Originally published January 30 2014
West Virginians work to end raw milk prohibition in nation's most restrictive state
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Clean, unprocessed and full of beneficial probiotics, raw milk is hard to come by in the state of West Virginia, where burdensome prohibition laws bar the living food from being sold, traded and even shared with friends and neighbors due to misconceived perceptions about its safety. But a coalition of freedom lovers is hoping to turn things around in the Mountain State, which is currently the most oppressive state in the nation as far as raw milk is concerned.
According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, which advocates for ending raw milk prohibition and restoring freedom of food choice for all Americans, West Virginia is currently the only state in the U.S. that has a law on the books specifically outlawing "herd sharing," an alternative to retail raw milk sales. Under a herd share setup, individuals are free to purchase shares of ownership in a cow or a goat, which allows them access to the milk of their own animals.
Every other state in the country either allows raw milk sales outright, either from the farm or from retail stores, or allows people to join private herd share programs. Only in West Virginia are residents prohibited from not only buying and selling raw milk but also from purchasing shares in milk-producing animals from local farmers, which severely limits access to raw milk.
"We are the only state in the nation that does not allow the sale of raw milk, herd shares or giving away raw milk at all," explains the group West Virginians for Raw Milk Rights (WVRMR), which is pushing for the passage of legislation that will end raw milk prohibition in the mostly rural state.
Raw milk ban making West Virginia poorer, depriving families of healing food Raw milk is currently sold in retail stores in 10 states, according to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), and straight from the farm in another 16 states. This means that more than half of America currently has legal access to raw milk if they know where to find it, as does the vast majority of Europe, where raw milk is literally sold on street corners from vending machines.
But in West Virginia, antiquated science coupled with an embarrassing level of ignorance at the bureaucratic level has created a climate of needless fear surrounding raw milk. The state's Department of Health and Human Resources' Public Health Sanitation Division Director, for instance, recently told WOWK-TV that he believes raw milk is inherently "unsafe."
It is the same old tripe peddled at the national level by the likes of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which continues to spread tired lies about the alleged risks of drinking raw milk, which are greatly overblown and, frankly, none of the government's business. If consenting individuals want to drink raw milk, whether for their own health or for other personal reasons, they have every right to do so.
"We should have the same rights and freedoms in West Virginia that our neighbors do," stated Lori Lee, a resident of Jackson County whose daughter has an allergy to pasteurized milk. But because of West Virginia's restrictive provisions against raw milk, Lee is unable to access the raw goat milk on which her daughter thrives.
"The government needs to trust us as parents to read the studies and extract our own opinions and beliefs."
There are currently two pieces of legislation, House Bill 4273 and HB 4274, for which WVRMR is rallying support in getting raw milk legalized in West Virginia. You can learn more about these two bills and how to help get them passed by visiting the group's site:
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