I can’t say that I was stunned when I read an October 3 post at Food Freedom regarding a Wisconsin resident’s right to produce his own food. Let’s face it. A citizen’s right to drink raw milk has been under attack on all fronts for years now. What did stun me though was part of the judge’s ruling that claimed, “Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice.”
First, a little background. Farmers boarded a herd of cattle on their farm. They didn’t own said cattle; they were merely providing for their care and milking. The owners of the cattle (an LLC which owned most of the cattle and two individuals who owned one cow) would get the milk from their cattle, and I suppose if they wanted, they could also take the cattle to be slaughtered for meat. It seems, however, that Wisconsin didn’t respect the contract between land owners and cattle owners, thus it was decided that the state would get into the middle of a private transaction. Now, we’re not talking about drugs here. We’re not talking about selling babies or bombs. We’re talking about folks boarding their cattle at a farm with the room, and we’re talking about folks DRINKING MILK.
I understand that the raw milk thing is controversial. I’m choosing not to debate that issue today. I am, however, pointing out that the most disturbing conclusion by the judge who heard the case, the one where he said we don’t have a fundamental right to produce and consume our own food, has far-reaching implications that go way past raw milk.
Think about it. The idea that we don’t have a fundamental right to produce and consume our own food can be taken to extremes. I could see the government in that state interfering with produce co-ops, and later, as has happened in other states, I could see government officials coming onto one’s property and destroying the food that’s been produced without cause or warrant. (The incident to which I’m referring happened to some folks who had raw milk, but why stop with raw milk? Why not worry about lettuce, almonds, or tomatoes? After all, we poor dumb Americans can’t possibly make smart decisions about our own FOOD!)
Although I don’t live in a state where I can buy raw milk at a grocery store, I can participate in a cow share, or I could ssimply have a milking cow or dairy goats on my property. I fear, however, that our rights are slowly being eroded where food choice is concerned, and I find it quite distressing. I’m also thrilled that I don’t live in Wisconsin!