Thursday, October 6, 2011

Do we have the right to eat our own food?

I'm going to look into this a bit more, but here's what someone posted on a local group.

Wisconsin Judge Denies Basic Property Rights and Food Choice
October 4, 2011 by biodynamicsbda

In a striking setback for property rights and consumer choice, a
Wisconsin judge issued an order on September 9 that owners of
cows do not have a fundamental right to consume milk from their
own cows. The order was issued by Dane County Circuit Court
Judge Patrick J. Fielder in response to a motion to clarify an
August 12 ruling denying a motion by the Zinniker Family Farm,
Nourished by Nature LLC (NbN), NbN members Robert Karp and
Gayle Loiselle, and the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
<> for a judgment that the
boarding agreement was in compliance with Wisconsin law.

Under the agreement between the Zinnikers and NbN, dairy cows
owned by NbN as an LLC were boarded at the Zinniker Farm. The
cows were owned by the LLC rather than by the Zinnikers, who
simply executed a services contract to board, care for, and milk
the cows for their owners.

Clarifying his original ruling that the plaintiffs did not have a
fundamental right to possess, use, and enjoy their property,
Judge Fielder explained clearly that there are no fundamental
rights to own and use a dairy cow or dairy herd, to consume the
milk from one’s own cows, to board one’s cow at a
farm, or to consume the food of one’s choice. In
addition, Judge Fielder stated that the private contract between
the Zinnikers and NbN falls within the scope of the
State’s police power, that the government has the power
to regulate the private conduct of growing and consuming food.

Gayle Loiselle, one of the founders and managers of Nourished by
Nature LLC, had this to say about Judge Fiedler’s ruling:
“As a plaintiff in this case I find it completely
ludicrous that Judge Fiedler ruled I have no right to own and
drink milk from MY cow, because I may get sick…. Clearly,
this issue is not about protecting the health of consumers. It
is rather about control of the production, distribution and sale
of all milk and milk products.”

Nourished by Nature
<> was
developed, with help from the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening
Association and with support from a grant by RSF Social Finance,
as a new type of consumers’ association designed to
purchase and hold agricultural assets in order to support family
farmers and protect consumer rights.

The Zinniker Family Farm, the oldest continually operating
biodynamic farm in the country, was shut down in the fall of
2009 by the State of Wisconsin for distributing raw milk through
a cow-share program that they had run since the mid-1980s. The
State’s actions have put the Zinnikers under severe
financial strain. As farmer Mark Zinniker explains,
“We’re still trying to figure out how to try and
make a living and stay at the same scale, which is very
difficult. The milk really gave us the ability to stay on the
smaller side. For a small farm like this to be able to survive,
it has to have that community support, people who value that
small-scale production and are willing to pay the real cost of
that production.”

The issues of this case have consequences that reach far beyond
the Zinniker farm, however. “It’s very obvious, to
us anyway, that this is way beyond raw milk,” says
Zinniker. “They’re basically ruling on your
rights, [or the rights] that you don’t have. And I think
that’s very much of a consumer issue.”

The plaintiffs in the case filed an appeal of Judge
Fielder’s decision on September 26.
About the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association
The Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association
> (BDA) is an association of
individuals, groups, and organizations in North America who are
committed to the transformation of the whole food system, from
farm to table, and who draw inspiration from the
spiritual-scientific insights of Rudolf Steiner. Biodynamics is a
worldwide movement for the renewal of agriculture based on an
understanding of the spiritual forces at work in nature and in
human social life. From this understanding, a particular form of
organic farming has been developed that continues to grow and
evolve around the world.

Contact: Robert Karp, Executive Director, Biodynamic Farming and
Gardening Association

(262) 649-9212 *
<> *

No comments:

Post a Comment