from health reasons, the pure joy experienced from drinking creamy, luscious raw milk is highly motivational. How could our government threaten to take away such a pleasure – an innocent, nourishing pleasure. I feel horrified, and ashamed by such action. I suppose this law has been created due to a lack of education around nutrition. The fact that the government would delegalize raw milk signifies that they have no idea how nourishing such products are. With the state of the health of North America, one would think we should be supporting healthy natural foods. Do you see, this is precisely why we are suffering. Because we are so confused about what we put in our mouths. We are creating new traditions in our country, and if we don’t turn it around soon, in a few generations the only culinary skill perfected will be that of placing an order at a drive through, or setting the microwave. I wonder what the national health bill will look like then? Surely higher than any cost accrued due to raw milk issues. What types of foods are we supporting? Fast food chains? Processed foods? Foods that have undergone extreme heat such to destroy viable nutrients? Please see how backwards we have turned.
Those in support of underground food operations are clinging to the most important thing around – their health. Perhaps we could help put our nation ahead of the game, if we stopped castigating our citizens for being kind to their bodies. Please let us take care of ourselves. Let us be nourished by nature. Let us drink milk, like our ancestors.
Thank-you for your time.
BA, Natural Chef
Fallon, Sally. Nourishing Traditions. New Trends: Washington. 2001.
Nagel, Ramiel. Copyright 2010. Accessed October 12th 2010.
Price, Weston A., Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation: La Mesa. 2008.
Schmid, Ronald. Traditional Foods are your Best Medicine. Ocean View Publications: Stratford. 1987.
Noel & Joanne Giffin 12709 19th Avenue, Surrey, B.C. V4A-5W6
Minister of Health-Federal, Hon. Leona Aglukkaq
Subject: Our concern over the issue of raw milk
We are concerned that our rights to freedom of choice are being unfairly and unconstitution- ally restricted by recent actions by the Canadian government, the Province of British Columbia and the Fraser Health Authority. Under the guise of a public health concern, they have harassed and prohibited the operation of our Cow Share in which we were participating. We are educated and knowledgeable adults who know the issues and have made our own informed choice to consume raw milk. We believe it’s health benefits far outweigh the risks, when handled properly.
We wish to register our complaint directly to you on this subject in the hope that you will listen to our concerns and respond to the growing demand from the public to legalize the cow share operations in Canada and to start proceedings to legalize raw milk sales.
Noel & Joanne Giffin
Here is a copy of the letter that I sent to my representatives. Feel free to use my name.
Dear Mr. McRae
This is just a note to let you know how concerned I am with the government’s current efforts to block my access to raw milk.
I am a 69 year old, well informed, conscientious voter. I take my health very seriously. I go to great lengths to protect it, and to do
my part to not further stress an already overburdened health care system. I work hard to avoid GMOs, transfats, and processed food. I
look for free range and grass fed. I support my local farmer, my local rancher. I largely adhere to the 100 mile diet.
I am having quite a lot of success here, too. While I never reached the 15 prescription medications per day that is average for my age
group, I am down from 11 scripts to 4. My heart is stronger. My stomach too. Acid reflux is a thing of the past. My bone on bone
arthritis causes me very little pain and I need neither the cane nor the knee replacement that they were insisting I get.
Did you know that 80% of your immune system is in your gut? Do you know that your gut is the foundation for your mental well being?
Raw milk is a very important component of my health regime. I have jumped through every hoop you put up. You can’t seriously believe
that people who get over all your hurdles do so because they are uninformed. People who work that hard do so not because they don’t
know, but because they do.
More and more, people are turning to real food as a cure for what ails them. The demand for organic, unprocessed, raw food gets stronger
every day. And that’s not all.
There are lots of people who would not drink raw milk themselves who would still support my right to make the choice for myself. And if
they wanted to drink cooked milk, I support their right to so choose, even though I think they are making a mistake.
Freedom is a very important part of living in a free country. You guys are supposed to represent us. This paternalism is out of place.
If you’re really worried about if why not make it legal? Then you can regulate it.
Please end the persecution of Michael Schmidt. Remove the application of contempt until the charter challenge resolves, as agreed in court.
Quit prosecuting cow share operations until the court case is over.
Please don’t include my name.
I am writing concerning the ban on selling unpasteurized milk in Canada. I do not understand why the Canadian government believes it should have the power to tell us what we can and can not eat.
This is a very dangerous path to be on. People deserve the freedom to choose. We should have access to the information of what is in our foods, and be able to choose foods based on that knowledge. Forcing us to drink pasteurized milk or no milk at all leads the way to very unhealthy principles. What is next, allowing only genetically modified foods to grace our shelves?
I believe that different diets suit different people. There is not one truth for all. What makes you think you know better then me? My family is a unique unit. I see their dietary requirements daily. I make choices based on what I see. You do not see my family. You are unaware of the benefits I have seen in my children since giving them unpasteurized milk. That is just one small reason why it should be my right to choose what foods we eat.
I could list all the countless benefits that raw milk has to offer, and if you are interested please let me know, I will. But more then simple health benefits I believe this is an issue of freedom. It is not our governments job to tell us what we can and can not eat. That is our basic right in being alive. When we lose that right, we have a big problem.
In the recent attack on natural supplements, and now raw milk, it seems we are rapidly loosing the ability to care for our own health. I believe the people who are using these options are the ones who are not a burden to the tax dollars, and yet rather then be rewarded, we
are stopped at every turn!
Food freedom is becoming more important to ordinary Canadians each and every day and this is not an issue that is going away, so I’m asking for your support to bring some common sense back into the equation. I stand for local sustainable unprocessed whole foods and the freedom to purchase and eat them.
I hope you will take a leading role to make your government more progressive by making food freedom a top priority.
Thank you for your time,
The following letter was sent on October 10th to MLA Marc Dalton:
Dear Mr. Dalton,
It is with great concern and outrage that I must send you this letter regarding the maligning of our personal rights and freedoms as British Columbians.
I am sure that you are well aware of the current struggle between Fraser Health and Michael Schmidt, leader of the campaign for real milk. Why is it, that in this day, and in a free country such as Canada, we are being systematically restricted from choosing what foods we personally consume. Certainly, government officials are operating under the guise of ‘health protection’, but we all know that the real issue at hand is freedom of choice vs. government control of the masses.
My family and I urge you to take this issue to Mme. Christy Clark and fight for our case. Raw milk, produced under proper sanitary conditions is quite safe and indeed far more healthful than the pasteurized, denatured dairy products that your government and Fraser Health is attempting to regulate upon us. It is obvious that of prime concern here is the dairy quota system and power over citizens. It is our RIGHT to choose. Please remind all government parties involved that they work for US.
Date: 18 October, 2011 7:55:59 PM PDT
To: “AGR.Minister@gov.bc.ca” <AGR.Minister@gov.bc.ca>
Subject: Raw Milk RightsDear minister,
I urge you to consider the current and ongoing fight for freedom regarding food choice, of which I am sure you are aware is raging in BC right now. As a herd-share member of Our Cows, now led by Michael Schmidt, I have witnessed great persecution against my rights. I am saddened to see my country and province slowly and incuriously morph into an autocratic, fascist state.
I respectfully demand that my right to choose what I put into my body is respected, and I am sure that you would agree. Please show us your support in this matter.
And now an example of a response and a rebuttal:
Dear Ms. Amber Chartier:
Thank you for your email of October 10, 2011, regarding your request that good quality raw milk be available in British Columbia. The Honourable Don McRae, Minister of Agriculture, forwarded your letter to my attention.
The province strongly stands by its position that raw milk is not safe to drink and pasteurization is by far the most effective method for destroying pathogens in raw milk. BC is in complete support of federal legislation that prohibits the sale of unpasteurized milk in Canada.
The link between consumption of raw milk and disease has been well established for several organisms (E. coli, Campylobacter, Listeria, Salmonella and Staphylococcus), and raw milk is pasteurized primarily to destroy pathogenic bacteria that may be present. Consuming raw milk presents a serious health hazard, and may result in mild illness, long-lasting serious disease, or even death, particularly among vulnerable populations including children, immune-compromised individuals, and pregnant women. Moreover, it is very difficult for a consumer to determine if raw milk is contaminated with dangerous pathogens; indeed, even raw milk with a normal appearance from apparently healthy cows can contain bacteria with the potential to cause human illness.
I understand there are varying public perspectives on the risks and purported benefits of consuming raw milk and raw milk products. The BC Centre for Disease Control has considerable information about the health risks associated with raw milk. The following web links may be of interest:
- BC Centre for Disease Control website:http://www.bccdc.ca/foodhealth/dairy/Raw+Milk.htm
- Raw Milk Contaminants and Pathogens:http://www.bccdc.ca/NR/rdonlyres/3A2C5D87-5615-4B4B-9279-F28BE80E7764/0/RawMilkPathogens.pdf
- Summary of Food Borne Illness Outbreaks in North America Associated with the Consumption of Raw Milk and Raw Milk Dairy Products (2000-2009):http://www.bccdc.ca/NR/rdonlyres/645E77BA-C73C-49DD-BCA5-8FCFD440A590/0/RawMilkOutbreakTable2000_2009Web.pdf
I also recommend you read Microbiological Risk Assessment of Raw Cow Milk, by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (2009):
Thank you for voicing your perspective on this issue. I hope the above information is useful.
You may publish this letter and please use my name.I am writing as I am concerned that the freedom to decide what food an individual may consume and knowing where it comes from is in jeopardy. Many are of the opinion that we live in a free country, however, sadly it is only an illusion.
In Ontario, dairy farmer Michael Schmidt is currently engaged in a hunger strike protesting this very issue as the court decided operating a herd share for intelligent, educated, responsible and well informed members who want to consume raw, grass fed dairy is in fact a crime.
A similar herd share in B.C. is also under attack by The Fraser Health Authority. Sentiments that raw milk can contain deadly pathogens is echoed time and again by regulating bodies, however both herd shares have never had a case of illness despite the thousands of gallons consumed by it’s members.
There have been many more recent food borne illnesses and deaths reported resulting from contaminated spinach, cantaloupe, seafood and processed meat to name a few, however these foods are not vilified and made illegal to buy the way the carefully produced, high quality raw dairy from these cow shares has.
Humans have consumed raw dairy for many thousands of years, like what I had growing up, and is sold for human consumption freely in countries like Italy and France boasting “the French health paradox” or “the Mediterranean diet” which eludes North American civilization. A recent immigrant from Poland I met was shocked at how tightly regulated our food industry is and remarked there is more freedom to buy raw food in communist countries and people there are healthier as a whole (I kid you not).
Perhaps “the North American paradox” is Health Canada recommends several servings of fruit and vegetables per day while continuing to subsidize pesticide friendly GMO crops of corn, wheat, canola and soy fueling the fast food industry while outlawing small operations passionate about producing high quality, simple artisan foods that are complimentary to health.I am sincerely yours,
I’m writing you because I am concerned. It is not about raw milk, though that is the fight, it is about food freedom, it is about a government who is holding onto archaic ideas, unwilling to have a conversation, do the studies (or hear them), and unwilling to allow it’s citizens (mature, reasonable adults) to decide for themselves. I think this is unacceptable in a free and advanced country like ours is supposed to be.
I believe that those trying to fight and shut down the raw milk dairies (dairies where customers OWN the cows and are paying staff to milk them and deliver the milk for us to do with it what we want) are being bullies. These people are making claims that are unfounded…. they say that raw milk makes people sick, but in the almost 4 years my family (babies, toddlers, adults) we’ve never gotten sick from it, and the only dairy that makes my daughter and I unwell (stomach aches, headaches, exzema) is the milk from unhealthy, abused cows in the mainstream dairy industry. Raw milk is legal across Europe, parts of the U.S., and other parts of the world, why not here?
Yes, pasteurization “helps.” It kills the bad bacterias in the milk of cows being fed things their stomachs weren’t built to deal with. It rids us of the results of lack of care for these important animals, of the abuse they endure.
I believe we need to rise to a higher standard… these raw dairies are doing just that – they are caring for animals and not abusing them. They have learned to protect the milk from pathogens that make people sick, and in protecting milk from pasteurization, they are increasing its value and digestibility to our bodies.
I challenge the government to do its own studies. Prove me and the at least 200 families across the Fraser valley wrong! Consider the facts, listen to the stories. Lets make raw milk, and responsible food choices, legal in BC and Canada like any forward thinking society. I can choose to eat refined sugar and smoke cigarettes, why not raw dairy? What else are they going to decide we can’t eat or drink? What else have they already decided for us? Who do they think they are?
As we discussed when we met last week, I look forward to working together with you on matters on which the Liberals and the Greens of Richmond Hill have “common ground”. I am hoping the matter of Michael Schmidt is one of them.
Both before and now after the election I was approached by constituents who wish to be free to purchase raw milk from Michael (and others) if they so choose. They are educated and very aware of the communicated health risks, as well as the possible benefits.
Personally, while growing up on a rural property near Owen Sound, I drank raw milk while visiting friends who lived on a dairy farm. They drank it daily and both I and my friend (and all his siblings) enjoy good health today. The Queen drinks raw milk as well, I am told.
As a professional, I have participated as an educator in Ontario’s Food Traceability initiatives and have learned the deep commitment Ontario has to keeping its food supply safe. However, I believe this is one area in which Ontario has gone too far.
At a bare minumium, as a fellow politician (I being aspiring), I think it must be clear that this is not a matter worth dying over and Mr. Schmidt (as a recognized and clearly committed activist) deserves the audience with his Premier that he requests. I am joined by my fellow Greens within Richmond Hill in my opinion on this matter.
Please ask Mr. McGuinty to respond to Michael’s letter (attached) and meet with him immediately. Please help get the hunger strike ended and move forward on a resolution to his concerns. If I or the members of our community in Richmond Hill can be of assistance in any way on this, please let me know.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Ontario Green Party Candidate 2011, Richmond Hill
Note: this material will also be archived on our “Letters” page.
Here’s one to start us off, from Zeb Landon, from October 2011:
Dear Premier McGuinty:
We live in a multicultural society. Multiculturalism is even protected under Canadian law. Why does Ontario insist on violating my right to my culture to eat and drink according to my beliefs and values?
I refer to my right to consume unpasteurized milk from Michael Schmidt’s cows, which I am part owner of through a cowshare. Don’t tell me I put children at risk– I (thankfully) experienced growing up nourished by raw milk, as do thousands of farmers’ children today.
This isn’t some devious mass marketing, or any marketing at all for that matter. There is no advertising, as a single farm on this model by its very design only aims to supply its own small consumer co-op. Nonetheless, please note that this is a “role model” of social mutual support between farmer and consumer, with neither put at a disadvantage by the other. It’s an example in Ontario of progressive cultural renewal, that rejoins disparate fragments of urban and rural that got pulled apart by industrialization and can now come back together in sharing and caring — what Ontario needs much more of.
Please, your government is able to end the unfair discrimination against the ethical livelihood and liberty represented by Mr Schmidt. He has been very courageous in standing up for what is right, enduring years of stress and worry because of our shared values. When our cowshare persons come together at my church parking lot to receive the wholesome enzyme-rich milk or cheese, please, Mr McGuinty, could you not come stand with us?
Zeb Landon, Simcoe
11 responses to “Letters”
Here is a letter I sent to my local MPP (in addition to sending a message directly to Premier McGuinty on his website).
Dear Mr. Miller,
your support is critical in ending the hunger strike of Michael Schmidt.
Please contact the premier’s office right away to show your support to ask Mr. McGuinty to meet with Michael Schmidt to start a dialog about our freedom to eat the food of our choice and in particular about the issue of Raw Milk.
This has become not just a provincial issue but also a national issue.
Ontario is very progressive in many ways, so I expect that our province also must show leadership in the area of the sale of Raw Milk, in the same manner as is done in Europe. It is legal in Europe to sell raw milk and many studies have shown that it is safe , if proper safety practices are followed.
The Ontario government should not allow itself to get the reputation of being behind the times, so my expectation as well as the expectation of a growing number of other citizens in Ontario is that Ontario will take leadership and begin the process of giving raw milk its rightful place as a legitimate food that is available for people to buy if and when they so choose.
Here is a copy of my letter that was published in the Vancouver Sun. I recommend that everyone read the excellent article by Karen Selick that I refer to in the letter:
Court ruling on milk leaves sour taste
By Michael J. Kuta, Vancouver Sun October 19, 2011
Re: Courts milking their power, Opinion, Oct. 17
Karen Selick’s article is excellent.
I have been drinking unpasteurized milk for more than three years because I believe it has significantly more health benefits than the pasteurized version available in stores.
I purchased a share in a herd of cows and I, along with the other herd members, pay Michael Schmidt to milk the cows, put the milk in bottles and provide it to us. I did my due diligence on the cows and the farmer and am satisfied that the highest standards are being used to make sure the milk delivered to me is fresh. I do not understand how a bureaucrat can tell me that to do this is illegal.
Does the government plan to prosecute every dairy farmer who drinks milk without having it pasteurized?
I fail to see the difference between drinking milk from a cow and eating an apple I pick from the tree in my backyard. The government has no business interfering with the private contract I have to obtain my milk or with my decision to drink it.
I understand there will be a contempt hearing for Michael Schmidt. All of us who are herd members, and I hope all North Americans, have contempt for any bureaucrat who attempts to regulate our lives in this way.
Michael J. Kuta Vancouver
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/Court+ruling+milk+leaves+sour+taste/5572204/story.html#ixzz1bGTe0ULX
It is truly pathetic that in a world of junk food, tobacco, alcohol, and what allopathic medicine says is bad such as lots of cholesterol, saturated fat, etc. all legally obtained, that we cannot access a food that is leagues above the homogenized\pasteurized milk which indeed does contribute to diabetes and heart disease. Somebody must be bought here. There is no other explanation.
Here is a letter I sent today to all the BC MLA’s. I also sent it to my MP and to the Chilliwack and Abbotsford papers.
Dear Elected Representative,
I want to appeal to you to bring some sense to the government’s handling of raw milk. A champion of our cause, Michael Schmidt, continues to be harassed by every level of government, including the provincial. I could provide you with over 50 pages of documentation prepared by doctors supporting the health uses of raw milk, and I could also cite my own personal experience with using it as part of the means by which I successfully fought thyroid and lymphatic cancer 5 1/2 years ago – choosing not to take the recommended surgery, chemo or radiation therapy – saving Medicare many dollars and having a successful outcome.
However, without even considering the health benefits, I think it boils down to the freedom to choose. I can choose to smoke whatever cigarettes that I might desire, in spite of proven detrimental health consequences. I can choose to drink whatever alcoholic drink that I should desire, in spite of proven medical and potential addiction problems. If I am a woman in Canada, I can choose to abort my baby even if it is full-term. And yet, I can not choose to drink unpasteurized milk? Does that make any sense to you? It certainly does not to me.
Please speak to this inequity.
I sent this letter to Kevin Falcon, MLA representing Surrey, Cloverdale. His office said it was sent to the Minister of Health.. I also sent it the the Federal Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq
This is a copy of an email that I sent to Kevin Falcon, Surrey Cloverdale MLA… I would respectfully like to bring it to your attention also as a Canadian citizen Michael Schmidt is being made an example and having his life altered greatly and unfairly…
Recently an issue has come to my attention and I have felt very moved to voice my concern. Michael Schmidt is a dairy farmer in Ontario and is also the head of Our Cows dairy in BC. He is a strong advocate of raw milk, as am I. I have been drinking raw milk for many years and do so because of the in depth research available as to its health advantages – especially from neutral experts. Pasteurized milk, though touted as the ultimate food stuff, is heated which alters its nutrients, including enzymes. Natural health experts who are not afraid to be outspoken against mainstream beliefs – such as Dr. Joseph Mercola (www.mercola.com – largest natural health website on the internet) – rave about the necessity of milk to be raw, yet in BC (Supernatural BC?), it is somehow deemed ‘illegal’ to even have a share in a cow and attain milk with consent, as I do for myself and my family.
To be told what I can and cannot eat by my government leaves personal freedom and choice wide open to the control of special interest groups. What have we fought wars for in this country? My answer would be freedom, but now I beg to differ on this and other health & food choice issues. Groups with large pocket books (dairy boards who would have a hard time competing in making raw milk because of the special care it requires to produce it) can easily silence a smaller (even educated) minority. It is not about who is right, it’s about who is left in these cases – and raw milk is simply a laughable perceived danger to those of us who will consume nothing else milk-wise if not raw.
Michael Schmidt has had an issuance of a fine that will most certainly shut down his and any other small dairy farmers that focus on producing whole, natural, unpasteurized, fresh milk, even though I believe he is a huge proponent to have the milk properly regulated (as I am sure our local dairy farmer is). And, trust me, so do all of the people who participate in milk shares.
Most people do not have the time, insight and passion to even look at the facts about issues such as raw milk so we are a minority of natural health aware proponents that may be able to make a strong enough voice to be heard. My short term concern is for the health of my family, but my larger scale concerns are about special interests groups dictating what everyone eats, even though they are no more open to fair discussion than a lobbyist in the good old U S of A.
It’s a shame that our province and country is turning a blind eye to freedom of food choice for people such as Michael Schmidt and others that know of the benefits of whole natural fresh milk. He is quite an easy political target for the special interest groups and politicians. Unfortunately his super-healthy product will also be washed away in the bath water. And so will other healthy choices that aren’t in the best interest of the powers that be. Raw milk doesn’t have the group power or cash to advertise through media or to take on Big Dairy. We as individuals should not be punished for this. Amazing that kids in the future will know nothing of the health benefits of raw milk that we are throwing away if we continue this path. Just ‘cause Big Dairy says so.
What a shame. What a shame. My great Uncle fought on the front line in WWII and I wonder what he would think of our freedoms if he were alive today. He was also a farmer raised on raw milk. Pretty Ironic. Oh the danger he faced when Big Dairy couldn’t protect him from this dangerous food consumption through their connections. I’m sorry. Special interest city on this one. Too too obvious. I hope you will investigate. Good to know that cigarettes are an available choice in our finely and fairly managed BC communities, but fresh milk is not.
I will continue to do what is right for my health and that of my family no matter what ‘research’ and ‘PR’ the special interest groups come up with. I hope you will allow people to have a voice and choice in how they run their lives – and to not just make us (like cattle) follow their dollar.
Kevin, with respectful hope that this issue of free choice comes to light.
All the best,
Dr. Terry Zachary
Surrey BC – Clayton Heights/ Cloverdale concerned citizen
Dear Minister Michael de Jong.
I’m writing to you again because the response I received from Tim Lambert
Executive Director, Health Protection, in response to the letter I wrote to you below was not sufficient.
What I’m looking for is your response, not tired propaganda from a government bureaucrat, lecturing me on the dangers of raw milk. I didn’t vote for him. I voted for you. I’ve been drinking raw milk for years as do hundreds of thousands around the globe. It’s safe. I’m living proof. What I want is action and accountability from my government.
What I’m looking for is a response from you outlining how you plan to move forward to legalize raw milk, or at the very least cow shares in the province. We are mobilizing in the food freedom movement and we want action now. This social movement is growing stronger and larger everyday, and the folks I’m talking to on a daily basis are pretty fed up with what Mr. Lambert refers to as “protecting our health.” Frankly Minister, trans-fats, fast foods, tobacco and GMO’s are real health issues. Yet nobody would stop me from buying a carton of smokes eating at McDonalds everyday.
Why isn’t your government more progressive on this important issues? I want to buy local whole foods direct form a farmer? Why is that illegal?
And you wonder why constituents have become so disengaged with the political process.
If the liberals want my vote and the vote of food freedom advocates in the next election, then I’d suggest you show some real leadership today.
Thank you for allowing me to express my thoughts on this important issue
#308 3235 W 4th Ave
604 254 9842
I’m writing to you to ask a simple question. What’s more dangerous for your health? Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or drinking unpasteurized milk?
According to Health Canada, it’s drinking unpasteurized milk.
Canada is the only G8 country where the sale of raw milk is illegal. The country outlawed its sale in 1991. However, drinking raw milk is legal. I believe in food freedom and I believe the provincial government should too. Clearly raw milk is not a health issue as thousands of people drink with great benefits including myself. More people will die from drug interactions with prescription drugs this year in North America than all the cases of raw milk drinkers getting sick in the world in the last two decades!
I guess what I am looking for is a honest answer why to why the provincial government not doing more to ensure the rights of British Columbians to choose to eat whole unprocessed foods, directly from the farmer, if they so choose? When tainted spinach is sold and people get
E-coli poisoning or tainted deli meat is recalled, why don’t you make spinach or deli meat illegal to sell?
It’s very disappointing to see your government not making this basic freedom more important when I believe we have much bigger issues to allocate resources too than punishing a small raw dairy. It seems every day average Canadians are assaulted by their own government under the guise of looking out for our welfare. Whether it’s raw milk or natural supplements coming under attack, we seems to be losing the choice to be responsible for our own health.
We are an overmedicated culture living on too many processed foods, and we don’t have to look very far to see that health care requires a new paradigm to become effective. If I wish to purchase whole healthy raw milk direct from a farmer, is that not my constitutional right? In fact why don’t we make raw milk dairy’s legal so they can be properly regulated. Does the little guy not get help too from the government, or is it only the powerful that get the ear of the government?
I can assure you I take my health very very seriously, because I don’t want to get ill or be a burden to the system, and raw dairy is a large part of my health protocol.
There is a growing desire and movement for fresh whole unprocessed foods, that are not boiled irradiated and processed in factories….and food freedom is becoming more and more important to ordinary Canadians. This is not an issue that is going away, so I’m asking for your support to bring some common sense back into the equation.
I hope you will take a leading role to make your government more progressive by making food freedom a top priority.
I feel so strongly about this issue as do many of the folks I’m talking to that it is a major election issue for me.
I appreciate the opportunity to express my thoughts on this subject.
October 28, 2011
Dear friend of Michael Schmidt,
I spoke to Michael today and let him know that Barrie MPP, Rodney Jackson, has joined a newly formed bipartisan committee of Provincial MPPs that includes Randy Hillier, Greg Sorbara, Jack McLaren, John O’Toole and others. They are determined to persuade the Premier to concede to Farmer Schmidt’s request for dialogue. They realise that Michael Schmidt’s hunger strike is a matter of concern to a growing number of representatives from every party, much talked about in the corridors of power where many agree that Michael’s stance is indicative of the much larger issue of Food Freedom that underlies his tireless campaign for Safe Raw Milk.
Michael said he was very moved by this show of support and that it made him hopeful that “something is happening”. He remains firm in his resolution to end his fast only when Dalton McGuinty indicates a willingness to enter into dialogue with him. “At issue is the need to engage the highest level of government in dialogue so that the lower bureaucratic levels can ultimately fall into line with the conclusions of an open ended, forward looking and unbiased review of the current stalemate.” Dialogue is only a first step in the direction of policy making that is mindful of the best interests of all concerned-farmers, consumers and animals alike.” An exchange of views may reveal that it is possible to protect the health of citizens and permit freedom of choice in food at one and the same time.”
Michael Schmidt contends that food choice cannot be contemplated without reference to farmers. We know that farms are dwindling and that farmers are ageing. There is a need for new incentives and Michael’s approach to animal husbandry, his respect for nature and his attention to the relationship that can flourish between farmer and consumer, carries a seed of renewal that we Canadians cannot afford to dismiss. “We are cutting the branch we are sitting on,” is Michael’s way of putting it.
“If Dalton McGuinty wants to avoid a funeral, I want him to know that I have no conditions, in my quest for dialogue, other than a wish to focus on the following questions with a view to progressing from where we are now to where we could ideally be as a robust society”:
1. How can we move to ensure that farmers are no longer persecuted through being subjected to more and more raids on their properties, to more charges being laid against them?
2. Can we work towards the formation of a task force to look at current recommendations that address the stalemate that exists with regard to Safe Raw Milk?
3. How can the individual right to food choice be upheld when the regulatory bodies revolve around the issue of risk and of ‘endangering the public’?
Novalis Project, Barrie, Ontario
We are a single parent family of three that is trying to start a
garden share and farm share program
we want to teach people how to garden on larger scales
and grow their own food
we want to have a jersey cow milk share program
we want to stay together as a family as our dad raised us alone
without family without support for sixteen years now.
If you can and are willing to help me and my brother start this garden share and cow share farm please let me know
Integrity@cyg.net we are looking for donations and are trying to raise
130 thousand dollars full and complete.
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Years ago in 1965 I was living in Pasadena California and getting raw milk from Altadena Dairy. Then the State of California passed a law that stated dairy milk producers could not sell raw milk anymore. After the law was passed we got a letter from Altadena Dairy inviting all it’s customers to come down and inspect the dairy barns, etc. I had already done so as it was an open invitation and good experience for my kids. To make a long story short, everyone knew you could eat of the barn floors of Altadena Dairy, that’s how clean they kept the facilities. The dairy let all it’s customers know they could still buy their raw milk although it would be labeled “pet food”. They stated that nothing would change in the way they did things, and that everything would be as it was before. We all signed on to keep receiving Altadena Dairy’s raw milk “pet food”. Some time later as the law was recinded. Why not try doing that. Let you loyal customers know why you have to label your raw milk as “pet food” and those loyal customers will sign on. In fact due to the controversy you may even get new customers. People will always support the underdog when they know the underdog is credible, honest and reliable and worthy of their trust!
Notice the following news article:
…….consider the story of raw milk and Salmonella in California. The California State Health Department and several county health departments, most notably those of Los Angeles and San Diego counties, conspired for some 30 years to harass the Alta Dena Dairy, and nearly every other raw milk dairy in the state, and put them out of business.
The Stueve brothers—Ed, Harold, and Elmer—founded Alta Dena in Monrovia in 1945 with 61 milk cows and two bulls. Dr. Francis Pottenger was a regular customer. In 1950 the family purchased a much larger operation in Chino. The dairy became certified for raw milk production in 1953 and grew rapidly. By the 1980s, the dairy milked over 8,000 cows daily and owned 18,000 animals. With 800 employees, Alta Dena was the largest producer-distributor in the nation, selling over 20,000 gallons of certified raw milk daily. Alta Dena products, including raw milk and raw butter, buttermilk, ice cream, kefir and yogurt were sold in health food stores in every state. For over 40 years, Alta Dena proved that safe and healthy raw dairy products could be produced and distributed on a large scale with literally no proven cases caused by their products. This did not deter the various county health officials and the California State Health Department from their campaign to destroy Alta Dena. Eventually, the Department’s chosen weapon would be Salmonella, a weapon they used only after failing with the alleged threat of a number of other diseases to generate fear of raw milk in the public and a costly ongoing legal morass for Alta-Dena.
The first assault occurred in 1965, when a San Diego County health officer named Askew summarily issued an order banning all raw milk in the county, claiming to have found Staphylococcus aureus in Alta Dena milk. While these bacteria can be involved in everything from skin infections to pneumonia, they are ubiquitous in the environment and are carried by about half of the human population. Many pasteurized dairy products contain low levels of S. aureus, the residues of higher levels present before pasteurization. Staph poisoning is usually traced to processed foods such as ham and cream-filled pastries. Although Staph can cause mastitis in cows and staphylococcal poisoning has on occasion been attributed to a wide variety of dairy products in the past, the only four major outbreaks reported in the United States since 1970 have involved either processed butter products or pasteurized 2% chocolate milk.
Illness caused by Staph is brief and intense, with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and cramps. Acute symptoms last only a few hours, with the patient fully recovered within a day or two. No one had become ill when Alta Dena milk was banned in San Diego County. “The health officer stated publicly that he was going to do away with raw milk in the state of California,” writes William Campbell Douglass in The Milk Book, “if it was the last thing he ever did.”
According to Douglass, health officer Askew was asked, at a hearing of the County Board of Supervisors, whether to his knowledge anyone had ever become sick from drinking certified raw milk in San Diego County. He answered, “No, but it could happen.” The Board urged that he lift the ban, yet he refused to do so. The country’s largest producer-distributor dairy could not sell its raw milk in San Diego County, and the ban remained in effect for three years.
Finally, after a three-year battle, the 4th District Court of Appeals ruled that the health officer had exceeded his authority. Meanwhile, in 1967, the California Medical Society had passed a resolution calling for the pasteurization of all milk in California. Three other counties summarily banned raw milk, but vociferous public opposition succeeded in removal of the bans.
HOW ABOUT Q?
It was in January of 1969 that the Los Angeles County Health Department attacked Alta Dena. The Los Angeles Times announced, with banner headlines based on information supplied by the Health Department, that Alta Dena raw milk was banned with the presumption of contamination by the organisms that cause Q fever. This obscure viral-like disease is caused by the parasite Coxiella burnetti, which is carried in ticks and sometimes in the ruminant animals that ticks infect. The parasite causes no symptoms in the animals; most cases of Q fever occur in farmers and meat factory employees who work in close contact with animals, and the disease appears to be transmitted by inhalation of the parasite. The symptoms are fever, pain and intense headache, and most patients recover fully with two to four weeks of antibiotic treatment.
C. burnetti has been found in milk from cows carrying the parasite, and regular consumers of raw milk sometimes have antibodies to the parasite without showing any evidence of disease. This implies that exposure stimulates the immune system to develop resistance. Two reports in the medical literature have linked raw milk consumption with a few dozen cases of Q fever (one article was published in 1968, a few months before the Los Angeles County charges), but the association remains totally unproven. In fact, in his chapter “Public health concerns,” published in Applied Dairy Microbiology, Theodore Ryser states that “. . . in one study in which contaminated raw milk was ingested by human volunteers illness did not occur.” Other studies showed that the parasite survived the temperatures normally used for pasteurization for most of the twentieth century. On balance, it appears unlikely that Q fever has ever been transmitted by the consumption of raw milk.
No one in Los Angeles County had reported any symptoms of Q fever. Alta Dena defied the LA County Health Board ban, continuing to sell raw milk in the county, and was taken to court. Meanwhile the dairy labeled its raw milk as “pet food, not for human consumption.” Harold Stueve, president of the dairy and the mayor of Monrovia at the time, was arrested for contempt of court. Only when Alta Dena expert witnesses testified that Q fever was caused by inhalation of the parasite and not by consumption of raw milk did prosecutors drop the charges.
A 1966 Los Angeles County Health Department report on Q fever proves the health department’s bias. The report describes seven cases, six of which lived “in or around dairies.” None of the seven drank raw milk. Contact with animals and subsequent airborne spread, the report admitted, was the vector for infection, but claimed that “the most practical solution now available” was the universal pasteurization of all milk.
The California State Health Department led the next attack in 1974 with a statewide ban of Alta Dena’s raw milk, citing the threat of brucellosis. All Alta Dena cows had of course been vaccinated against the disease and were routinely tested as an extra precaution. The ban forced the dairy to go to court once again and to retest the entire herd. No brucellosis was found, and Alta Dena resumed sales of raw milk. But, once again, the Stueves lost thousands of dollars in lawyers’ fees and testing expenses and an untold amount of lost sales due to adverse publicity.
Having failed to show that Alta Dena raw milk had ever caused any of the classic milk-borne illnesses, the state zeroed in on Salmonella. In the mid-1970s the state made numerous claims that Salmonella contaminated raw milk produced by Alta Dena and other California raw milk dairies. In 1978, the Stueve brothers led California raw milk producers in seeking a California state Senate bill requiring the State Health Department to oversee raw dairy foods in a manner similar to that of other food products. On June 4th, a week before the Senate bill was to come up for debate, a state laboratory claimed to have found Salmonella in Alta Dena milk.
The State Health Department delayed five days in releasing the information, while the public bought and consumed the milk—milk the state would subsequently declare was a public health hazard. Then on June 9th, two days before the Senate debate was to begin, the Department notified the press of the alleged contamination, claiming that an epidemic of Salmonella poisoning was imminent.
The only epidemic was an outbreak of inflammatory news reports. From San Rafael to Sacramento, from Ventura to Vallejo, raw milk producers stood accused: “Raw Milk Warning,” “Some Raw Milk Found to be Contaminated,” “Contaminated Raw Milk Ordered Off Shelves.” Radio announcements warned the public not to drink raw milk from Alta Dena dairy. No one got sick, but in the hysteria the Senate bill failed.
A few days later, after reviewing relevant documents, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner accused California State Health Department officials of falsifying bacterial reports in order to defeat the Senate bill. Two independent laboratories—one that did testing for the Los Angeles County Medical Milk Commission, and the other that did considerable testing for the state—returned negative results for Salmonella. The Health Department laboratory had either falsified its results, or the testing methods had been so sloppy that the milk samples were contaminated during the testing procedures. The Herald Examiner article hinted at a conspiracy among members of the State Health Department to eliminate raw dairy products.
Other State Health Department tactics bolstered the conspiracy charge. In several instances, products for which there was no evidence of contamination at all—falsified, inaccurate, or otherwise—were destroyed. Officials forced a food store manager to pour 90 gallons of certified raw milk down a toilet. Health officers punched holes in Alta Dena raw cheese, and poured Chlorox over it. The Department leaked a “staff report” to New Age, a widely read California magazine, which published excerpts in August 1978. “Evidence points to a continuing health hazard to the public consuming Alta Dena’s raw certified milk,” reported New Age, and quoted a medical epidemiologist who claimed that Alta Dena raw milk was killing cancer patients.
The epidemiologist and two of his colleagues, both of whom worked with the California State Health Department, published a report in the British Medical Journal stating that 22 patients, mostly with leukemias and lymphomas, had died between 1971 and 1975, sometime after being “exposed” to Alta Dena raw milk. Publication in a foreign journal made the authors relatively immune to lawsuits. Since then, the article has been widely quoted as scientific fact in American journals.
The governor’s office in California received over 17,000 letters, telegrams and phone calls in defense of Alta Dena within two months of the Herald Examiner report. The furor died down, but the number of letters alone grew to over 50,000. The State Health Department was undeterred, repeating unconfirmed allegations of Salmonella contamination later in 1978 and again in 1979. Both times, newspapers generated the usual scare headlines: “Poisoned Milk Recalled,” “State Issues Warning About Alta Dena Milk,” “Tainted Milk Ordered Off Market Shelves.” Again the allegations were false, no one got sick and Alta Dena carried on. But one by one, other raw milk producers in the state went out of business.
In 1983, Nevada state inspectors seized Alta Dena raw milk from a health food store and claimed it contained Salmonella. The milk was 21 days old, past its expiration date. Four different labs, including the California State Health Department lab and one county lab, subsequently analyzed the milk and found no Salmonella. The FDA spent three days investigating the Alta Dena Dairy and found nothing of importance. The California State Health Department nevertheless issued warnings to the people of California not to drink Alta Dena raw milk, or even give it to their pets.
GOING IN FOR THE KILL
Also in 1983, the report describing five serious Salmonella cases at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in San Diego was published. Three of the five patients were regular consumers of Alta Dena raw milk, and one, a patient with advanced cancer who had been receiving extensive chemotherapy, died with an acute Salmonella infection. It is certainly possible that Alta Dena raw milk was the carrier of the Salmonella that infected this woman. The dairy did its best to produce a large volume of raw milk for the people of California, but it was not a pasture-based dairy. Mistakes were undoubtedly occasionally made, and milk may have occasionally been contaminated with Salmonella or other pathogens. Since the State Health Department reports cannot be trusted, it is impossible to know how often that may have occurred. But to expect or demand perfection from any dairy would be ludicrous, and any raw food may on occasion carry pathogenic organisms that may precipitate illness in susceptible individuals. The point is that people need and have a right to choose carefully produced raw dairy products despite the fact that contamination may occasionally occur. The proper role of the public health authorities is to help producers make the best possible products and ensure that any contamination is minimal, and then to take proper steps to protect the public when and if contamination occurs. For proponents of raw milk to claim that problems never occur is to avoid reality and play into the hands of bureaucrats who would seize upon rare and isolated problems as an excuse to condemn all raw milk.
For that is exactly what the California State Health Department did. Ignoring all the evidence on the benefits of raw milk and the desire of many people to consume it, the Department used the possibility of occasional Salmonella contamination as an excuse to wage a vendetta against Alta Dena and California’s other raw milk producers.
In 1984, an article in Vogue headlined “A Raw Milk Warning: A New and Dangerous Health Fad” featured statistics published in the newsletter of an organization called California Council Against Health Frauds. The report claimed that raw milk drinkers were at increased risk of Salmonella infection, “which can result in high fevers and bloody diarrhea.” This is extremely rare for most Salmonella infections. People who drink raw milk are 118 times more at risk, said the article. This exaggeration was obtained by manipulating figures originally published in 1944.
In 1991, Consumers Union of the United States joined with California’s conventional dairy producers to file suit against Alta Dena Dairy for advertising, allegedly falsely, that raw milk was healthful and pasteurized was not. The State Health Department concurrently claimed raw milk products were a public health hazard and prohibited Alta Dena from distributing and selling its raw milk pending settlement of the Consumers Union suit. In 1992, the court ruled that Alta Dena’s health claims were illegal and ordered all raw milk sold in California to carry a government warning. The Stueves then sold Alta Dena Dairy, but continued to produce and distribute raw dairy products under the Stueve’s Natural label.
In 1997, John Leedom, MD, one of the six members of the Los Angeles County Medical Milk Commission, publicly stated that not only licensed grade A raw milk but also certified raw milk should be banned in Los Angeles County. Alta Dena produced licensed grade A raw milk that was also certified by the Commission; California’s other licensed grade A raw milk producers were not certified. Three other commissioners sided with Leedom. According to James Privitera, MD, one of the two commissioners who favored keeping raw milk available, the majority implemented regulations so restrictive and prejudicial that it became impossible for raw milk producers to stay in business. Alta Dena’s new owners at that point stopped selling raw milk, and Stueve’s Natural raw milk has not been available since May 1999.
A final warning: if those pushing compulsory pasteurization, food irradiation and other treatments of all raw foods have their way, the end result will be the sterilization of the entire food supply—of course in the name of safety and consumer protection. Do not underestimate the determination of the individuals and corporations that would like this to happen, or their appetite for the billions of dollars it would bring them.
It seems to me that the most apt description of this drive to make compulsory the complete industrialization of the food supply is fascism. My dictionary lists as one of the meanings of fascism “any system of extreme authoritarian views.” What could be more authoritarian than laws compelling the people of a state or nation to eat only the dead food that corporations serve us? Stopping this fascist drive by elements in our government and the corporations they serve is the major challenge of this century. It is not an impossible task; in fact, it is one in which every individual can participate simply by supporting local farms and drinking raw milk.
Excerpted from The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid, ND, available October 2003, NewTrends Publishing, Inc., (877) 707-1776, http://www.newtrendspublishing.com. Large discounts for one case or more are available for prepaid advance orders. For details, contact Sally Fallon at email@example.com .
This article appeared in the Fall 2003 edition of Wise Traditions, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
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Ron Schmid, ND
Ron Schmid, ND, naturopathic physician, writer, teacher, and farmer, has prescribed raw milk for his patients for nearly 25 years. Dr. Schmid is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and has taught at all four of America’s naturopathic medical schools. He served as the former clinic director and chief medical officer at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine. He is the author of Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine and The Untold Story of Milk.
3 THOUGHTS ON “THE VENDETTA AGAINST ALTA DENA DAIRY”
jana jones on August 2, 2013 at 11:31 am said:
Grew up with alta dena, yes even living in Dallas, sure have looked for “substitutes” over the years to no avail. Learned to make my own yogurt, ricotta, mozzarella, brie etc. Raw goat sheep & cows milk are much more digestible, especially smaller animals for me. Homogenized dairy products seem worse for humans health than clean raw dairy.
David on August 27, 2013 at 2:28 pm said:
I worked for Alta-Dena dairy in the late 70′s and remember the constant attacks. I grew up around the corner from one of the drive-thru “cash & carries” and was raised on their products. During new hire orientation I learned a lot about health foods in general not just dairy products. The Stueve family were great people and did not deserve the treatment they got. I used to buy the raw product just as a show of support.