FREE Ontario FARMER Michael Schmidt - CHANGE CANADA's ARCHAIC RAW MILK LAW
This petition made change with 7,385 supporters!
"One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that 'an unjust law is no law at all'." (Martin Luther King - Letter from Birmingham Prison, Alabama)
Canada is completely out of step with the international community on regulating and selling raw milk. Farmer Michael Schmidt is now serving jail time after being persecuted and prosecuted by the Ontario government for selling a high-quality product that his consumers are demanding.
We need to change Canada's archaic law on raw milk and FREE MICHAEL SCHMIDT.
Although I have recently moved to Nova Scotia, as a former farmer, journalist and newspaper editor in southern, eastern and central Ontario, I wrote a story about the raw milk conference held at Guelph U. in 2014 for a magazine in rural Nova Scotia.
The outcome of that conference and discussion was that Canada's laws are archaic and outdated and that raw milk is regulated and supplied and sold in most countries in the world, including the U.S. where California residents can choose between a variety of raw milk brands at their local health food stores.
In Belguim you can buy raw milk through vending machines, as you can in Austria and most countries in the EU. Canada continues to sell sugary, cancer-causing pop in vending machines in places frequented by children, but refuses to have the raw milk conversation.
This is a growing issue as more and more consumers are concerned about their health and advocates have demonstrated through research that raw milk has many health-inducing effects, especially for those suffering from asthma. Quebec is now regulating and selling raw milk cheese and producers there are convinced they will soon be selling raw milk in bottles in their stores.
I'm now appalled and outraged by the ruling that has just sent farmer Michael Schmidt to serve 60 days in jail, and that the government of Ontario continues to harass and persecute individual farmers in this horrific way, spending enormous amounts of tax dollars through litigation, police and courts going after individuals who are just trying to survive.
Michael is an easy target who doesn't have corporate lawyers protecting him. This outcome is especially outrageous given the fact that not one executive or manager was ever charged or prosecuted at Maple Leaf Foods after their tainted meat killed 22 people and sickened many more in 2008. So what this outcome says very loud and clear is that this government is only interested in going after the individuals that they can make an example of.
The Dairy Farmers of Ontario are naturally concerned about legalizing raw milk if it would mean a hit to their bottom line, and so refused to attend that raw milk conference and refused to comment for the story I was writing although I contacted them several times. Their shrinking market has forced them to take a hard line against raw milk and it's a line that is neither deserved nor appropriate in 2017. All farmers need help and this strategy of pitting one group of farmers against another will ultimately help none of them.
The time has come for all of Canada to catch with the international community and re-examine the raw milk issue. It seems we can legalize and regulate alcohol, tobacco, marijauna and sliced meat - all known killers - but we can't find a way to regulate raw milk - a product admittedly consumed by every dairy farmer and their family in the country, and many other enlightened individuals, however, a product that continues to be illegal to sell.
Please do whatever you can to support Michael Schmidt, a farmer desperately trying to keep his livelihood alive. He carefully self-regulates his dairy and no one - not one person - that has been consuming his milk for the last 30 years has ever become ill.
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