Dairy Farmers, Farm Owners Face Final Court Proceedings
Canadian farmers, farm owners and interested citizens plan to gather at the hearing
NEWMARKET, ONTARIO, CANADA, May 26, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ — An important hearing next Monday could decide the fate of raw milk in Ontario and the rest of Canada. The hearing will be at 9:00am at the Newmarket Courthouse, 50 Eagle Street, on Monday, May 29 and Tuesday May 30.
Raw milk consumers and advocates claim they prefer the taste, texture and nutritional value of farm fresh milk. Some seek it for therapeutic reasons or because of ethnic food traditions, while others prefer to choose food produced from small-scale dairy farms where farmers raise cows in the sunshine and on green pasture, rather than factory settings.
The injunctions sought by Ontario milk director Gavin Downing and York Region, could be the final straw for dairy farmers and farm owners who prefer raw milk to the conventional pasteurized versions. If the judge rules in favor of the Crown, anyone who engages in raw milk sharing or advocacy will face tougher criminal penalties.
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These injunctions would shut down the alleged “milk plant” at Glencolton Farms, cooperatively owned by 150 families, located about two hours northwest of Toronto, in Grey County near Durham. Further, if granted, the injunctions would prohibit the sharing of raw milk in York Region. The injunction also curtails free speech as it prohibits even advocating for the consumption of raw milk. Simcoe Region and Peel Region have joined the injunction application, affecting people in those jurisdictions as well.
“Farming is our livelihood. It is what we have done our entire lives and all that we know,” says Cathy Noble, a dairy farmer in Wellington County. “I don’t know what will happen to us if we are treated like criminals for providing food to our communities. I don’t know if we can survive that.”
Farmer Michael Schmidt–often seen as the face of Canadian raw milk advocacy–over the years has faced down numerous raw-milk-related charges. He recently appeared before the court for charges stemming from a 2015 raid on Glencolton Farms. If the injunctions are granted, any continuation of these activities could result in criminal charges, not only for Michael Schmidt, but also for any of the families who own the farm. Even the pastor of the church who allows people to meet in his parking lot for deliveries would be at risk of prosecution.
“I don’t like this coming from my Canada,” says Marta Bak. “This is a “Trump” moment for us Canadians. We are regressing. This is embarrassing that our government is treating honest farmers like criminals and pushing to make a wholesome, fresh food, into an illicit substance. Outrageous and unacceptable, Canada!”
Canada is the only G8 Country with a complete prohibition on raw milk. In the United States, 16 states have legalized raw milk since 1994, bringing the total number of States in which raw milk is legal in some form, to 42.
Members of the public are welcome to attend the court proceedings in Newmarket this coming Monday May 29th and Tuesday May 30th (both at 9 am) to witness the history of food rights unfolding in Ontario.
Our Farms, Our Foods Coop is a 200 member cooperative formed for the purpose of boarding personal cows with a responsible dairyman. The group is just one of the many interested stakeholders in changing Canadian policy on raw milk. For additional information on fresh milk www.realmilk.com For more on this case see The Bovine.
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Walking for Justice
Image: The Bovine
Our series on Michael Schmidt:
- Farmed And Dangerous – CFIA Destroys A Shepherd’s Life And Her Rare Sheep
- Worldwide Support Growing For Canadian Farmers Charged In Sheep Case
- Raw Milk Farmer Released After Overnight Jail Time For Removing Surveillance
- Canadians Just Prevented Full Dairy Raid On Michael SchmidtRaw Footage Of The Raw Dairy Raid On Michael Schmidt