Canadian Dairy Farmer A Hero In Natural
Health Circles For Defending Raw Milk
A dairy farmer is playing the role of
lawyer at the start of his trial for selling raw, unpasteurized
milk and suggested his rights have been violated.
Spectators crowded into a small courtroom to hear details of
an orchestrated, armed raid by about two dozen officers and
government officials on a Durham, Ont., farm in 2006.
The Crown said it will disclose evidence of a clandestine,
undercover investigation into the illegal sale of dangerous
substances stored on the farm, sometimes on clear display in
The illicit products, which spawned 20 charges against farm
owner Michael Schmidt, were raw milk, as well as cream, cheese
and other items made with it.
Schmidt, who is defending himself, was defiant in countering
Crown suggestions that raw milk is considered too dangerous
for consumption and said he's defending everyone's right to
He drank a big gulp of raw milk from a mason jar in court during
In his opening statement, Schmidt said the core issue was not
milk but the "respect to (which) the individual's freedom has
been lost or wilfully ignored."
While raw milk is legal to drink it's illegal to sell in Canada.
Schmidt has been charged in connection with selling it to about
In light of the law, Schmidt established a so-called cow share
program in which customers pay to have partial ownership of
a cow and are then given some of its milk.
Raw milk has been proven safe over generations, despite Health
Canada's warnings, Schmidt says, adding he's against conventional
thinking that food "will kill us unless we process it to death."
Schmidt's first legal manoeuvre in court Monday was unsuccessful.
He challenged the admissibility of evidence collected during
the raid on his farm based on an error with the search warrant.
But he appeared confident while cross examining Crown witnesses
with a folksy, informal charm and drew giggles from the courtroom
when referring to himself in the third person.
He also launched some successful objections during Crown questioning
Although things didn't go entirely his way on the first day
of his trial, Schmidt said he was emboldened that he'll have
grounds for appeal if he's found guilty.
He also gave notice that he plans to file a Charter challenge
based on police actions and violations of his right to liberty.
In natural health circles, Schmidt is being admired as a hero
and defender of natural raw milk, which many studies have unequivocally
stated to be the most nutritious form of the beverage. Many
health experts have touted raw milk as a super food which provides
many of, if not all of the nutrients the body needs everyday.