No Raw Milk for Your "Subterfuge" Food Club, Federal Judge Tells MD Members in Slapping Permanent Injunction on PA Amish Farmer Dan Allgyer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's two-year undercover investigation of a Maryland food club has led a federal District Court judge to impose a permanent injunction against the Pennsylvania Amish farmer who supplied the club with raw milk.

Federal Judge Lawrence Stengel officially issued a permanent injunction last Friday. It prohibits the farmer, Dan Allgyer, from sending raw milk across state lines to supply the Grassfed on the Hill club. It specifically does not affect him making milk available in Pennsylvania, nor does it prohibit him from supplying other food to the Maryland club. But, of course, the club members most of all want their milk, and they are in Maryland, not Pennsylvania. Raw milk can't be legally sold, or made available via a cowshare, in Maryland.

Judge Stengel gave no credence to the private contractual arrangement between Allgyer, Grassfed on the Hill food club, and a third organization, Right to Choose Healthy Food, which is run by Aajonus Vonderplanitz. At the time the injunction was requested, RTCHF had leased Allgyer's cows, and the members of Grassfed on the Hill were members of RTCHF, having signed individual agreements and paid annual dues. Members picked up their milk and other food from members who volunteered their homes as drop points. 

In his footnotes accompanying the decision, the judge mistakenly labeled the arrangement "a cow share" and stated, "The contract between Mr. Allgyer and persons entering into a cow share agreement is merely a subterfuge to create a transaction disguised as a sale of raw milk to consumers. The practical result of the arrangement is that consumers pay money to Mr. Allgyer and receive raw milk, which is transported across state lines and left at a 'drop point.' As such, despite any artful language, the agreement involves the transfer of raw milk for consideration, which constitutes a sale and is lawfully regulated by the FDA."

It seems doubtful that the judge would approve of the milk moving from Pennsylvania to Maryland even if it was in their pudding or cereal. He suggested in a footnote that individuals who traveled to Allgyer's farm to pick up their milk and bring it back to Maryland would be in violation of federal law. He said that "the purchase of raw milk by one who traveled between states to obtain it, or traveled between states before consuming it or sharing it with friends or family member, implicates 'commerce between any State..." He noted that courts have interpreted the purpose behind the interstate commerce provision of federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act to be to "safeguard the consumer from the time the food is introduced into the channels of interstate commerce to the point that it is delivered to the ultimate consumer."

Judge Stengel seemed to be saying that the FDA, which has said it won't enforce the interstate prohibition on raw milk for individuals bringing it across state lines for their own use, would be derelict in its obligation to uphold the law. In other words, it should be going after individual consumers bringing raw milk across state lines for their own use, since that comprises interstate commerce.

To Allgyer's argument that the FDA did not comply with the Privacy Act of 1974 when it investigated and inspected Rainbow Acre Farms twice in 2010, the judge said, "I disagree. The Privacy Act simply does not apply under these circumstances. The purpose of the Privacy Act is to protect privacy of individuals identified in computerized information systems maintained by federal agencies by enabling individuals to obtain their personal records and permitting the agency to retain information relevant to a specific and legal purpose."

The main hope put forth by the judge for lifting of the order is, "If the FDCA (Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act) is amended or modified to allow the interstate sale of raw milk or raw milk products..." In other words, Rep. Ron Paul's proposed legislation needs to pass, or the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund's legal challenge to the interstate ban on raw milk, in a separate federal court, needs to be upheld.

The only other good news for Allgyer was that the judge refused to grant the FDA its request for open-ended inspections of his farm, and to be able to charge Allgyer expensive hourly fees for the privilege. The judge cited the 2009 case involving Organic Pastures Dairy Co., in which the FDA requested similar wide-ranging oversight of his dairy, and was turned down.

"Like Organic Pastures Dairy Co., I find that the proposed injunction submitted by the government in this case is overly broad...Further, Mr. Allgyer is not prohibited, under state law, from selling raw milk in Pennsylvania, and his operations are permitted to continue in that vein."

Judge Stengel indicated that Allgyer didn't do himself any favors in not having a lawyer represent him. He said in the footnotes that Allgyer's answer to the government's original request "fails to specifically deny the allegations of the Complaint for Permanent Injunction. Because the defendant is unrepresented by counsel, I will not view all allegations in the Complaint as deemed admitted...However, defendant's Answer and Motion in Opposition to the Government's Motion for Summary Judgment corroborate many of the statements of fact innumerated in the Government's Statement of Undisputed Facts."

Appealing the case won't delay the injunction from taking effect, a Washington lawyer who practices food-and-drug law told me. "Usually an injunction goes into effect as soon as it is issued unless the court issues a stay order.  This is true even if a defendant appeals the injunction--he needs a stay order to delay the injunction form becoming effective."

I wish Judge Stengel adn the FDA guys would read some of the discussion following my previous post about nutrient density and soil depletion and food strength. Guess that is fantasyland thinking.

No, I imagine there are a lot of high-fives and backslapping over at FDA and Justice over this victory. Carrying out that brave undercover operation on the private Maryland food club by the FDA, and then the hotshot lawyers at Justice outsmarting an Amish farmer. And Judge Stengel? I sense he has no recollection of what he learned in law school about freedom of association and contracts. In his view, the government could have dispensed with all the investigative shenanigans and just said two words-- "interstate commerce"--and this George W. Bush appointee would click his heels. Shame, guys, shame.

 

Judge Stengel must be a big-time supporter of Dr Ron Paul for President.

With this decision he certainly convinced a lot of people, including those families who used to get their nutrient-dense farm-fresh milk from Mr Allgyer, that they should support Dr Paul too!

Thank you David for all the great reporting and analysis.

This is not unprecedented. OPDC in California remains under permanent federal injunction. Their felony charges were reduced/eliminated, but federal injunction stands?

MW

"The Despot's heel is on thy shore ..." and his name is Lawrence Stengel

Maryland, my Maryland : state song can be heard at this link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJcHNCZNj24

.... where are the kind of men, today, who lived what this song is about ?

"the judge mistakenly labeled the arrangement "a cow share"

Apparently he doesn't know the difference. Aren't contracts taught as a basic in law school?

"judge refused to grant the FDA its request for open-ended inspections of his farm, and to be able to charge Allgyer expensive hourly fees for the privilege. "

Do they charge other entities? Absolute BS on the fdas part. The govt has no shame.

Good article!

http://naturalsociety.com/antibiotics-promote-obesity-diabetes-metabolic-syndrome/

Dr. Martin Blaser of New York University Langone Medical Center states with respect to antibiotics, Theyve changed health and medicine over the last 70 years. But when doctors prescribe antibiotics, it is based on the belief that there are no long-term effects. Weve seen evidence that suggests antibiotics may permanently change the beneficial bacteria that were carrying antibiotics for H. pylori trick the body into eating more by disrupting hunger hormone levels. Indeed, mice given antibiotics get fatter than their untreated counterparts despite having the same diet.

The information above is the very reason why they feed antibiotics to livestock and TPTB have known this for a long time. By all means lets continue with our assault on organisms rather then deal with the root cause of the problem.

The FDA, CDC, DATCP and its Canadian equivalent are an assortment of shysters who in conjunction with the legal system harass honest free thinking people such as Dan Allgyer and Micheal Schmitt who are merely trying to make their communities a better place to live.

Ken

In light of this ruling, I must ask...

Why do we keep beating our collective heads against this brick wall? Its becoming more and more clear that the courts do not recognize these "private" arrangements as anything other than an attempt to skirt the laws. I'm not necessarily endorsing this view, just pointing out what the reality of the situation is.

Why not just get over it, and direct our efforts towards full-fledged public sales of raw milk, through legislation?

As I've pointed out before, the private approach is a very slippery slope. Should these "private" clubs be exempt from anti-discrimination laws, and be allowed to discriminate against people because they are gay, black or Jewish? Should they be exempt from environmental protection laws, and allowed to spew toxic chemicals into the environment merely because they are private?

Similar types of "private" clubs were created by right-wing social groups (such as the BPOE, aka "Elks", the John Birch Society, etc...) during the civil rights movement, in attempts to legitimize their discrimination against blacks and other racial minorities. The courts struck down those "private" arrangement back then, and they will probably continue to strike them down now.

Granted, its a very different thing to have a private arrangement for food, vs. a private arrangement for racism. But I can't help but feel like the continued effort to push the "private" model (in addition to alienating some farmers who get burned by it, witness our local regulars here Lola and Barney...) is also an underhanded attempt to undo the legacy of the civil rights movement, and return us to a semi-feudalistic closed society. (A wet dream of Mr. Watson's, for certain, but let's try to keep that from ever happening...)

I would encourage those who are serious about building alternatives to the corporate food system to closely study the co-operative movement, and especially the Rochdale Principles:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rochdale_Principles

Take note: "Voluntary and open membership: The first of the Rochdale Principles states that co-operative societies must have an open and voluntary membership."

Note: This means that a co-op is an OPEN and PUBLIC organization, not a closed, "private" organization. The worldwide co-op movement is built on these principles, and raw milk supporters would do well to emulate the Rochdale model, rather than worry about Ron Paul who is never going to win anyways.

Also, here is a great article about worker co-ops as a way to build economic democracy. Madison, WI is home to numerous successful worker and consumer co-ops, but as a whole, the US is way behind the curve on promoting co-ops as an alternative economic model:

http://www.thedailypage.com/isthmus/article.php?article=35857

Thanks Ken, I knew that antibiotics killed the good flora, didn't know there was a link with obesity too. Just imagine how many in our population who have had antibiotics...some chronically so. Wow talk about opening Pandoras Box. More reason to grow your own foods.

we are what we eat. http://www(DOT) huffingtonpost(DOT)com/2012/02/09/ramen-digestion_n_1263825.html?ref=food&ir=Food

cameras watch what happens to foods after being eaten, whole food and ramon noodles.

Bill, under the Bill of Rights, the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan and any number of other racist and ultra-right-wing (and left wing) organizations can legally organize, limit their membership via discrimination, keep weapons, and hold demonstrations. They can buy their weapons from whomever they choose, under the Second Amendment to the Constitution. When they demonstrate, they are protected by the police from violence by others. I respect all those rights, regardless of what I think of their political ideologies.

In my view, Grassfed on the Hill has the same rights as these organizations--to organize itself privately. Only instead of buying weapons, its members buy food. Unfortunately, the Constitution doesn't spell out the right to obtain food as clearly as it does the right to bear arms. But that day will come. It may well have to come from the U.S. Supreme Court. But I have faith it will come. The right is too fundamental not to come.

David

This is sad news, on so many fronts. I am most of all sorry for the farmer, Dan Allgyer. He is yet another one of the hardworking small farmers who just get spat on by our agricultural and legal systems.

It's chilling that the judge sought to warn food club members about crossing state lines to pick up their own milk. Whoa there - I think we citizens can still travel freely between states and do what we like there (short of criminal activity) and return to our homes, without legal interference. How can that possibly be interstate commerce when the transaction occurred directly between buyer and seller within one state? Someone from Maryland, please challenge this warning!

A couple of Davids blog posts back.. the following was posted:

I am a victim of this tainted raw milk. In my life on this planet I drank raw milk ONCE! And it nearly killed me! "..."I am still not fully recovered but thankfully am getting better! I now worry about the possible complications down the road, but that is a concern for another day."
"I do not have the time nor patience to read all the commentary above. All I can ask is "What about the victims?"
February 9, 2012 | Registered Commenterbill walker"

Is this the same Walker at the NJDA (william.walker@ag.state.nj.us or call. 609-292-8854).?

Your post sounds like a shill, a troll....

What about the victims? There are victims from many things. My friend can no longer walk unaided from a flu shot..what about her? My brothers kidneys are damaged from taking azithromicin, what about him? A man ran a stop sign and I have chronic shoulder pain, what about me?

A couple of Davids blog posts back.. the following was posted:

I am a victim of this tainted raw milk. In my life on this planet I drank raw milk ONCE! And it nearly killed me! "..."I am still not fully recovered but thankfully am getting better! I now worry about the possible complications down the road, but that is a concern for another day."
"I do not have the time nor patience to read all the commentary above. All I can ask is "What about the victims?"
February 9, 2012 | Registered Commenterbill walker"

Is this the same Walker at the NJDA (william(DOT)walker@ag(DOT)state(DOT)nj(DOT)us or call 609-292-8854)?

Your post sounds like a shill, a troll....

What about the victims? There are victims from many things. My friend can no longer walk unaided from a flu shot..what about her? My brothers kidneys are damaged from taking azithromicin, what about him? A man ran a stop sign and I have chronic shoulder pain, what about me?

as for the claim by Bill Walker that he drank raw milk once, and suffered ill effect : let's see some evidence,

even Bill Marler will acknowledge that " "the nature of evidence is that it can be tested. If it can't be tested, it isn't evidence"

glimmers on a tv monitor wired to cyberspace is not evidence of harm consequent from drinking raw milk.
where? When? Who supplied it? Who else drank that same batch of milk? in what context, ie was it from the bulk tank of a commercial operation with confined cows? what else was going on in that neighbourhood, at that point in time?

if you want us to take you seriously, Mister Walker, then you must put all the facts forward for scrutiny. Otherwise, it's just a drive-by smear

David,
Your little update makes me think of Christmas,

"Dan better watch out, dan better not cry, dan better not pout, I'm telling you why...
FDA is coming to town... FDA is coming to town...

They watch you when your sleeping, they watch when your awake, they know if you've transported raw food... so you better pasteurize for goodness sake...

Oh, dan better watch out, he better not cry, he better not pout, Vilsak will tell him why...

FDA is coming to town, yeah!, FDA is coming to town, FDA is coming to town...

There making a list, there checking it twice, sending it to the DOJ, who has no plans to treat the american serfs nice...

Oh, FDA is coming to town...FDA is coming to town, FDA is coming..... to town."

Sigh... Maybe I need to break out ye ole six string and start an FDA satire album to raise funds for all these poor farmers...

"Maybe I need to break out ye ole six string and start an FDA satire album to raise funds for all these poor farmers... "

Maybe it would go viral on the internet...touching many many people.

I have been wanting to say this for a long time. Here it is.

I feel very much connected to our rebel farmer in Pennsylvania now. OPDC made some law years ago and now the terms haunt us all.

Because I was compliant with all the specific details of the carefully crafted, carefully written and carefully negotiated settlement....the FDA does not hold anything over my head now. Nothing. The settlement is withdrawn and no longer has effect. It is as if nothing ever happened.

That was the deal that Gary Dox made with the FDA hit men and a women...( yes they sent a cute short skirted junior lawyer to fight the raw milk battle in CA and stop legally produced raw milk from going across a state line.....what a champion she was!!! ).

There is no legal obligation for Mark McAfee, no legal injunction against me.

My deal was two years and not five. So I guess the judge did not look deeper into the OPDC settlement arrangement. Yes....I had to post a FDA mandated statement everywhere at OPDC and at farmers markets.....etc. It ended up being one of the most talked about sales promotion pieces we have ever had. People used to love to read it and then spit on it. It is a badge of honor. Remember, there is an inverse relationship between governmental harrassment and the growth of raw milk markets.

At the end of the hearing the FDA demanded that I go downstares in the federal building and get booked into their criminal system ( pictures and fingerprints )....Gary and I basically refused and the judge did not make me do it...afterall this is about raw milk and what I do for people in CA is not a crime and is 100% legal. The FDA was trying their very best to stab me hard in the heart. They wanted ceremonial blood and maximum embarrassment. They got nothing but a black eye and a harange from Judge Oliver Wanger. The judge new damn well that OPDC was a legal operation and that the FDA wanted blood for their press release.

The FDA wanted to have OPDC make every person that bought a cup of raw milk in CA at 400 stores....sign an affidavid swearing that they would not sell or take raw milk over a state line. An outrageous requirement.

The Judge saw that one and brow beat the FDA into embarrassment. He said to the FDA..."what you are demanding is like taking OPDC out behind the barn and hanging them for a legal food product with out a trial". That is very close to the quote.

This whole raw milk thing is becoming a festering boil. A fire fueled by truth and lies.

Our sales of raw milk last week broke all time records.

For the record.....the FDA can kiss my ass because they already have. Why do I say this?...because they copied things I wrote on this blog and brought them into court as evidence....I would love someday for a judge to read this. Judges love humor....especially when it is true.

The FDA denies peer reviewed science ( PARSIFAL and GABRIELA ). What kind of organization is that?....who do they work for.

Like I said above....the FDA can kiss my ass. Everything I do is legal and there is not a thing that they can do about it. I stand with the moms and the next generations health. The FDA stands at the funeral of weak immune systems and failed toxic drugs that kill hundreds of thousands each year.

Take that to a judge!!

Dollar vote like your life depends on it....cause it does. Go Freedom Riders.

Dr. Heckman asked me to be George Washington crossing the Potomac river with raw milk in my hand to help free America. I would be honored to do this....on my boat I want Abby Rochafeller and Liz Reitzig and every one else that will free America from immune depression and the most allergenic food in America .... Pasteurized Milk.

http://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm079311.htm

Number #1 is Pasteurized Milk!!!!!

Let me reiterate....the FDA can kiss my ass. They are literally killing kids every day. Asthma killed 3400 last year. That is blood on their hands. Do I want a relationship with the FDA?....when they come crawling to me begging forgiveness, when they place peoples health before processors profits and when they help farmers to produce better raw milk....there is a slight chance I will begin to forgive them. When they tear down that wall that divides Americans from their trusted farmers...maybe...just maybe.

http://www.lung.org/finding-cures/our-research/trend-reports/asthma-trend-report.pdf

If the FDA attacks me...sales go up....a great deal for me and a great deal for the health of people in CA.

I met with the Mayor of Fresno three days ago at a scheduled "get to know you" meeting, so she could get to know a company in her back yard that is preventing illness and creating lots of great jobs!!. Both of her kids have asthma. She told me she would have them on raw milk this week. The FDA has fewer and fewer friends nowadays.

Allyger can sell to whoever he wants in Pennsylvania. There is no requirement to check the purchaser for PA residency. It is unfortunate that Allyger did not get a lawyer to articulate his defense. It seems that the judge did not fully understand the operations of the buying club. They purchase the milk legally in PA as an agent of the buyer. They do not sell the milk in MD and they do not distribute because the milk is not sold or resold subsequent to being brought into MD.

If I buy several cases of oranges in FL (with money given to me by friends who want some fresh citrus fruit) and transport them with me back to my home in, say, Washington State, is that interstate commerce? Because if it is, I know a WHOLE buncha people who are in serious trouble. What about souvenirs? What about gas? I mean, from what I can see Interstate Commerce is not limited to foods. http://definitions.uslegal.com/i/interstate-commerce/

Our gov't needs desperately to rethink some of this stuff.

And, to the first poster in this comment section, what does how the judge feels about Ron Paul have to do with anything mentioned here? Ron Paul supports raw milk, so I guess I'm wondering what, exactly, you're trying to say.

Can *everything* be purchased legally with an agent?

If my sister has an operation and subsequently has a prescription for narcotics, and if I live in a city and take it to my local pharmacy, will the pharmacist release the narcotics to me as her "agent"? If the pharmacist releases her prescription to me, what prevents someone who has stolen a prescription from getting it filled? If I get pulled over for a routine traffic violation and the police find prescription narcotics in my car that are not prescribed to me, will I not get arrested if I claim that I am an "agent"?

(I am not suggesting that raw milk is in league with prescription narcotics; what I am suggesting is that there are items that the government considers "controlled", and these most likely cannot be successfully purchased by an "agent".)

Lola granola, you illustrate what I think is the key to the conflict here.

Respect for private property and private contracts was, in essence, a strategy for dispute resolution and non-violence. Rights (including private property rights) draw boundaries that are easy to understand and prevent tyranny.

That's why tyrants and would-be tyrants oppose these principles.

I judge that tyranny was enabled when our ancestors accepted several rights-violating, privacy violating schemes around the same time, in the late 19th - early 20th century:

"Narcotics" laws
private monopoly banking cartel, aka "Federal Reserve"
Federal Income Tax

These rights-violating measures, while "sold" to the public as ways to "solve" "problems" associated with small minority groups, have in fact facilitated ever increasing violation of all of our fellow citizens by the rights-violating (psychopathic?) minority, until today we have the arguably insane spectacle of poisoners and murderers from the likes of Monsanto saying that they will decide what foods we will be allowed to eat.

I regret our nation's turn away from "Natural Rights", and welcome our awakening from the nightmare.

I disagree with Bill Anderson, and believe that without rights, we'll remain mired in conflict.
So I have a "Ron Paul for President 2008" bumper sticker on my farm truck, and am glad to hear that more of my fellow citizens are considering a return to mutual respect for our rights.

D Smith,
If the government decides it doesn't want people eating Florida oranges (say, in its infinite wisdom, it decides we should only eat oranges from Brazil because we want to further increase trade with Brazil), then sure, it could come after you for bringing those oranges back home...especially if you should take the outrageous step of giving some to family and friends. At least, this is what Judge Stengel seems to be saying--any product taken across state lines, even for personal use, is in play as "interstate commerce." Our government isn't going to "rethink" anything, unless and until a brave judge or two stands up to the enforcers, or enough people stand up and publicly defy the craziness.

Aed aedaed, in same vein, I suspect Judge Stengel would have used the interstate commerce argument even if Allgyer had a lawyer...but he would have been forced to perhaps be more elegant in articulating his position.

Lola granola,
Narcotics are illegal to consume without a prescription. No one has yet proclaimed that raw milk is illegal to consume (even in states that ban its sale or distribution). But there is movement in that direction, by the Wisconsin judge who said we have no right to even have our own cow, and the FDA, which has said we have no right to the foods of our choosing. To the extent we roll over and accept their edicts and judgments, they will continue pushing the envelope.

John Moody,
Didn't know you had such hidden talent.

David

a Lactovore,

I in favor of rights.

The most important rights are from the 1st amendment. Specifically, the rights of free speech and press, freedom of assembly, and for petition of redress of grievances. THESE are the most important rights of a democratic society!!!!

The right to bear arms, and the limitations on quartering of soldiers are also important, but perhaps not as much so in our day and age as they were in 1789.

The suggestion of property does not arrive until the fourth amendment, and is not specifically mentioned until the 5th.

When discussing property, we must learn to draw the distinction between individual forms of property and corporate forms of property. I am in favor of the former. I am against the latter. Corporate personhood is a scourge on our society which must be abolished. It is a personification of property -- the highest form of private property, if you will. Property has been given the status of personhood.

I hope this clarifies my stance. A cow-share is more or less a corporate form of property, not an individual form of property. I am in favor of cow-shares. I am just highly skeptical of the proprietarian legal approach being used to promote them.

Cooperatives are a thoroughly socialist form of economic organization. If the cowshares wish to be successful, they must begin by recognizing this simple fact, and adopting the Rochdale principles as guiding beacons.

David,

The comment I made was in reaction to aed aedaed and others who suggest that milk taken across state lines by an "agent" is the same as if the purchaser were transporting it him/herself. I am suggesting that there are items for which being an "agent" is clearly not legal - it is not legal to transport medical waste, hazardous materials, prescription drugs and, whether or not we like it, raw milk. My argument has to do with the transportation via agent across state lines, and has nothing to do with whether or not milk is legal to consume, as you conclude.

(The comment Judge Fielder made in his decision that we in Wisconsin are not allowed to own our own cow is taken out of context. It must be put in its proper context, which was in a clarification of a decision that was in regards to farmshare arrangements where there are multiple investors in a corporation who do not share in the financial profit and loss of the corporation.)

Lola-

It seems you and I agree that the crux of this issue is corporate ownership, and it's follies. I believe that Wisconsin is under a foreign occupation by corporate capitalist powers. The Koch brothers are one part of this. Liberal corporate interests like George Soros' fronts also play a role in the foreign occupation of AMERICA'S DAIRYLAND.

Our state has a long history of class consciousness. The radical lumber, timber, and mine strikes of the late 1800s and early 1900's provided a fertile ground for the progressive populism of Bob LaFollette. The Wisconsin Milk strike of 1933 is a particularily upstanding example of our state's radical history... and the more recent uprising here in Madison provides yet more proof of our radical credentials.

In modern times, Wisconsinites have recognized the nature of the class struggle since at least 1994, when we began organizing solidarity with the Zapatista's (in Mexico) against NAFTA. Wisconsin progressives, including many family farmers, were at the forefront of the movement against corporate globalization.

Not only have these forces of corporate capital destroyed our family farms and trade unions, they are also now targeting our basic democratic rights of assembly and free speech.

I do not think it is enough to argue about the legitimacy of the legal doctrines. We must begin an all-out struggle against the system of class rule which has subject rural and urban alike to the jack-boot of corporate fascism. The raw milk issue is but one very small (yet important) part of this struggle.

So now Dan has to wear the "scarlet letter" that says he cannot sell out-of-state. I have no direct evidence, but it seems to me that these farmers are being manipulated by buying clubs specifically to transport their products over state lines. As a farmer, I think the decision to do something like this is a poor one. Flashing your butt at the Feds just isn't smart. You are advancing someone else's agenda at the expense of your farm.

I agree that going to each state legislature to legalize raw milk is a good plan. Marginalizing herd shares by continually saying that they are a contrivance to circumvent the law isn't helpful. CSAs, which to my mind are the model for herd shares, don't have this stigma. So why are raw milk advocates perpetuating this view?

Kirsten,

It seems the leadership of the raw milk movement is enticing farmers into doing things like setting up herdshares, crossing state lines, and advertising, which is putting targets square on the backs of farmers. But when the farmers find themselves in trouble with the state or federal governments, where is the leadership then? What responsibility do they have? NONE!!!

So why are farmers following the advice of those who have no responsibility themselves?

My opinion is that if the consumers want raw milk THEY should take on the state and Feds and leave the farmers out of it. We have been through enough. And forget FTCLDF, they sure have not done us farmers any favors!!!

Kirsten Weiblen and Barney Google,

Your blaming-the-victim approach isn't the solution. The reality is that all the farmers involved in serving food clubs and cowshares know the terrain. Moreover, they understand their rights, and they are committed to exercising their rights. They are brave individuals, who should be backed up by as many of us as possible, not disparaged and criticized as chumps like you are doing.

The reason the farmers are targeted and not the members/consumers is that the authorities are afraid of the consumers. Too many of them. The Raw Milk Freedom Riders have openly challenged the FDA by transporting raw milk across state lines and the authorities have run for cover. That's because they are cowardly bullies. They pick out one farmer at a time and bully him or her. And they have no respect for the provisions of the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

The Raw Milk Freedom Riders will be going to bat next for Vernon Hershberger in Wisconsin on March 2 at his next court hearing. They will once again be engaging in civil disobedience and challenging the authorities to arrest them. The authorities won't do it. Cowards and bullies don't fight on even terms.

David

David-

I wasn't aware that the constitution said anything about raw milk or food rights. In fact, the constitution very clearly gives the federal government the power to regulate interstate commerce in Article I, Section 8, Clause 3.

Bill,

1st Amendment: "Congress shall make no law...abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble..."

14th Amendment: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States..."

And nowhere is regulation of interstate commerce given precedence over the 1st and 14th Amendments.

The founders and their brethren didn't mention food because they couldn't imagine in their wildest dreams that people like you would deny people the right to "peaceable assemble" to form food clubs and herdshares or interfere with such "privileges" as the right to engage in private contracts. But they were wise enough to write the Constitution, and various amendments, broadly enough to allow judges to recognize such basic rights as privately contracting for food.

David

I have to be brutally honest here, David. I get very annoyed by the never-ending romantic descriptions of the "founders" by many in this movement and on the conservative and libertarian right-wing.

We cannot divorce the constitution from the historical context in which it was written, and the very real class struggle that existed at that time in America. One of the first things done by the new Federal government in 1789 was to impose taxes on Whiskey. This made many farmers angry -- and rightfully so, because it was a regressive tax which taxed the working class instead of accumulated wealth. The subsequent Whiskey rebellion against the new Federal gov't had to be put down by George Washington leading US Marshals onto the Western front to protect the tax collectors.

Lest we forget... Many of the "founders" were slave owners and banking aristocrats that sought to check the "excesses of democracy" by writing the constitution. The bill of rights, on the other hand, was demanded by the people (the "demos" in democracy) in order to protect them from the government that the founders had created.

We ignore these facts at our own peril. This romantic nationalist rhetoric is not helpful in taking a hard honest look at the situation we face. Food sovereignty is a good thing. But rather than having clubs that sell raw milk across multiple states, perhaps we should be trying to get more farmers in each of those states to supply the local market from a local farm. Just a thought.

here we have a handy example of how the extremes of the political spectrum go 'all the way round and meet'...for once, I do agree with Bill Anderson = part of the answer in the Campaign for REAL MILK, is = many local producers. The "Small is beautiful" model. 40 cows in milk / 2 families on the farm / grossing about $1,000,000 per annum, by doing the marketing to modern standards, so the producers get paid properly

that model works as long as we have private property and the semblance of a free market. Socialism will never be anything more than an adolescent fantasy. the places where it was actually put in place -always at gunpoint, never forget - it was the small producer who wound up feeding the locals. Socialists do their best work, ex-cathedra = from their armchair in a nice white suburb in North America, rather than in some place like Cuba

Time and again Mister Anderson's enormous blind spot he about history grates badly, but we have to cut him some slack ... he's so-obviously a product of the Public fool System = another one of the planks of the Communist Manifesto

"Nationalistic rhetoric? Well, excuuuuuuse me for voicing me very white-ness!.

Bill,
If I'm not mistaken, Vernon Hershberger is extremely local, no "interstate commerce." Same with Alvin Schlangen in Minnesota (more upcoming). Same with all those herdshares in California. But they are persecuted as part of a national strategy. When necessary, the excuse is "interstate commerce." When necessary, the excuse is local regulations and permits. The idea of private contracts and organizations is laughed at. Heads I win, tails you lose. That's life in your kind of socialist paradise.

David

http://www(DOT)sfgate(DOT)com/cgi-bin/article(DOT)cgi?f=/c/a/2012/02/09/BAQD1N5A50.DTL

OT: "The negative economic impact of a "true" mad cow diagnosis in the US is enormous (imagine all beef exports being cut off by foreign nations). The USDA, which is essentially run by the US cattle industry special interests, will do anything to cover up the prospect of a Mad Cow diagnosis in the United States."

Even though this is off topic the following articles explore the "pinkwashing" of the deadly disease of breast cancer when medical, pharmecutical and government align in not such a good way. This is similar to when these three entities comer together to dictate what we can and can't eat.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/detailing-the-problems-of-breast-cancer-culture/2012/02/09/gIQA3DiT2Q_story.html

http://prospect.org/article/shattering-susan-g-komen-pinkwashing

http://www.barbaraehrenreich.com/cancerland.htm

Judge Laurence Stengel:
"the purchase of raw milk by one who traveled between states to obtain it, or traveled between states before consuming it or sharing it with friends or family member, implicates 'commerce between any State..."

From the FDA press release Food safety and Raw milk, Nov. 1 2011 following the raw milk rally at FDA headquarters:

"With respect to the interstate sale and distribution of raw milk, the FDA has never taken, nor does it intend to take, enforcement action against an individual who purchased and transported raw milk across state lines solely for his or her own personal consumption."

http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/Product-SpecificInformation/MilkSafety/ucm277854.htm

looks like the judge never got the memo and the FDA gets to have it any way they want..
what a country!!!

I have no idea what "socialist paradise" you are talking about David. We are FAR from a socialistic society in today's America. The wealth gap between rich and poor today is greater than it has been at any time since the great depression:

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/02/mind-blowing-charts-senates-income-inequity-hearing

In more socialistic nations like Sweden and France, raw milk is legal, and is held to higher quality standards than milk for pasteurization. Consumers can even buy raw milk out of vending machines.

I do not endorse or support the prosecution of these farmers. I am simply asking that we stop living in a fantasy world, and face the cold, hard facts about the legal doctrines our court system operates under, the constitution, and our own "founding fathers."

The most preliminary google search of contract law reveals that contracts have many limitations, and it has absolutely nothing to do with socialism. It is just how established contract and commercial law works works under our system of corporate capitalism:

http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Limits_of_Freedom_of_Contract.html?id=9_vVkIXWKpQC

http://www.jstor.org/pss/3657531

I continue to be disappointed in the movement leadership misleading so many farmers into these sham "private" agreements which only serve to make them the target of state crackdowns.

The simple fact of the matter is that the state's vendetta against raw milk is a direct result of the extreme concentration of corporate power, and the capitalist control of our government. In a more socialist system, corporate money and corporate influence would be systematically banned from the political process, and it would be much easier for consumers and farmers to successfully lobby for public policy change to allow raw milk sales.

Until we are ready to embrace this kind of social change -- more democracy and less capitalism -- we should continue to expect crackdowns and prosecutions of farmers. It is just how capitalism works.

I have no idea what "socialist paradise" you are talking about David. We are FAR from a socialistic society in today's America. The wealth gap between rich and poor today is greater than it has been at any time since the great depression:

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/02/mind-blowing-charts-senates-income-inequity-hearing

In more socialistic nations like Sweden and France, raw milk is legal, and is held to higher quality standards than milk for pasteurization. Consumers can even buy raw milk out of vending machines.

I do not endorse or support the prosecution of these farmers. I am simply asking that we stop living in a fantasy world, and face the cold, hard facts about the legal doctrines our court system operates under, the constitution, and our own "founding fathers."

The most preliminary google search of contract law reveals that contracts have many limitations, and it has absolutely nothing to do with socialism. It is just how established contract and commercial law works works under our system of corporate capitalism:

http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Limits_of_Freedom_of_Contract.html?id=9_vVkIXWKpQC

http://www.jstor.org/pss/3657531

I continue to be disappointed in the movement leadership misleading so many farmers into these sham "private" agreements which only serve to make them the target of state crackdowns.

The simple fact of the matter is that the state's vendetta against raw milk is a direct result of the extreme concentration of corporate power, and the capitalist control of our government. In a more socialist system, corporate money and corporate influence would be systematically banned from the political process, and it would be much easier for consumers and farmers to successfully lobby for public policy change to allow raw milk sales.

Until we are ready to embrace this kind of social change -- more democracy and less capitalism -- we should continue to expect crackdowns and prosecutions of farmers. It is just how capitalism works. Those with the CAPITAL make the rules, and this corporate ruling class simply doesn't like raw milk because they cannot profit from it.

Its funny that with cigarettes you can "transport" one case across state lines. I guess if the raw milk caused cancer instead of maybe harboring dangerous bacteria that would be OK.... :-\

I have no idea what "socialist paradise" you are talking about David. We are FAR from a socialistic society in today's America. The wealth gap between rich and poor today is greater than it has been at any time since the great depression:

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/02/mind-blowing-charts-senates-income-inequity-hearing

In more socialistic nations like Sweden and France, raw milk is legal, and is held to higher quality standards than milk for pasteurization. Consumers can even buy raw milk out of vending machines.

I do not endorse or support the prosecution of these farmers. I am simply asking that we stop living in a fantasy world, and face the cold, hard facts about the legal doctrines our court system operates under, the constitution, and our own "founding fathers."

The most preliminary google search of contract law reveals that contracts have many limitations, and it has absolutely nothing to do with socialism. It is just how established contract and commercial law works works under our system of corporate capitalism:

http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Limits_of_Freedom_of_Contract.html?id=9_vVkIXWKpQC

http://www.jstor.org/pss/3657531

I continue to be disappointed in the movement leadership misleading so many farmers into these sham "private" agreements which only serve to make them the target of state crackdowns.

The simple fact of the matter is that the state's vendetta against raw milk is a direct result of the extreme concentration of corporate power, and the capitalist control of our government. In a more socialist system, corporate money and corporate influence would be systematically banned from the political process, and it would be much easier for consumers and farmers to successfully lobby for public policy change to allow raw milk sales.

Until we are ready to embrace this kind of social change -- more democracy and less capitalism -- we should continue to expect crackdowns and prosecutions of farmers. It is just how capitalism works.