Musings and News from Our Sustainable Livestock Farm
Volume I. Issue 6
Hello fellow freedom loving Americans,
It’s been a while since you last received a Pasture Bites newsletter, but like the Gulf oil spill we’re still here and will be for quite a while! Normally May and June are most farms’ busiest period for production related activities and that qualifies for us too, with hay making and managing the pastures with the cattle. In addition, we have been task-saturated with responsibilities involving the continuation of startup activities of both the REAL milk herd-share dairy and pasture-raised poultry.
Dairy cows making milk on pasture with beef in the background.
Even though the plate is spilling over with farm related activities this time of year, I feel it is important to provide you an update and also provide some remarks about some information I took home from the International Raw Milk Symposium which I attended in April.
Yes, we still have herd-shares available for your raw milk needs. Please see our website http://pasturesdelights.com for more information and contacting us.
As I venture on in the REAL milk enterprise I am learning a whole new level of respect for tried-and-true dairy farmers. The hours they put in, dealing with the continuous curve balls thrown by Mother Nature in trying to farm, managing all business aspects including HR, marketing and finances, all the intricacies that go into having healthy livestock and producing quality, safe food is daunting to say the least. If a farmer is to be successful he or she has to learn in a hurry how to handle poor weather circumstances, equipment breakdowns, and financial challenges, things I am sure many of you can relate to also. As you may know or can imagine, this is more than enough to fill one’s plate. Yours truly readily accepts these challenges without pause, but what causes me consternation is the added burden in dealing with the politics of our own government infringing on “Proud-to-be-Americans’” freedom to obtain and consume foods of their choosing to nourish their own bodies.
Food Politics and Raw Milk
On April 10 I attended the International Raw Milk Symposium in Madison, Wisconsin. Coincidentally this event came on the heels of a campylobacter outbreak getting over 40 people sick allegedly due to raw milk from a northern Indiana dairy farm. It is a terrible thing that these people did get sick from campylobacter, no matter where it came from. Subsequent testing of milk samples tested negative for campylobacter from the farm. So who knows what really happened. All I do know is that the media coverage of the incident was quite effective in scaring people who were considering raw milk away from it, and in intimidating people who make it available to consumers. It is no secret to those in our government who monitor the raw milk industry; any new raw milk business is almost non-existent around here. The FDA got an “A” for results scored due to their unscrupulous media campaign disparaging against raw milk.
During incidents involving raw milk, media editorials hardly ever report resources as to what may have gone wrong, make no remarks on how to improve raw milk safety, and just simply advocate pasteurization of milk to be “safe”. This would be akin to plane crash investigators not looking into what went wrong and simply saying, “Flying is dangerous, better take a car”. Of course this is nonsense, but is exactly the reality of what raw milk advocates have to deal with.
I personally am not obstinate in believing that raw milk cannot and does not get people sick. Trust me, we take the consequences, both good and bad, of the milk we produce very seriously, and manage all aspects of production to minimize potential risks to the best of our practical ability. It is however my judgment, through both first-hand personal experience with dairy farming and human health, and connecting the many political dots (corruption) with respect to our food, that the picture before us is not a raw-milk “health” issue, but rather a disgusting, insidious un-American conquest of the liberties endowed upon us by our Creator.
Elsewhere the campaign against raw milk is reaching new lows to include illegal search and seizure, harassment and FBI raids on raw milk activities – this at time when there are more important issues for our government to be focusing on, say, illegal immigration?
We too must remember it is not our whole government that wishes to put the kibosh on raw milk consumption but rather, certain, albeit powerfully connected, individuals hiding under the veil of our government who are utilizing our resources and agencies to achieve their devious agenda. There are still many people who work in our state and federal governments who at a minimum believe in Americans should have the freedom to choose what they eat. Even many people at the FDA stand with us on this vital American principle. It is my hope that these many freedom-loving people who serve our great country have the ability to recognize and patriotic courage to stand up and root out the few unprincipled individuals attempting to force us down a dreadful path that will ultimately bring this great experiment to a horrifying end.
Just as certain people have an agenda to stamp out the REAL milk industry, raw milk producers have an agenda to keep it going. Hey, I call a spade a spade, whether it benefits me or not. Not only is this about “health”, the “war” being fought in the media and on the internet is also about the money trail for the established dairy industry, FDA interests, and even small-scale raw milk producers like Pasture’s Delights. In this war I have observed that it is mostly the anti-raw milk groups that are using sleazy tactics in an attempt to achieve their un-American agenda. Read on to get a little taste of their tactics. The beautiful thing that makes this country so great is this: if we adhere to the wisdom and ideals of this country’s Founding Fathers, in a truly free, capitalistic, and just society where responsible Americans have the ability to make real choices, the same spotlight will cause corruption to shrivel up and the truth to flourish.
1940’s Outbreak in “Crossroads, USA”: The Lie that Started It All
Raw Milk wasn’t always viewed as “inherently dangerous”, and in fact was recommended to people and used for different cures at the renowned Mayo Clinic. A 1926 study in Boston recommended “larger use” of raw milk for babies. Research in 1928 found “less favorable calcium balances” among people drinking pasteurized milk vs. raw milk. Such research continued into the early 1940’s with researchers predicting new developments would further bolster the case for raw milk. But the trail stopped there.
It stopped largely because of a 1945 article in Coronet magazine reporting that raw milk had led to dozens of deaths from undulant fever in the town of Crossroads, USA. The article was revised for Readers Digest the following year, to “sell” the public on pasteurization. Both the disease outbreak and the town itself were fictional. The whole campaign started with a lie and it’s been generally nothing but lies since. This is not about Raw Milk. It is about controlling the food supply. There is more potential to make money from transporting, processing, manipulating the market, and redistributing the milk back to people than if consumers were to obtain their milk directly from a farmer.
Spreading fear about raw milk is the successful strategy being employed by the FDA to slow and eventually stop the spread of raw milk consumption. Those who seek to ban raw milk deliberately do everything to distort actual issues considering raw milk and to use the media to report their claims.
One has a greater chance of injury driving to pick up raw milk than from drinking raw milk itself. Let’s look at relatively risky behavior…. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), since 2000, 76 million people became ill with a food borne illness, 241 attributed to raw milk. From 1998-2008, for raw milk there were 1,614 reported illnesses, 187 hospitalizations, 2 deaths. 1 out of 20,000 who consumes raw milk may get sick. Unpasteurized milk is not even on the FDA’s top 10 list of most risky foods, yet why all the disproportionate attention on raw milk?
During recent widespread illness in an area where raw milk was suspected to be a culprit, afflicted individuals admitted to the hospitals were questioned as to whether they drank raw milk. Medical personnel tested only those who had consumed raw milk. All others were given Cipro and sent home without further investigation. By omitting cases of illness by those who had not consumed raw milk, officials inappropriately created a statistical association of illness with raw milk.
Blocked Scientific Study, Twisted Stats, and Propaganda
The role of science, or rather the lack of it, is often used to make another point in the propaganda campaign against raw milk. The anti-raw milk people make statements to the effect that “there is little science that supports claims of raw milk benefits”. That line is so full of holes where does one start? First there IS scientific literature that cites benefits of raw milk, it’s just that it is not American science. In a study at the Basel University of over 14,000 children, 30% of those who consumed raw milk had less asthma and 40% had less hay fever because of raw milk. With respect to conducting and using sound American research to settle our differences of opinion, there are two major conundrums (hurdles), which, together, practically make it impossible to conduct the research needed to establish its reputation for safety.
• Funding: First, who is going to pay for the research? Universities are not going to do research on raw milk because their money comes from Monsanto and the “Got Milk” pasteurized milk industry. Even if raw milk farmers did have the resources to fund the research themselves, university researchers have said “for the right amount of money, we can prove/disprove anything with our research”. Therefore recognizing the disproportionate amount of money certain interests have to keep the lid on raw milk, getting honest raw milk science in the United States could be difficult.
• Review requirements: The other conundrum is that all studies involving people must pass muster with a “human use board”– a committee of people that determines what research studies are ethical to conduct using people. Since raw milk is deemed a “hazardous” substance, that presents a dead end to conducting research on people to confirm or refute claims of actual human benefits derived from raw milk.
Meanwhile the testimonials from people proclaiming benefits of raw milk are met with skepticism from our agency regulator “protectors” and a “roll of the eyes” from university personnel because it is merely anecdotal. Why can we not use anecdotal evidence, especially given the limitations on ever receiving any “official” evidence? Or is it that we must conduct a double-blind placebo study on everything, including that children are normally walking by age 1, something which we have known, by observation, for years?
The FDA statistics understate how many people in this country consume raw milk and this further bolsters their manipulative, influential propaganda. They do not count conventional farmers who drink milk from their own bulk tank and the many people who own their own family cows.
The FDA says also there is no difference in nutritional value between raw milk and processed milk. They are careful in how they choose their words, as they are technically correct in that there is no difference in quantitative value, but they do fail to mention the difference in nutritional effects – or the real value of raw milk. Vitamins and minerals in raw milk are generally much more bio-available and able to be used by a person’s body, whereas vitamins and minerals in pasteurized milk are inert and much less available to the body.
Lastly, with what little real science there is available on raw milk, those who wish to ban raw milk cherry-pick what they use. Dr. Ted Beals, a M.D., Pathologist and Retired National Director of Pathology & Laboratory Services, Dept. of Veterans Affairs and researcher and faculty member of the University of Michigan, said that he does not dispute the science in most cases but rather the interpretation. “For example, just because someone with the last name of ‘Axe’ is a serial killer does not make all ‘Axes’ serial killers. The same goes for bacteria. Just because a milk sample tests positive for listeria does not mean it is infectious. Only certain sub-types of a bacteria are really harmful. Bacteria are everywhere. The world we have to enjoy is absolutely dependent on bacteria. Bad bacteria are incredibly rare. If raw milk had been hazardous to individuals in communities that consume it, then drinking raw milk would have disappeared centuries ago!” said Dr. Beals.
Not All Raw Milk is Equal: Which Type is Safe?
Government health officials cite there is no evidence whatsoever to support that raw milk cures any illnesses. Then given the obvious awareness of many Americans who do believe that raw milk is beneficial and can cure illness, why isn’t the government conducting tests on raw milk? And not just any raw milk, I mean milk produced by a conscientious farmer, which comes from very healthy cows living on food grown on healthy soil.
There are two types of raw milk:
• Industrial grade: This type, largely produced by industrial dairy farms, is destined for pasteurization. Between 10%-30% of the bulk tank samples tested are contaminated with campylobacter, salmonella, E. Coli 0151:H7, or listeria.
• Consumption grade: This type of milk is produced with heightened standards of hygiene and is higher quality milk from healthy cows. It is rarely ever contaminated with pathogens and is safe for direct human consumption. With pasteurization there is relatively little responsibility for the milk, as compared to the responsibility required to provide milk in the raw form that is safe for human consumption.
It’s not random that quality raw milk can be safe. European studies indicate virtually no milk contamination at grass-fed dairies where raw milk is intended for direct human consumption. 65,000 people a week in California consume raw milk. Claravale Dairy of California has operated 83 years without there ever being a pathogen discovered in their raw milk. People have drunk milk from their mothers and from different species around the world for thousands of years. When it is done right there have been few problems.
Not just any dairy farmer can produce raw milk for the public. There has to be more focus on cow nutrition for health vs. production, and higher standards for the cow’s environment and for equipment cleanliness. There is liability. A farmer doesn’t want to risk losing their farm, their customers or their reputation. With raw milk there is an inherent responsibility factor brought back to the farmer.
Is Pasteurization Really the Cure?
The FDA proclaims that pasteurization is THE answer that has made milk safe for people to consume. Not so fast….Looking at the statistics for milk illness one can observe a steady decline in milk illness from 1910 – 1950. The main reason for this decline in milk illnesses is due to cows escaping their original plight of being kept in unsanitary inner city confinement dairies, where they ate junk food such as distillers’ grain, and being moved to rural pasture fields along with the advent of refrigeration and better sanitation standards. The FDA’s assertion that pasteurization is what “cured” milk of its problems years ago is mostly bogus. There was very little change in the illness rate pre and post arrival of widespread pasteurization around 1947.
It is interesting that raw milk is tagged as being “inherently dangerous”, and pasteurized milk is touted as virtually guaranteed as safe to drink. Since the media does a poor job of reporting the “whole story” here’s a reminder of some recent outbreaks from pasteurized milk. In 2007 three people died from drinking pasteurized milk in Massachusetts. In 2000, 93 cases of Salmonella were linked to pasteurized milk in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A 2005 campylobacter jejuni outbreak in Colorado resulted in 200 cases of illness. In 2006 pasteurized milk was linked to gastrointestinal illness in 1,314 people in California.
What if the FAA was in charge of food safety?
California raw milk dairy farmer and founder of Organic Pastures Mark McAfee had this to say:
If the FAA was in charge of the American food chain…nearly all food would be grounded. It would be September 11th 2001 for fake food in America. There are the equivalent of at least seven Boeing 747 aircraft crashing everyday from the depressed immune systems and diseases being brought on by the highly processed, GMO created, cloned, antibiotic abused, preservative filled, artificially colored, fake sugar, fake fat, grain fed, pasteurized, dead, sterilized, homogenized, standardized, stabilized, oxidized, irradiated things that are sold as food in most Americas stores. To read more of his enlightening keynote speech visit the link here:
The FDA vs. Our Way of Life: “Americans do not have a fundamental right to obtain food of their own choosing”
Most of you, I am sure, are no longer blind to the corruption rampant in our government’s politics including the politics of food. In fact you are probably aware that in May the FDA officially stated in black and white, in response to a lawsuit regarding raw milk freedom, that Americans “do not have a fundamental right to obtain and consume food of their own choosing?” Excuse me? What country do we live in? I cannot believe an agency of our government– a government “of the people, by the people and for the people”– is telling you and me what we can and cannot eat, while our armed forces are on foreign soils “defending our freedoms”. Last I heard there were no foreigners infringing on our freedoms as to what we Americans can and cannot eat. Seems to me that some people who work for us in our government have forgotten the ideals of what it means to be “Proud to be American”. The FDA has shown that they truly think we cannot decide what to eat or drink without their permission. It’s amazing. One would think that we could not have possibly lived prior to the formation of the FDA just over one hundred years ago. It is absurd that people cannot be allowed to make choices about their food and health!
It is interesting to observe too many people proclaim to be “proud to be American”, but fail in their responsibility to uphold the very principles of freedom and free markets that made this country so great. It is a wonderful thing we still have the freedom to choose the color of the car we drive and how big or small a house we live in. I personally walk the talk with respect to our American ideals, even when it inconveniences me or I have no interest in the matter. Although I think smoking cigarettes is bad, I do not oppose a person’s right to smoke them. Similarly, I am not opposed to a person having the freedom to drink pasteurized milk. If they want to drink something that is dead and causes issues such allergies, heart disease, and osteoporosis, then they should have that right, and responsibility.
Food safety legislation sold to people under the guise of “protecting public health” will continue the erosion of personal freedom and responsibility. Dietary information will be restricted as only a certified dietician will be able to give dietary advice. That on the surface may seem “well meaning”, but the insidious corruption in the details is the fact that registered dieticians are not allowed to give certain advice, such as what could be labeled as “alternative”, and definitely cannot say things like “do not drink soda pop”, or “try raw milk”– statements deemed inflammatory to corporate interests with strong financial ties to organizations such as the American Dietetic Association. The sponsors of this legislation just so happen to be Coke, Pepsi, and several drug companies. This protectionist legislation intended to protect health dilutes our freedoms, interferes with the free market, and is hardly anything we Americans should be proud of.
Most European governments do not have a political agenda with respect to food, as we do here in the United States. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has demonstrated his lack of support for raw milk freedoms, grew up on raw milk in his native country of Austria. Most Europeans still have uninhibited access to raw milk. In fact, just as Americans dispense high-fructose sodas out of vending machines, Europeans can get raw milk out of vending machines! Austria has vending machines. Switzerland has them. France and Slovenia have them. Italy alone has over 1,300 raw milk vending machines! Citizens of Europe would not accept the situation we have here in the United States with our food being politically controlled.
Raw milk producer Michael Schmidt of Canada was born in Germany and earned a Masters degree in Agriculture. He moved to Canada in 1983 where he has been leading the crusade for raw milk freedom for the past 16 years. This modern day Thomas Jefferson describes what this whole raw milk controversy is about:
Let’s open by acknowledging some sobering developments in agriculture and the food industry. I say “food industry” because those words describe quite well the nature of our current struggle.
Food is looked upon as a commodity by regulators and industry. Those who control food (Monsanto) control the people, control countries, control the world – all without the huge expense of a paid army. Food is the most important element in determining whether you enjoy health or suffer from disease. Food affects your spiritual well-being. Food influences your mental ability and can even make you crazy. Food can turn you into a liability for society. Food can turn you into a non-thinking member of society. Food can turn you into the perfect slave in a society where free-thinkers and moral consciousness could be inherently dangerous for those run this country and world.
We are at war and to those who don’t get that – we are at war over food rights. To some this may seem like a silly thing but to others there is a growing concern.
We have a new form of dictatorship. A dictatorship established with our consent. A dictatorship of regulations and laws intended to limit our individual liberties.
To be silent means consenting. To be silent means accepting the consequences of our consent. To be silent makes a mockery of those who fought on our behalf for freedom and justice. And to remain silent cannot be an option for you, for me, and for all of us.
We need to look at the historical significance of our struggle. Making comparisons between our struggle and those of the past such as the civil rights movement draws criticism from some. However going back through history today’s government and players behind the scenes have learned in fact much better than us how to use their power, and how to create the illusion of democracy. They clearly understand how to paralyze our will, our will to resist. They do understand how to create fear in our hearts. They do know that we do not present at the current time a real danger.
We need to ask ourselves why this is true. Most of us have been around during the evolution of materialism. Let’s be honest, everything comes down to money, assets, and personal security. We have developed a fake sense of comfort which offsets often the courage to question human rights abuses or the courage to question the steady increase of infringement on individual liberties. We really need to ask “does our comfort and material security weaken our willingness to maintain and protect individual liberties for the sake of all?”
Does our current state of mind prevent us from seeing that in fact in the near future we are facing an even greater danger than all the other past struggles for freedom and justice?
Many have no ability to resist out of fear of the current bureaucratic and soulless control structure. Many have less ability to think and be critical because of the lifeless food we eat. Many have no chance to be healthy because of our weakened bodies. We are in fact for the government an unlimited natural resource if you are sick because Big Brother can milk us to death.
This opens the door to a very scary scenario where soon the majority of people in any given society will be easier to be managed. That’s why those who are in power have learned much better how to control us than we have learned. “Give them bread and games” was the successful motto of the Roman Empire, which after all imploded as history taught us. Today we have all the food we can think of. We have all the entertainment we can imagine and most people are content as long as they are financially secure and physically safe.
I can tell you it is much easier to fight when you have nothing to lose. It is easier to fight when you are hungry and it is easier to fight when all you want is dignity and respect.
We have consented in silence to a food culture which will destroy years of evolution. We have consented to a society of government dependency beyond imagination.
Need I remind you, we are the ones that gave up our rights. We just need to get them back. We have consented to the loss of liberty for the sake of convenience (i.e. FDA “food safety” protection). Laws are passed with our knowledge that should raise millions of voices in protest. Laws have been debated and passed which only grant us certain freedoms instead of protecting our freedoms. Laws have been passed ignoring and ridiculing the Constitution and most of the people are consenting in silence. Our land, our food and lives are the most powerful tools we have to shape the future of our country.
Dear friends, what we are facing will not be less important than the human rights movement. What we are facing will not be less important than the Civil War and the battle to end slavery.
Be it Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and be it thousands of unnamed heroes of the past, let’s be inspired by them. Let’s have the same resolve and courage. Let’s look at the future as a responsibility we have chosen freely. Let’s be prepared to suffer. Let’s be prepared to die. Unless we are truly willing to take a stand for our children, our grandchildren, and all the generations to come we will make a mockery of those who had a dream of a just and caring society.
We are in the forefront not by default. We are in the forefront to defend the most important element of our society – the health and sanity of our body, our soul and our society. – Michael Schmidt, address delivered in Madison, Wisconsin, April 10, 2010.
In January 2010 the United States Supreme Court granted complete personhood rights to corporations. Corporations used to be limited in the amount of money they could donate to political election campaigns. Being given personhood a corporation can now donate as much as it wishes, so in effect what used to be elections are now political auctions. Corporate campaign funds can buy media to brainwash and spread fear and smear potentially good candidates. How can we effectively fight that?
Food and pharmacy are the largest industries in the world. Nowhere in the world are corporations as powerful and influential as they are here in the United States. Working hand in hand – bad food… sick people, trips to the drug store, socialist programs to pay for the drugs ….control. You get the picture.
We need to stop this ugly scenario from playing out any further. But like I mentioned at the beginning of this newsletter, my plate is already spilling over with activities related to producing healthy food for you and me. The food rights war affects all of us and we need to all work together in addressing it prudently. Consumers cannot simply enjoy the “high life” at home consuming nutritious raw milk and other healthy foods and do nothing to ensure the future availability of those products. Understandably many parents are very busy taking the kids to soccer games, dance recitals and other types of extra-curricular activities important to children’s development. Please remember though, one of the most loving things you can do for your child is demonstrate your patriotism by helping protect their freedoms, especially the freedom of food choice. An appropriate amount of resources should be allocated to doing just that. Commit time. Discuss this with your family. Spread the word and forward this newsletter. Communicate with our government and agency officials. Write your local paper. Commit funds to defending our liberty. Contribute your talents and skills. Love and Pray.
I’m raising the flag to warn you, there will be immense forthcoming federal and state pressure to interrupt your ability to obtain raw milk. It is perhaps prudent to view the controversy surrounding raw milk as the “canary in the mineshaft” with respect to many American freedoms. If we do not sacrifice at this moment to protect the freedom of uninhibited access to foods of our choosing we are going to lose much more in due time. Time to prepare for battle is now, not when we see the enemy running towards us.
Encourage each other to take personal responsibility and seek a variety of sources for information instead of relying on what we are told to believe through the television and newspaper. The more people who start doing this, the more informed we will be and the more collective courage we will have in taking the proper path towards sustainable prosperity for us and future generations.
Wishing you liberty and wellness,
Curious cows coming over to meet their new neighbors with feathers.
Links of Interest
Farmers to Consumer Legal Defense Fund
Raw Milk Facts