A few years ago, in an attempt to avoid becoming involved in politics, I told a dairy owner how the battle regarding legal access to raw milk would really be won:
“When 80% of the population prefers raw milk over pasteurized, then legislative bodies must heed the voice of the people. I’ll contribute to the movement by educating people on the benefits of raw milk and the drawbacks of pasteurized.”
Grassroots movements are, to my mind, the only way to bring about lasting change. The law just tags along in the wake of social reform.
I see now how naive I was. I stand corrected.
I should have joined the Raw Milk Association of Colorado then.
I awake to find yet another story of more small dairies raided by local authorities because they dared to give customers what they want – raw milk. While complying with the local laws. Which were so broad in nature, they are open to interpretation.…
Our complex society contains an equally complex legal system. Given our desire for “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”, we’ve raced around for more than 200 hundred years, forming new laws whenever it seemed one of the Big Three were being threatened by individuals or groups.
In our quest to be safe, secure and free, with the legal backing to punish those who engage in activities harmful to others, we’re slowly wrapping our heads in a plastic bag.
Which, you’ll remember, your mother specifically told you not to do…
Katherine Mangu-Ward’s article, Why Buy the Cow? references three dairy farms who have been the target of bureaucratic raids this summer. All were going forth with their business, secure in their knowledge they were satisfying all laws and regulations, only to find out they weren’t. Supposedly because the laws where they live are not specifically, item-by-item clear. In other words:
“Ignorance of our Interpretation of the law is no excuse.”
As more folks learn the benefits of raw milk, customer base grows. Instead of proper legislation and regulation reform occurring to support local business, individual freedom of food choice and safety for the individual, we actually see more raids, more destruction or confiscation of private property and all other kinds of personal freedom violations.
Even when no one has gotten sick or filed a complaint. This tells me Bureaucratic backlash against Grassroots movements does occur. Around the raw milk industry it happens frequently.
So much for social change via legal, non-violent means. (First Amendment: Right to Petition)
Where do you draw the line between public safety and individual choice?
How do you fight to preserve your chosen way of life when you have followed the laws, harmed no one and still the local powers that be see you as a threat to society? (Grazin’ Acres Shutdown)
For those who cry for more Safe Food laws and regulations, I’ll remind you there are already remedies in place.
They are called Civil Litigation and Boycott.
If you purchase directly from a food supplier and end up ill, due to their carelessness (not your messy kitchen) then you sue for damages. If that financial blow isn’t enough to either get their attention and result in improvement or shut down, then a Boycott will put them out of business.
(I’m pretty certain there are no Federal Bailout funds for small, locally owned dairies. Warning! Boycotts wield the most power within a Free Market, which is quickly disappearing…)
For those who wish for more Food Safety I ask, “When are you going to take some personal responsibility, too?”
I’m convinced there are many benefits from raw milk, but I also took the time to tour the farm and know my supplier. I observed how their animals were cared for and what kind of living conditions they had.
After all this, had I become ill, I would have had a comin’ to Jesus meeting with my supplier. Asked them to pay the doctor bill, if applicable. Then made a choice of whether to continue doing business with them or not.
I can do all that by myself without wasting tax-paid services to go do my work for me…
Right now, I can still do that. You keep whining ‘keep me safe, keep me safe’ I’ll lose that choice….Please quit whining.
(Whining really grates on my nerves…)
If you’ve lost a loved one to food poisoning, then perhaps you’re thinking, “She just doesn’t get it. If she had lost someone, she’d be taking this seriously.”
Well, newsflash, I’ve lost a son. He was 17. Killed by bacterial meningitis. He saw a doctor on Friday and a doctor on Monday morning, with phone consultations on Saturday and Sunday. Monday morning he got some shots and was sent back home. Quit breathing about 2 hours later. Went into a coma. Spent a day on life support and was brought back from the pearly gates 3 times before I was told there was no hope.
I was assured no mal-practice took place, via a coroner’s investigation.
Who cares? I took him to folks with a license proclaiming they are legally permitted to ‘practice medicine’. I knew what I was getting into.
You don’t see me storming the nation’s capital shouting, “Hey! I’m tired of all this practicing. Can you please make it illegal for these folks to be in business unless they damn sure know what they’re doing? Can you please pass another law so people will quit dying?”
People get sick and people die. Yes, we would like to prevent it. Yes, we have an emotional investment. But please quit blindly calling for laws that cannot possibly prevent all death and illness, but will severely hamper our freedoms in their quest to attempt to.
Sheesh…how many times do I have to say it?
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Ben Franklin, Memoirs of the life and writings of Benjamin Franklin
Research Notes: I was aware of news stories of illness traced back to a goat milk-share farm in Colorado around late June, early July. I wanted to find an update on that investigation.
A google search of the keywords, “raw goat milk farm in Colorado, July shutdown” produced:
6,740 links in .26 seconds. The first 11 revealed three bloggers screaming about food safety, 6 watchdog groups relaying information about raids and seizures on personal food stores, and 2 organizations calling for action before our freedom to eat the way we choose is lost.
I like Google. It both tells me when my search skills need polishing and also gives me an idea of what the national climate around a subject is. It highlights who knows how to tag, keyword and Search Optimize and who doesn’t.
Those who fight for Freedom of Food Choice are not only good at footnoting their articles, but they also know how to properly SEO their stuff! Thus ending the allegation that those who prefer raw milk are “uneducated, illiterate country hicks.”