What's new in the world of raw milk, these days? Lots.
FDA has just passed the law where it is now illegal to transport raw milk across state lines. In Wisconsin, Nevada, Louisiana, Iowa, and Montana, it is illegal for state residents to buy and/or sell raw milk, but there are thousands of people in each state that want it. So they traveled over to the next state to get it, where it is legal to buy and sell this contraband item, and then they smuggled it home. Now, with the new law in action, these ordinary people who just want good, clean milk, are violating the law as they continue to smuggle the embargoed raw milk into their state, and risk heavy penalties if they are caught.
Back in December, a woman living in Minnesota received a letter from the MDA (Minnesota department of Agriculture) stating that they had scheduled an administrative meeting concerning her actions in "assisting the sale of raw milk." What was this woman doing? She was buying raw milk, and local foods for her family, and sharing it freely with friends around her. But the MDA wanted to put a stop to it. Since then, the woman and her family have gone through many days in the courtroom, fighting their case, they have had police officers come to their home with criminal search warrants, and they are still fighting their way through everything. All because she had an affiliation with raw milk.
There are over nine million people in America who drink raw milk. FDA is cracking down on small farms that produce it, and people who buy it. The noose is tightening; slowly. So slow that we don't realize what's been taken from us until it's too late. Right now, selling raw milk in the state of Oregon is legal. But there are still laws that we have to put up with. If you are an unlicensed milk producer (which we are), then you can only sell your raw milk from the farm, you cannot deliver milk, you cannot advertise that you are selling raw milk, and you can have no more than 2 milking cows, nine dairy goats, and nine dairy sheep. As long as I stay within the limits, I can pass beneath the radar of the FDA, and my contraband milk can still be sold. But if I so much as dare try to milk ten dairy goats and sell the milk, then I risk having certain government officials coming to my door, and threatening me with various tactics. Don't believe me? It happens quite frequently across the nation.
As I delve deeper into the political world of food topics, I come to realize just how precious raw milk is becoming in this nation. The government is doing everything in it's power to make raw milk illegal to everyone. A couple states are viciously trying to make it illegal to own your own dairy animals. They are treading unmercifully upon our dwindling freedoms... What is it about this white liquid that causes such a war within the nation? I know the majority of the problem leads down to money. More and more Americans are choosing to buy raw milk directly from the farmer, which means less and less money going to the dairy CAFO's. We've scared the government, and they are retaliating.
Thankfully, things aren't quite so black as they first seem. There are a lot of activists out there who are making life difficult for the USDA and FDA. Because of their faithfulness to the cause, many states do still allow the buying and selling of raw milk -- for now.
The Bible verse about loving your enemies has really hit home this week, for me. I've been feeling like I've been hit over the head with a two by four as things sink in.
"Love your enemies; bless those who curse you, pray for those who hate you..."
You mean I have to love and pray for the USDA officials!? Double whammy!
I remember reading in Joel Salatin's book 'everything I want to do is illegal', at the very end, Joel simply says how the USDA truly believes that raw milk and homegrown chicken is hazardous. They believe it with every fiber of their being. To have such people who will so doggedly try to extinguish these things is truly amazing. They don't care if you hate them, they don't care what you try to do to them. They want you to stop producing "unclean" food. And they will do whatever it takes to stop you.
Joel's electrifying words that follow are : "God bless 'em".
I recently read through a thread online, concerning raw milk, and of course there was a USDA official on there. It was incredible reading through his comments on the matter. He sincerely, 100% believed that raw milk is poisoning people, and that is was the USDA's job to save the lives of American citizens and abolish the "horrible practice of drinking raw milk". I laughed when I first read it, because it was so unreal. All his "scientific facts" were so goofed up, that it became a little clearer as to why things are the way they are.
As for me, I'll continue to drink my milk raw, and I will continue to provide it for others no matter what.
I gave my goats and my cow each an extra bedtime hug tonight. They deserved it... :)