Hugh Betcha suggested that it sometimes seems on this blog as if it’s still 2007, and I think he has a valid point.
Certainly one attitude that was strong back then was the sense that judges would uphold the banner of food rights. How could they not? American and Canadian judges seemed, in the end, to uphold all manner of civil liberties for those accused of serious crimes, limiting home searches or questioning of suspects by police. Why not something as basic as setting limits on the executive branch of government at both the state and federal levels to interfere with our access to the foods of our choosing?
I’d say to Hugh Betcha that most of us have come to realize that we’re not in Kansas any more, as it were. Rather, we’re in an ever-more-autocratic country. Actually, we’re in an ever-more-autocratic world.
That helps explain the rise in protests world-wide that the New York Times chronicled recently. The article noted that even in countries where economic growth remains strong, like India and Israel, growing numbers of ordinary citizens “so distrust their country’s political class and its pandering to established interest groups that they feel only an assault on the system itself can bring about real change.”
Raw Milk Advocate suggested following my previous post that the key to changing the “let-the-government-decide-what-foods-we’re-allowed-to-eat” approach currently being upheld by TPTB is to lobby for legislative change. The reality, though, is that the only way to gain such change will be to fight for it, to mobilize citizens into active protest on this issue.
The worldwide protest movement has already arrived in the U.S., on Wall Street, where hundreds of people from around the country have gathered to protest the power of America’s banks in grabbing resources via bailouts and favorable treatment by the country’s all-powerful Federal Reserve Bank.
How does the Food Rights movement fit into all of this? It’s probably too early to say for sure how it fits in, or even whether it fits in at all.
I do know that more and more people who value nutrient-dense foods our regulators, legislators, and judges are trying to deny us are becoming increasingly upset and agitated. That’s what’s behind the dissension Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy Co. has been trying to work with among herdshare operators in California, in his effort to try to negotiate with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Many farmers rightfully don’t trust the CDFA to negotiate anything meaningful. It’s what is behind Michael Schmidt’s hunger strike, which he announced in the wake of an appeals court conviction for violating Canada’s dairy laws. It is what is behind Max Kane, a Wisconsin food rights activist, undertaking his own hunger strike in support of Schmidt. It is what was behind a group of farmers and raw milk drinkers crashing a City Council committee meeting in Portland, Maine, after the city arbitrarily banned raw milk sales from a farmers market; retail raw milk sales are legal in Maine.
There will be protests next week in Los Angeles, in connection with a criminal court hearing scheduled for Thursday for “The Rawesome Three”–James Stewart, Victoria Bloch, and Sharon Palmer. There may be a protest at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday morning, along with a rally Wednesday evening, at which Mark McAfee and I will be among the speakers. Then, there will be a protest outside the courthouse in Los Angeles on Thursday morning.
More details to come on the Los Angeles activities. And there are certain to be more protests nationally. Legislators will only be convinced to act if they detect serious public support for change. And real in-the-streets protest seems to be the way to go, around the world.
January 6, 1941
– the freedom of speech, the freedom of worship, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear " FDR library
When I went up against the Veterans Administration, I poured over their regulations to win my case.
I am really disheartened at the Canada news.
In my book of causes the Rawsome Three are oppressed because they refuse to obey the FDA dogma and sterilize food like the FDA wants everyone that sells food to do.
When there is an opportunity to unify and protest, put away the trivial details and teach. Teach the media teach the FDA teach your fellow citizen.
If the movement has to hang its hat on this rally, it's in a heap of trouble, Find another rally and move on. This one will bite.
Progress towards your dream of animal welfare is achieved in small steps. Two years ago, senator Dean Flores passed CA legislation that made it illegal to dock ( cut off above the hair line through the flesh and bone ) the tails of cattle and milk cows. It is your voice that will change america. Your voting dollar that will change practices.
When I hear about states in the midwest and their practices, it seems like a different county.
Those "trivial" details are:
Invoices and records seized in a search of Palmer's Healthy Family Farms location in Santa Paula revealed that "she was buying thousands of dollars worth of meat, poultry and eggs from other vendors and reselling it at farmer's markets and at Rawesome, despite claims and advertising that it was raised on her farm and not fed commercial feed," according to court documents.
So if people are going to rally for these people, they need to understand this case is not just about raw milk, according to charges filed.
But for Mr. McAfee, I guess these are "trivial" details, as are so many of his advertising claims. I was in a farmer's market here in California recently where his raw milk was being sold, and the person selling it was advertising: "milk from 100% grass-fed cows." When I quizzed the person and asked "Are you sure the cows never eat grains?" They replied: "No, they are 100% grass-fed." Of course that contradicts what Mr. McAfee wrote here on this blog just a few weeks ago (and what anyone who lives in California clearly knows is impossible), but why bother with these "trivial" details, right? After all, this is a "battle for food freedom" we are fighting.
I won't be attending. I am not interested in protesting for the freedom to defraud consumers.
I don't know what all the Animal Rights groups cover. You can contact a local one in your area and I would expect them to be able to fill you in.
If there is no honesty then any movement will fall apart before it gets started and also put it in the same group as any govt entity.
If there is no honesty then there is no credibility.
Do you pull your calves from the moms shortly after birth . . . and do you feed grain?
I only drink raw milk from 100% grass/hay fed jersey cows with calves still with mom up to 6 months after birth . . . I have sampled raw milk from a dairy that pulls calves and supplements with grain . . . milk is totally different by look and taste.
Please be honest here . . . .
OPDC cows are fed on green pastures all day long and they are also provided additional minerals, organic grains ( right now it is organic barley because organic corn is not available ).Cows get on average about 8 pounds of barley per day. They also get all the dried organic alfalfa they can eat each day."
There isn't a single dairy in California that could be 100% grass-fed. I am not anti-grain. Traditional dairy farming has always included grains as part of the feed, and hay (especially here in California.) So that's not the problem. The problem is advertising as 100% grass-fed when one isn't. I raised this question back in August because the WAPF site makes a distinction between Claravale and OPDC, and suggests by its listing that Claravale is inferior to OPDC because they feed grain, while OPDC is "pasture-fed." Here is how it is put:
Organic Pastures, http://www.organicpastures.com. Raw milk from pasture-fed cows is now available in health food stores throughout California. (559) 846-9732 or 877-Raw-Milk .
Claravale Dairy: http://www.claravaledairy.com or (831) 628-3219 for more information. Jersey milk, available raw and pasteurized. According to their website, Claravale feeds their cows a diet of hay, feeds, and pastures, including grain. Reader Comments: A reader notes that she and her grain-sensitive patients cannot tolerate Claravale milk or other milk from cows fed grain.
So if it is true that this "reader" has problems with cows fed grain, the "reader" should equally have problems with OPDC milk also. And if they are going to list problems consumers have claimed with certain dairies, why don't they list Mary Martin's son who allegedly got sick from drinking OPDC milk?
But of course, we are not supposed to get bogged down in these "details" while fighting the food freedom war….
What's really odd here is that a movement so seemingly passionate about everything except food safety, tolerates vendors outsourcing and mis-labeling food as coming from one farm when it came from another. Granted, the allegations against the Rawesome folks haven't been proven, but given the seriousness and internal allegations from the founder, it is surprising this blog and most of its followers would rally around them before getting all the facts. It would be very comical to raw milk detractors if these raw milk sellers were also re-packaging factory farmed chickens, eggs, and other products then duping consumers into paying a premium for their "nutrient dense" food (that they could have picked-up for a third of the price over at Costco).
A discussion on the new Raw Milk Institute would be more interesting and provocative than this so-called food fraud, ahem, rights rally in Los Angeles…
What "movement" are you referring to that is not passionate about food safety? Also, please name names of those who are tolerating venders outsourcing and mislabeling…….
"it is surprising this blog and most of its followers would rally around them before getting all the facts. "
Who are most of this blogs followers who "rally around them"? Most? Again name the names of those you accuse…
by all means, go play your silly games over at the rawmi web site. Is that the best you can do? Shouldn't really expect better from you, you are a govt employee. MW you really are so bloody pathetic. What a shame, I thought you had left for good.
There have been some problems with the blog, which limited my posting. Others have said the same thing and I'd assume David is working on it.
I am neutral on rawmi – it is very new and too early to know. But, it would be hypocritical on my part to dismiss the project outright.
Are you going to the rally in Los Angeles? Or, if out of the area, would you go if you could?
Almost no dairy, large or small, ever leaves calves on for six months, especially if grassfed. Dairies not only would get little milk (an unrestrained calf can drink five gallons a day), but at 3-4 months calves begin slicing teats and injuring the udder with vigorous bunting. Even beef herds start weaning around 3-4 months for those reasons.
Most dairies separate at birth, even some with only one cow will. The more cows you have, the more logistically difficult and time-consuming evening separation becomes. And the bigger and stronger the calves get, it's even harder and more time-consuming.
Worse, cows hold up milk and cream to give their calves after milking. I usually wean at three months, and the difference in the creamline before and after weaning is obvious. This year, separating my first-calf Jersey at night for morning milking netted me a gallon plus per day, with a mere inch of cream on top, yielding around 1/2 cup cream per gallon of milk… 2% milk maybe?
Post-weaning at three months, I now get about 3+ gallons a day with three inches of creamline… nearly a PINT of cream per gallon, enough extra to finally make butter. Not many people are willing to give up all that extra the calf takes until weaned.
Finally, weaning at six months gives you only 2-3 months of waning production before the cow's two-month break before her next calf. By that time, you're only getting a gallon per day anyway.
many in the produce industry have come together to try and improve the ability to quickly trace food from field to plate.
This is good business. "
Why don't they put their heads together and figure out how and why the food became contaminated in the first place? That would prevent further contamination. Duh
"Food safety advocates say the law will help make the food network safer by focusing on making every step in the chain safer and making it easier to find the source of outbreaks."
And does NOTHING to prevent further contamination.
No one in the town that grew the melons are sick, and the pickers do take them home to eat.
"This is the first time a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak has been reportedly linked to whole cantaloupe."
"taken from a Denver-area store and on samples taken from equipment and cantaloupe at the Jensen Farms packing facility. "
Well, not quite. I am a small dairy and I do follow a calf sharing model.
Yes, you get less milk, but you get more than you give back to the calf if you separate for 10 hours. I leave them together 24/7 for a month, giving the calf benefits that science hasn't yet documented. It's huge in terms of the health (low somatic cell ) and longevity, reduced suceptibility to illness and mastitis, learning herd dynamics, and even that hugely unscientific and intangible but important element of animal happiness.
As to bunting and beating up on the teats- calf trainers are wonderful painless additions which allow calves to remain with the herd, but not have access to the teats.
One heifer calf I left with her mother served as a part time milker for more than a year- in rare situations when the human milker couldnt be present by way of emergency, the milk could be drawn without risking mastitis.
As to letting down- I have heard that Jerseys are more prone to this. With maybe some exceptions in the beginning of calf sharing, my milking shorthorns have given up their milk, as easily as if I was a second calf.
There are many more benefits to calf sharing – the calves are well fed and don't need to be given costly milk replacer which isn't nearly as good as real milk, they are content, and don't need a separate space except at night. A content herd is a quite herd- no calves bawlling like the commercial farms where I once worked. The neighbors are as happy with this as I am.
It is hugely beneficial to be able to milk once a day- the calves milk the second half. This avoids the necessity of an alternative milker and the ability to hold down a second job off the farm.
As to the difficulty in separating them- I laugh because they seem like kids at bedtime…a bit of a task but after a while they know the routine and go into their separate area of the barn on their own. They get noisy only when they aren't reconnected at the regular time- cows like schedules.
As to the concern about weaning…commercial dairies insist on breeding cows annually. Little study has been given to alternatives like a two year cycle…
The biggest problem with calf sharing is the inability of the cow to return to breeding cycle (because the sucking tells the reproductive system not to click in), even with rounds of Lute.
It is less stressful to extend the lactation and breed on an 18 month or even 24 month cycle.
I have a milking shorthorn who calved April 2, 2010. She is still giving one to two gallons of milk, now once a day, from that calving and was bred to calf again around the same time in 2012.
Her heifer is due to calf the same day.
"I won't be attending. I am not interested in protesting for the freedom to defraud consumers."
A classic quote. Amen.
October 1, 2006
Day 25 Hospital
Chris received a blood transfusion and also had his daily dialysis. The surgery to implant the Quinton catheter was planned for around 11:00 a.m. There had been much discussion about the continued use of morphine. Chris got severe skin itches from it, as well as worry that he was not responding well to it anymore. They changed him to Dilaudid and he responded much better. They put a wristband on him stating no more morphine. He was also continued to respond well to the Ativan.
Even though inserting the Quinton catheter was not a high level risk surgery, there can be complications. He had already been through so much. I went down to the surgical room with the day nurse and outside the door I kissed Chris good-by and told her to keep a good watch over him. As a parent, all you can do is pray that all goes well.
About half an hour later we were informed that the catheter had been inserted successfully and awhile later he was brought back to his room. At that time, the nephrologist thought we would have to wait until tomorrow to remove him from the ventilator, however, as the day and evening progressed, Chris was doing so well they decided late in the evening the extubation process could begin.
Earlier in the day they had begun the process of reducing the sedation medication. He was quite alert and when he heard that it was time, he started shaking his head yes. We still had to wait for a few hours. In the meantime, Chris was trying to tell us something miming with his hands. It appeared that he was pretending to hold something and was moving his thumbs. Chris was frustrated that we couldnt figure out what he was trying to tell us.
Around 11:30 p.m., my mother-in-law went back to the house with me. We thought it would be a long night and we made some coffee to take back to the hospital (LLUCH was a 7th Adventist hospital, so they did not have coffee). By the time we returned, we could not believe Chris had already be extubated. Tony said the first word out of his mouth was, Gameboy. That is what he was trying to mime us. He wanted to play his Gameboy. It was quite the happy site. Chris was sitting up in bed playing his Gameboy. My boy was back! I had said for the last month that when he was able to play his Gameboy, we would know he was on the road to recovery.
I've been sharemilking with one cow or another for four years now and up to 20 goats for fourteen years, so I know how much work and time it takes to separate everyone out. It's not easy, especially alone. And I agree about calf trainers being helpful in keeping cow and calf together after weaning; but some kinds don't work well, and some calves get around them anyway; and some cows will bear the pain of being stabbed by those that do work well, since they tolerate the pain of sliced teats. By the way, I've never found a trainer that works at all for goats.
Nevertheless, since several people here are upset by calf pulling, I wanted to explain why most dairies rarely go to the effort of calf-sharing. If you have 50 or more cows, or even 25 cows (never mind several hundred), separating all those calves every night IS a logistical nightmare… and the more calves there are, and the older they are, the more time it takes and the more money a dairy loses both in time and milk income. I'm curious how many cows you have that you find it easy?
Plus Violet mentioned that she gets milk only from Jerseys that feed their calves for six months, so I explained for the general public here why that's generally not feasible unless it's from someone who is perfectly happy selling a little extra milk vs making a living from dairying. Leaving a calf on to nurse six months free will is not ideal for anyone, including the calf which can get too fat on too much milk for too long.
So, I completely agree: Smallholder dairies that sharemilk are the best, the ideal.
Unfortunately, there simply aren't enough smallholders like you and me who will take the effort required to calf-share, who don't mind getting less milk and 1/2 to 1/3 the cream for several months, and who are willing to accept less income for increased benefits to cow, calf and caretaker. Bigger dairies that pull calves, like OP and Claravale, are still necessary to supply fresh milk to everyone who wants it. If calf-pulling upsets certain people, then they need to make a LOT more effort to find us smallholders than yanking a gallon off the grocery store shelf.
At least now those people know WHY they have to make that way-extra effort.
Someone could have cows on pasture, feed grain, and all the hay they can eat while the amount of pasture is very little, but it sounds good. Kind of like the joke called organic poultry with little to no outside access ever.
This link is from the OP page. It says 100% pasture all the time. No wonder we are confused.
We have tried one time per day milking. We have tried keeping calves with their moms for six weeks.we have tried zero grains…..for us none of it worked.
What has worked is always having the cows on pastures all day long. Yes…the cows can eat pastures 100% of the time if they chose to. They prefer to eat a mixture of pastures, dried alfalfa and about 8 pounds of barley or wheat per day. Organic corn is no longer cost effective at $570 per ton or available….it used to be $200 per ton.
I must concur with Amanda about the fraud charges and cheating of customers. This is a true crime and I do not support anyone that would buy conventional meats and repackage them to make a profit with a new label that made sustainable claims. I am not sure a hope a person could sleep at night if they did this.
I am going to the Rally in LA because we are trying to seize the day to teach the media about the benefits of raw milk. The Rawesome Three will need to defend themselves with regards to the choices that they made….they are innocent until then.
You are spot on with most of what you say and I agree. Its especially helpful to understand why calves most often get yanked so early on. The public needs to understand that profits drive habits on large commercial dairies, not the animals best interests necessarily or even their health.
I am still willing to bet the health benefits far outweigh the minimal work (compared to milking) of separating calves and cows. There is a system to make all of these things work.
I wont say how many cows I am milking and how many I have at the risk of divulging information regulators would like to know- it is more than one.
Lets do some rough math……
The average lifespan of a good commercial Holstein factory cows these days is about five years…that's three lactations. At that point the cow has been pushed so hard for volume, bred at quick intervals and fed a high protein grain diet, she's spent. That cow depends on antibiotics, and was raised on chemically enhanced milk replacer, never knowing an udder or even sometimes for the valuable colostrum that is the first milk and is essential to forming a good immune system.
It would take another animal- worth about 800 at birth and maybe up to 1000 annually to house and feed to bring a replacement heifer to a first freshening to take over from the one hauled off to the fast food hamburger making factory.
The grass fed jersey or shorthorn calf enhanced by real milk and nurturing can easily double the average lifespan with sustained productivity…perhaps giving 18.,000 pounds of milk instead of 25,000 over the life of a 12-15 month lactation. If milk is worth a little more than a buck for eight pounds to the commercial dairy (the rough equivalent of a gallon).. that would be about 800 given to the calf, which would have consumed maybe 300 in profits considering it would have eaten 500 worth of grain, replacer and hay or forage in that time. .
A 300 loss would add up to the cost of the replacement heifer after three lactations- about the life of the cow.
Besides….a vet call would mean much higher expense for the weaker cow. Vets hardly go anywhere these days for less than $200.
The point is….many long held beliefs and practices, schedules and a reliance on antibiotics instead of the development and nurturing of a healthy immune system .were developed to push one thing- volume- and can be amended as long as safety, cleanliness, and the health of the animals is as priority.
By the way…I have had my trips and falls with the trainers too….but like anything else you keep at it and figure it out. There are plastic versions available which can only fail without harming the udder…and they work pretty well and are very inexpensive. I learned this only after losing three of the metal ones.
I have a monster heifer out there who got rather hefty on milk and has given up the udder with the trainer in her nose..eats quite well around it I will take her robust health over a weaker replacement fed calf any day. She became pregnant on her second heat…first try with insemination and she took. So much for fat heifers won't breed.