Why Is This Raw Milk Farmer In Jail?
By Heather Callaghan, Editor
I stand with Michael Schmidt. I love him, a mass food freedom community loves him and I’m pretty sure our hundreds of thousands of readers love him. If you’ve seen his face before it was probably alongside a wine glass filled to the brim with raw milk. That particular iconography might as well be the very symbol of food freedom itself.
Why are we free to buy alcohol but not the natural milk that flows from our own cows? Why do real criminals arguably walk the streets free, while peaceful dairy farmer Michael Schmidt must sit behind bars eating whatever Central North Correctional Centre serves him?
That’s what thousands and thousands of food freedom lovers across the world would like to know!
During an October 2nd raid in 2015, officials ambushed the Canadian farmer’s Glenncolton farm to collect evidence surrounding the distribution of raw milk. Within minutes, around 70 supporters showed up in peaceful solidarity with Schmidt. Five people were initially charged, but only Michael’s obstruction charge remained.
He is now serving around 15 more weekends at a notoriously harsh prison in order to fulfill the 60-day jail sentence he was ordered. He leaves Friday evenings for the center and exits it on Monday mornings.
As in the United States, Canadians often obtain raw milk by entering herdshare agreements where community members will purchase a portion of the cow and reimburse the farmer who boards and cares for their cow. The private club member will then pick up the milk from their cow. Food freedom activists have had to say hundreds of times – this is not a commercial or retail concept and it is not open to the public. Raw milk sales remain illegal in Canada.
Toronto Sun reported:
“This was the people’s property and people’s cows and milk,” [Schmidt] said.
“They keep picking on me and now they’re putting me in jail. These things are backfiring, politically. It’s another overreach of government instead of trying to sit down and say, ‘Let’s figure out what you’re doing is legal or not.’”
The Crown recommended a 30-day suspended sentence but the judge wanted 60 days in jail, a rarity in court decorum, [farmer Lewis “Skip”] Taylor said.
Schmidt and others are hoping to appeal the conviction and sentencing.
There is much more to this story, and a heck of a lot more to be said, but we wanted to get the word out as soon as possible so that Michael has a chance to be free and with his family again.
UPDATE: Schmidt is out on bail pending courtdate
In the meantime, those who wish to support Schmidt can sign this PETITION to FREE Michael Schmidt and change Canada’s archaic raw milk laws.
Join us in the Support Michael Schmidt Support group on Facebook!
We will update you on stories about Schmidt and any protests, but you should also check out The Bovine – the fastest news on raw milk freedom out there.
Our exclusive 2015 interview with Michael Schmidt:
DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.