Tag Archives: raw milk

News from raw milk “obstruction” trial

On his Complete Patient blog, David E. Gumpert has published a comprehensive roundup of the state of the two pending legal cases regarding raw milk at Glencolton Farms:

“In one action, Schmidt and Elisa VanderHout face the threat of court proceedings from an injunction to “enforce” the ban on “distribution” of raw milk. Michael and his wife, Elisa, argue that the milk act does not apply to the shared ownership arrangement that governs the operations at Glencolton Farms.

The submissions for the injunction case are over. A ruling from the judge could come any day on whether or not he will grant the injunction from York Region and the Ontario  Ministry of Agriculture. If granted, the ruling will move  the prosecution into criminal proceedings (contempt of court) to any farmers, mothers, community leaders, etc. who participate in a milk drop or handle raw milk for human consumption. In the case of Glencolton Farms, the farm is a cooperative structure, which means that many members own the farm and benefit from everything that the farm produces. This case in Canada is an important one to watch as the ruling—either way–will significantly affect what foods Canadians have access to and how the regulatory agencies and courts will target individual farmers and producers.

In a second and more dramatic case, Schmidt continues his trial on the charges of obstruction of a peace officer . These charges, against Michael and originally four other men, stem from the raid on Glencolton Farms by Glenn Jarvie and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in October 2015. During the raid, the government confiscated computers and some documents before 80 farm owners, friends and neighbours showed up and blocked the driveway. Farm members stood in the cold driveway at the farm, blocking the government vehicles from leaving as long as the trucks had the farm owners’ property in them. Only five people were charged. Over the course of the hearings for the obstruction charges, all were dropped except the charges against Schmidt and two other defendants.

Schmidt provided a recent video update where he speaks about the bureaucratic mishaps that have him labeled as a Canadian “terrorist,” in the words of at least one law enforcement person involved in the court proceedings. The irony of this is that Michael is a firm advocate of peaceful resistance. The entire time Michael has stood up for his rights as a farmer and for the rights of consumers to procure the foods of their choice from the producer of their choice, he has done so with an emphasis on non-violence.

Just after he gave that update, Schmidt was back in court. During that court proceeding, after a particularly agitated exchange between the defendants and the judge, a spectator left the courtroom and said aloud that the court proceedings were not seeking the truth or justice. This led to the court police assaulting the man, giving him injuries that led to his being taken to the hospital where he was released after treatment later that day. Schmidt provided another video update about the incident….”

Read it all on “The Complete Patient” blog.

The obstruction trial is set to continue in Walkerton on July 28th, August 4th and August 25th of 2017.

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Raw milk injunction application hearing wrapped up late Monday June 5th

Our Farm Our Food member Lewis Taylor spoke on behalf of the coop during the court proceedings on Monday June 5th. Here he is being interviewed by Mike Walker of CTV Barrie over lunch.

What turned out to be a four-day hearing into the application for injunctions against continued operation of a milk plant at Glencolton Farms and distribution of raw milk in the Regions of York, Peel and Simcoe, wrapped up late Monday afternoon.

In the morning, Lewis Taylor presented to the court on behalf of intervener, Our Farm Our Food Coop. Much of the afternoon was devoted to a presentation by farmer and respondent Michael Schmidt. This was then followed by about an hour of rebuttal by lawyers for the Regions and the Crown.

The judge has made no promises as to when he will announce his verdict in the case. Respondents will be notified of his decision by email.

More than 100 people — mostly members of the OFOF coop or other farmshares — were crammed into courtroom 401, which is smaller than courtroom 108 where the case began last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. But in an effort to accommodate all the people who showed up, the judge allowed audience members to occupy the jury benches as well as the spectator gallery.

A television reporter and cameraman from CTV Barrie was present throughout the morning. The reporter, Mike Walker, interviewed both Michael Schmidt and Lewis Taylor for the evening news.

You can watch Mike Walker’s CTV report online at this link.

Farmer Michael Schmidt being interviewed by Mike Walker, for the Monday night television news, prior to his presentation in Newmarket court on Monday afternoon, June 5th.

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Another look at the laws about raw milk

Contrasting Ontario Laws and Acts about Raw Milk in Courts with other Major Jurisdictions (Part 2)

by Raoul Bedi, BASc

I – Introduction :

Last week we listed some of the major acts, laws and regulations being cited by Crown Lawyers in the latest manifestions, in the form of the 2 applications listed below, in the never-ending case(s) against Organic Raw Milk and its adherents, consumers, supporters, co-op members, farmers and producers in Ontario and Canada. For brevity’s sake we gave only the relevant sections from the Ontario Milk Act and Milk Regulations to begin with .

We then observed, in Newmarket Court, the Crown Lawyers for Gavin Downing, director for the Milk Act, and the York Region Municipality, systematically work through all of those major acts, one by one in great detail, stating first which sections were violated, what they say and mean, and then the evidence (from myriad affidavits, discovery and testimony) to support their claims of violation, and punishment(s) sought.

In addition to all the Acts and Regulations listed last week and again today, the Crown’s Legal team consisting of 4-5 lawyers, also cited 6-10 examples of Case Law which we will not list here. Of interest was the fact that they cited case law from England to justify the enforcement of certain bureaucratic regulations, and the need for concomitant restraining orders where they have been continually violated.

The SUPREME IRONY here is that they failed to cite the most important Laws and Statutes of all , from the United Kingdom , namely that Fresh, Organic Raw Milk from Grass-fed cows is 100% legal and freely available from Her Majesty the Queen’s homeland . Please see https://www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/farmingfood/dairy-guidance/rawmilkcream#toc-4

How can this be one might ask ? Continue reading

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The Last Spike in Raw Milk’s Coffin?

Glencolton farmer Elisa van der Hout leads a group of OFOF farm-share members on a tour of the farm’s dairy barn in April of 2017.

The injunctions being sought at Newmarket Court next Monday and Tuesday may well be the final nail in the coffin of raw milk, if Ontario milk director Gavin Downing and the Region of York have their way.

The proposed injunctions would shut down the “milk plant” at Glencolton Farms, located about two hours northwest of Toronto, in Grey County near the town of Durham, and would also prohibit the continued distribution of raw milk from the farm to people in York Region. The injunctions would prohibit even advocating the consumption of raw milk. Simcoe Region and Peel Region have subsequently joined the injunction application, so people in those jurisdictions would also be affected, as well.

This farm has, in the past, faced numerous raw-milk-related charges, most recently arising from a raid in 2006. However, in the past, charges have been on the level of regulatory offenses. If the injunctions being sought are granted by the court, any continuation of these activities could result in criminal charges, not only for the persons named — Michael Schmidt, Elisa Van der Hout, and Markus Schmidt — but also for any John or Jane Doe, and for the Christian Community church which has been a distribution site. Continue reading

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Canada – first to criminalize raw milk?

From David E. Gumpert, on the Complete Patient blog:

“After 23 years of unsuccessfully chasing down raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt via raids and court trials, the Ontario government seems finally to have settled on its version of the “nuclear” option: Its minions are seeking an injunction against the sale and purchase of raw milk, an action that could well have the effect of criminalizing all distribution and even consumption.

The injunction seems likely to be invoked by an Ontario judge next week after arguments next Monday and Tuesday, predicts Schmidt. The effects of the injunction will be immediately chilling, he explains, because implementation of the injunction will come with a proviso that Schmidt and the 150 members of his coop pay all legal and court costs associated with the government demand for the injunction, a cost that Schmidt has no illusions about: “I can guarantee you it is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.”…” Continue reading

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Ready for Raw Milk Roller Coaster? Newmarket Court Dates May 29, 30

The following is a roundup of news and views on the raw milk situation in Ontario heading into the May 29th and 30th court dates at which the injunction applications by the Ontario Milk Director and by the Region of York will be considered. If approved those injunctions would result in court orders shutting down the “milk plant” at Glencolton Farms, and distribution to Our Farm Our Food Coop members in York Region and elsewhere. The proposed injunctions would also criminalize the act of advocating the consumption of raw milk:

This video was recently posted by farmer Michael Schmidt:

From Liz Reitzig:

The Canadian Government is gearing up to criminalize raw milk consumption!

Show up to court on May 29-30 at 9:00am. This hearing is the most crucial one in the 23 years of the raw milk battle in Ontario. It goes to the core of food rights.

Actions:

  1. Show up in court on May 29-30, 2017 9:00am to send a clear message that Canadians care about food rights. (If you are unable to make it due to geography or logistics, please share this message far and wide) The courthouse is located at 50 Eagle Street Newmarket Ontario
  1. Donate to help cover ongoing court costs https://www.gofundme.com/foodrights

Background:

In October 2015, Glencolton Farm was raided for the third time. During this raid, several farm owners stood in defense of their right to farm and have access to their foods. Continue reading

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Raw Milk Injection Site? Why Not?

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