Raw Milk Crusader Michael Schmidt Ends Hunger Strike - Finally Meeting Ontario Premier McGuinty
Raw milk crusader Michael Schmidt ends hunger strike - Schmidt began his hunger strike in late September after he was found guilty on 15 of 19 charges related to the sale and distribution of raw milk. The Durham farmer, who has been fighting for years for the right to sell unpasteurized milk, had a meeting today with the premier's chief of staff when McGuinty decided to join in.
A spokeswoman for McGuinty says the meeting went well, and Schmidt was invited to speak to the Liberal caucus, but the government will not change its position to allow the sale of raw milk.
The Health Protection and Promotion Act makes it illegal to sell unpasteurized milk in Canada because it's considered a health hazard. It is, however, legal to drink raw milk. During Schmidt's case, food scientists and health experts testified that mandatory pasteurization laws are needed to protect public health. The province says it will continue to rely on the best advice of medical experts when it comes to selling raw milk.
Photo source: Michael Schmidt seen here speaking in B.C, Nov. 2, 2011 - courtesy of BCTV / The Canadian Press
"Which medical experts will they rely on? The leaders from all the other G8 Countries that allow raw milk,and understand how to produce safely? Or the outdated information available in Canada?
CDC's own website talks of many illnesses from raw milk over the years, and can only come up with one, 9 years ago, which according to those involved was not actually from consuming raw milk" - Alice Jongeren of Home on the Range Raw Milk Cow-op, Chilliwack, BC
lots more at The Bovine: http://thebovine.wordpress.com/
And a word from Michael on today’s events
Greetings from farmer Michael Schmidt:
May I also add my voice of thanks to all of you who have sincerely rallied around the cause. It is not crucial what comes out of the press office from McGuinty what matters at the moment. This moment of meeting McGuinty was crucial and more significant than he himself in fact imagines.
There was mutual respect, there was also the admission that he is no expert and has to rely on experts to make decisions. That itself has given us the opportunity to question the choice of experts and that it should be expanded to include those who have in fact experience how to produce raw milk for human consumption. We will review our next steps. It was small step towards proper food rights and freedom of choice. It was a huge step for McGuinty to in fact listen and show compassion. Now it is on us to act with wisdom and vision how to move forward. The moral ground is cultivated; let’s plant the seeds for a better more responsible and caring food culture, agriculture, and culture of dialogue. Please all of you remember the credit has to go to McGuinty he is the one who stepped down from his throne to meet on a very personal level. I always believed that he would, he has to be responsible but he is caring, that’s how I remember him before he became premier. Deep gratitude for all your caring and understanding.
Update ~ Micael Schmidt's sentence: He's fined $9,150 - placed on one year probabtion providing raw milk through a cow-share business with consentiing adults.The production and distribution of unpasteurized milk under the Ontario province’s Health Protection and Promotion Act will not make allowences for the cow-share business model. First he was virtally acquitted and seen as having a legal right to provide cowshare owners with raw milk from their communally owned cows - drinking the dividends of one's investment - as a convoluted way in side-stepping the obnoxious and farreaching powers of the dairy industry that cares so much that we, the public, do not drink "unhealthy" milk and thus was protecting us, with the help of the government, of course... and then Michael Schmidt was found guilty on appeal last September on 15 of 19 charges as the lower court’s decision to acquit was shockingly reversed.
Michael has been courageously fighting for the fundamental right to provide raw milk to consumers in the form of cow-ops and other free choice stratagiesthat has enraged the dairy industry monopolists causing his farm to be raided by government officials.
Michael recently ended a 37 day hunger strike when an overwhelming outpouring of public support persuaded Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to meet with him and discuss furthering the issue of free food choices in Canada.
Read the whole story by Linda Nguyen at http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/milk%20farmer%20fined%20placed%20probation/5767742/story.html?mid=539