milk

Canadian farmer on hunger strike to protest government raid; freedom of choice violation

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 by: Ben Kage
Tags: raw milk, Canada, government raids

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
The five biggest lies about Ebola being pushed by government and mass media
White House admits staging fake vaccination operation to gather DNA from the public
Why does the CDC own a patent on Ebola 'invention?'
Ultraviolet light robot kills Ebola in two minutes; why doesn't every hospital have one of these?
EXCLUSIVE: Natural News tests flu vaccine for heavy metals, finds 25,000 times higher mercury level than EPA limit for water
Irrefutable proof we are all being sprayed with poison: 571 tons of toxic lead 'chemtrailed' into America's skies every year
Truvia sweetener a powerful pesticide; scientists shocked as fruit flies die in less than a week from eating GMO-derived erythritol
Russia taking McDonald's to court, threatens countrywide shutdown
Oregon man serving prison sentence for collecting rainwater on his own property
The best way to help your body protect itself against Ebola (or any virus or bacteria)
Senator who attacked Doctor Oz over dietary supplements received over $146,000 in campaign contributions from Big Pharma mega-retailer and Monsanto
Global warming data FAKED by government to fit climate change fictions
Healthy 12-year-old girl dies shortly after receiving HPV vaccine
Ebola outbreak may already be uncontrollable; Monsanto invests in Ebola treatment drug company as pandemic spreads
HOAX confirmed: Michelle Obama 'GMOs for children' campaign a parody of modern agricultural politics
Ben & Jerry's switches to non-GMO, Fair Trade ice cream ingredients
W.H.O. contradicts CDC, admits Ebola can spread via coughing, sneezing and by touching contaminated surfaces
Elliot Rodger, like nearly all young killers, was taking psychiatric drugs (Xanax)
Delicious
(NaturalNews) For the second time in 12 years, a Toronto, Ontario farm supplying raw milk was raided on Nov. 21 by officers with the Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources, the West Grey Police Department, public health inspectors and officials from the Canadian Ministry of Finance, spurring the farmer to begin a hunger strike in response.

Michael Schmidt, owner and operator of Glencolton Farms near Durham, Ontario, was first convicted of marketing raw milk in 1994. The authorities fined him $3,500 and placed him on two years probation, but Schmidt refused to halt marketing the product. Instead, he circumvented the law by starting a shareholder-style system that allowed his customers to co-own the cows producing the milk. There is a one-time startup fee, then Schmidt charges an annual fee for feeding, milking and caring for the animals. The arrangement has proved so popular, Schmidt said, that he has a three-year waiting list of people wanting to participate.

For the past 12 years Schmidt has continued to supply raw milk products under his arrangement in the face of his conviction. He even sent a letter to the ministry of food and the ministry of health stating his intention to continue selling raw milk, and offering to help regulate raw milk in Ontario. He also threatened to go on hunger strike if such a raid happened again, and local newspapers covered his defiance. With such openness about his operation, Schmidt said the raid did not surprise him, but said it did surprise him that the authorities took so long.

"I was waiting for this for 12 years. I knew it could happen at any time," said Schmidt in an interview with the Owen Sound Sun Times.

On the morning of Nov. 21, Schmidt was leaving his farm to make a weekly drop-off to regular customers with in a bus filled with raw milk products, baked goods, produce and other farm products when government vehicles and officers suddenly swarmed him. They served him with a search warrant and officers in forensic coveralls began to confiscate items from Schmidt's farmhouse, office and the retail store on his property. Investigators told him that they were exploring the question of raw milk as a public health issue and his operation was just one part of the inquiry.

Throughout the day, a police car blocked the entrance to Glencolton Farms and an armed MNR officer made sure no one left the farmhouse unaccompanied. Government vehicles were filled with about $10,000 of equipment used to make cheese, butter and cultured milk; computer hard drives; and around $3,000 worth of dairy products from the retail store. The agency in charge of buying and selling milk from producers, the Ontario milk marketing board, expelled Schmidt after his 1994 conviction, so he was ultimately charged with operating a milk-processing plant without a license after the Nov. 21 raid.

Two days after the raid, Schmidt made good on his promise and announced his hunger strike during a rally at his farm. He vowed to live on one glass of milk a day until the MNR returns all of the items they seized in the raid, the province compensates his operation and the 150 members of his shareholding operation for losses, and the province guarantees they will never interfere with his farm again.

In response, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Member of Provincial Parliament Bill Murdoch proposed a private member's resolution to be held Thursday, calling for an all-party task force to examine the issues surrounding legal raw milk distribution. He also criticized the use of MNR officers in the raid, noting that they were needed elsewhere. Both Schmidt and Murdoch have said it is hypocritical to allow the sale of cigarettes and alcohol, yet prohibit consumers from choosing raw milk. Schmidt's shareholders are also moving to help him in his fight, and have formed an organization to support consumers' rights to drink raw milk and distribute information about raw milk products. Schmidt said the organization might even file a suit against the government for preventing them from having a choice between raw and pasteurized milk.

Licensed and labeled raw milk is commercially available in 28 U.S. states and in most of Europe, but under the 1938 Canadian Health Protection and Promotion Act, the sale or giving away of raw, unpasteurized milk is prohibited. Ontario has its own Milk Act with similar restrictions. According to health officials, the heating-and-cooling process known as pasteurization is vital for eliminating disease-causing bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella.

"If (raw milk) is not properly handled, it becomes very hazardous, especially for children," said Dr. Hazel Lynn, the medical officer of health at the Grey Bruce Public Health Unit in Ontario.

Authorities have not released the details of the case, but Lynn said the investigation of Glencolton Farms began with reports of illness in two children, which she suspected were caused by raw milk from Schmidt's farm, although she noted that no definitive link had been traced there. Schmidt said he had received no complaints of illness from any of his customers and thinks the illnesses really came from infected meat.

Bill Green, one of Schmidt's customers, said that he needed to drink raw milk to settle his ulcers, and that he couldn't keep pasteurized milk down. Schmidt has said in his view it is not a question of whether farm fresh milk is better than pasteurized, but of giving consumers a choice.

The Ontario farmer's run-ins with Canadian authorities did not end with the raid. A week later, Schmidt was selling organic food from his bus in a parking lot north of Toronto when police and public health authorities suddenly surrounded him. As the officers did not have a warrant, Schmidt refused to allow them to board the bus, and they finally left after an hour-long standoff.

Schmidt's hunger strike continues with no end in sight, as Premier Dalton McGuinty has said the raw milk ban was a serious matter of public health that he is not interested in reexamining.

###

Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.