Change the law, make raw milk legal.
We, the citizens of British Columbia, hereby respectfully petition the British Columbia government to legalize raw milk herdshares in British Columbia. We respectfully request the Minister of Health, the Honorable Dr. Terry Lake, to repeal clause 2(a) from the Health Hazards Regulation. We respectfully request that the Government of British Columbia present a motion in the Legislature to amend the Milk Industry Act to exempt herdshares.
Raw milk is deemed to be a HEALTH HAZARD in British Columbia under the "Public Health Act, Health Hazards Regulation", punishable by a maximum $3M fine or 3 years in jail. B.C. is the only province or state in North America with this type of law. This antiquated law was brought in at the behest of commercial dairy farmers who wanted to "eliminate the competition," without any studies, consultation, or evidence to back it up. The excuse was "food safety," but no-one actually looked at food safety statistics and facts to see if it was necessary.
It is also illegal to sell or supply raw milk in British Columbia under the provincial "Milk Industry Act". Meanwhile, in neighboring Washington State, anyone can walk into one of over 100 grocery stores or to 43 licensed raw milk farms and purchase this safe and nutritious product.
FACT: Pasteurization does not guarantee safety. By the CDC's own statistics, there have been NO recorded deaths from fluid farm-fresh, unprocessed milk in North America in over 50 years. The two deaths often cited were from illegal queso fresco cheese. Meanwhile, there have been over 70 deaths from pasteurized milk.
We are adults who can make decisions for ourselves and our families regarding the foods we eat. We do not need the government telling us what we can and cannot eat, particularly when this government refuses to look at the evidence that raw milk can be produced safely by using raw milk best practices such as RAWMI training.
The government officials making these decisions have never visited a raw milk farm and have turned down invitations to see first-hand what they are making life-changing decisions about. Meanwhile we raw milk consumers know our farms and our farmers, and see first-hand how they lovingly care for our animals and practice strict sanitation to keep our milk pathogen-free. The government refuses to listen.
At NO time has the raw milk community ever been consulted by the government about these laws which so hugely affected us. Our community is still not being consulted or listened to. Our letters to government go unanswered, and politicians have refused to meet with us when members of our community have request meetings.
Please fight for the freedom of Canadians and sign this petition.
- Premier of British Columbia
- Minister of Health, Ministry of Health, Government of B.C.
The Hon. Dr. Terry Lake
- Minister of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of B.C.
The Hon. Norman Letnick
- Premier, Government of B.C.
The Hon. Christy Clark
I am writing to you to request that raw milk herdshares be legalized in British Columbia, as they are legal in many other jurisdictions including Colorado and California. I realize that raw milk sales are illegal under Federal law, but herdshares do not involve sales. People are not buying raw milk from a farmer who is selling it, they are buying livestock from which they obtain meat, milk, and other products. Herdshares are also operating legally in Ontario and across Canada, as they do not violate laws forbidding sales.
Livestock ownership in B.C. is the sole means to obtain a product which is available for sale in over 100 grocery stores and from 43 licensed farms in Washington State. It takes investment, commitment, and dedication to belong to a herdshare, and it is not easy to start one. Herdshares do not deserve to be further penalized.
Minister Lake, I respectfully request that you repeal clause 2(a) from the Health Hazards Regulation. B.C. is the only province or state where raw milk is a legal health hazard. This law was passed in 1988 without any consultation with the raw milk community, and no follow-up to assess its impact on us. It treats both farmers and consumers as criminals, liable for up to three million dollars in fines or three years imprisonment.
If your Ministry consults with our community, you will find that raw milk can be produced safely using raw milk best practices, and that there is a culture of safety in our community. Our farms are not large industrial dairies - they are small, artisan farms where small herds are pastured and taken care of. The "raw milk outbreaks" that you read about are caused by milk produced by methods intended for pasteurization, and this is very different from the product which our community produces.
Minister Letnick, we respectfully request that the Government of British Columbia presents a motion in the Legislature to amend the Milk Industry Act to exempt herdshares so they are not violating the law forbidding "supply." Herdshares are not part of an "industry." People are obtaining meat and dairy products from animals - mainly cows, goats, and sheep - which they themselves own.
Premier Clark, when you were a radio host on CKNW, you stated that you consumed raw milk yourself. So you personally know that this product is low risk and can be safely produced. We ask your government to please support these changes, to bring British Columbia into the modern age by legalizing farm-fresh, artisan-produced, unprocessed milk.
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