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.
Supporters of the defendants are being encouraged to come out to Monday’s court date at 9:30 am, Monday March 2, 2015 as the Crown argues why a publication ban would serve the public interest in this case. At least that’s what we imagine they might argue. Lindsay court is at 44 Kent St. in Lindsay, ON.
Montana Jones, Karen Selick, Michael Schmidt. Photo via theccf.ca
“The preliminary inquiry in this matter started as scheduled on February 17, 2015. It was supposed to run on 10 consecutive court days, with an additional week at the end of April.
But on the second day of the prelim, lawyer Shawn Buckley was suddenly handed another 104 pages of documents that had never been disclosed previously by the prosecutor Damien Frost. Mr. Buckley had sent Mr. Frost a lengthy list of the documents he required approximately two years earlier, but Mr. Frost’s client, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)—for reasons known only to themselves—had failed to provide these important papers. Over the next two days, additional disclosure was handed to Mr. Buckley, bringing the total for the week to 382 pages. Continue reading
From David E. Gumpert on The Modern Farmer:
Jurors with Vernon Hershberger and his wife, Irma, outside of court. Photo via Modern Farmer
“The criminal misdemeanor trial of Wisconsin raw milk farmer Vernon Hershberger that drew national media attention ended more than two weeks ago, but Michele Bollfrass-Hopp, one of the jurors in the case, has been unable to get it out of her mind.
In the case, Vernon Hershberger, a 41-year-old Amish farmer, was put on trial for violating Wisconsin’s dairy and food licensing laws by selling unpasteurized milk. Cases in which farmers are prosecuted for selling unlicensed food for private use are rare. In one other case, last September, a jury of six people acquitted Minnesota farmer Alvin Schlangen on criminal misdemeanor charges similar to those facing Hershberger. Continue reading
Tessa Rachel writes about the rally on her Proverbs31wannabe blog:
More than 300 people turned out to rally for food freedom in Wisconsin. Tessa Rachel photo.
“….The rally garnered over 300 supporters (which was a lot for our small town and small courthouse), the holding room in the court was filled to overflowing with rally attendees. Continue reading
This whole thing seems to be a “public relations” exercise arising from the Harvard debate, which you can watch in the preceding post. See also this earlier post from David Gumpert discussing the USA Today story, as well as this post from Kimberly Hartke, setting things straight for the WAPF. From Wendy Leung, in the Globe and Mail:
“Those who feel strongly about the benefits of raw milk are willing to go to great lengths to fight for access to the unpasteurized dairy product.
But contributing to the raw-milk debate, a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause outbreaks of food-borne illness than the pasteurized stuff. Continue reading
David E. Gumpert’s latest post over on The Complete Patient blog brings to mind Bill Marler’s reference to him as “the pope of raw milk”. The way David spells it out, the heretic farmers of raw milk are like the Jan Hus of religious history, paving the way for a broader “reformation”, in this case of the food industry. Heady stuff, but what’s their alternative? To become enforcers of the decrees of those who would deprive human beings of the food they need in the name of corporate profit, or in short, to join themselves to the ranks of the praetorian class, as ipso facto defenders of the exploitive scams of the .01%?
Farmer Vernon Herschberger a modern day Jan Hus? . Photo via The Complete Patient blog.
“I obtained a text of Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger’s full statement to the judge in criminal court on Friday. It explains more clearly how he realized he erred by signing a bail agreement to discontinue supplying his food club, and where he is headed on his voyage, than the one quote I had in my comment following the previous post. Here it is:
Vernon HershbergerI cannot in good conscience tell the 100+ families who own the food and depend on it to feed their families, that they can no longer get food to feed their families. The Almighty God has spoken and I cannot do otherwise. God’s word in the Bible states in 1 John 3:16-18, quote, “Hereby perceive we the Love of God, because he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the Brethren. But whoso has this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the Love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in Word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth. Continue reading
This should be good. Let’s hope they publish the proceedings of this landmark debate in some readily accessible format.
“Attorney Fred Pritzker has been invited to participate in a raw milk debate sponsored by Harvard Law School’s Food Law Society. Fred and Dr. Heidi Kassenborg, Director of the Dairy & Food Inspection Division, Minnesota Department of Agriculture will be debating the dangers of raw milk consumption. Opposing them will be Sally Fallon Morell, President, Weston A. Price Foundation, and David Gumpert, Author, The Raw Milk Revolution, both leading raw milk proponents.
The debate is scheduled to be held on February 16 at Harvard Law School in the Langdell South classroom at 7:15 pm. The event is open to the public.” Continue reading
From David E. Gumpert on the Complete Patient blog:
“The fledgling Raw Milk Institute is in trouble.
The grandiose plan for a national organization that will at once establish raw milk production standards, educate farmers on improving their safety protocols, lobby for raw milk legislative expansion, and back research into raw milk’s benefits finds itself hobbled by internal dissension out of the gate.
I don’t think it’s overly dramatic to question whether the group can survive what has turned out to be a huge test of its purpose and objectivity. Continue reading
But he’s in good company. Raw milk journalist David Gumpert also made that list. From Dan Flynn, on Food Safety News:
Michael Schmidt is a Canadian raw-milk farmer who went on a five-week hunger strike, vowing to “go unto death” until Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty met briefly with him on Nov. 4 to discuss Canada’s ban on the sale of unpasteurized milk. Although a spokesman said McGinty has no plans to change Canada’s raw-milk policy, the premier suggested Schmidt lobby members of Parliament to see if there is support for overturning the ban. Continue reading
From Sarah Foster on News with Views:
Michael Schmidt, on October 11, 2011
“How much are you willing to pay for freedom? That’s the question raw-milk advocate Michael Schmidt may have asked himself a month ago. Whether he did or not, he’s apparently decided to bear the cost however high it turns out to be – which could mean his life.
Michael Schmidt is the dairyman in Ontario, Canada, who has been on a hunger strike in an attempt to focus public attention on the plight of raw milk producers, like him, and their would-be customers. He is 57, and for 17 years — nearly a third of his life — he’s been trying to find a solution to the legalization of raw milk. So far his struggle has cost him the loss of much of his farm acreage, which was sold to cover legal fees and fines incurred following a government raid in 1994. Continue reading