This is a most touching testimony from a man of courage and a man that is at the top of his trade and his art: biodynamic farming.
I will only screen part of the testimony, because I lifted it off The Bovine page. Well, it is public information. But I must credit The Bovine for covering it for us all, the link for which is given also at the bottom.
I was born in Germany in 1954. Both my parents came from rural background. My grandparents lost our farm in Eastern Germany during the war to the Russians and had to flee.
I grew up in rural Germany, worked on farms all my life. After High school I started my formal training and studies in Agriculture. In 1978 I received my masters in Agriculture. My master thesis was the bio-dynamic farm concept, the earliest form of organic agriculture. This degree allowed me to start teaching young farmers in all aspects of agriculture. Since that time I have individually trained practically over 100 young farmers in the art of farming.
I developed the cow share concept already in Germany in 1980 for the purpose of reconnecting the consumer with the producer with the mutual understanding that a cooperation would be the only way how individuals can in fact ensure their safety of food and a safe milk supply. On our bio-dynamic farm in Germany I established one of the first organic micro dairies.
In Germany it is not illegal to drink and sell raw milk. You can in fact buy raw milk in the supermarket. During the 10 years of working as a dairy farmer in Germany I never encountered any sickness of our customers as a result of raw milk consumption.
1983 when I arrived in Canada I worked within the quota system. This quota system regulates the entire dairy industry and is under the monopoly of the milk marketing board. They make the absolute dictorial decisions. I realized after 10 years that those who do not live on the farm had no choice and were forced to buy only heat-treated milk.
I received an ever-growing call by those with food allergies especially those with lactose intolerance who apparently were unable to drink or consume unpasteurized milk. I also was approached by those who began to question the food safety of mainstream large-scale food production.
Young parents especially with great concerns for the well being of their children kept knocking on our door and requested raw milk but I was not allowed under my contractual agreements with the milk marketing board to act outside these contracts.
As a result I revived the concept I had implemented in Germany of the cooperation between those who wanted and needed the raw milk and other foods for their own well-being under a private contractual agreement.
I cancelled my contractual agreement with the Milk Marketing Board and slowly developed this renewed concept of sharing the burden and sharing the wealth.
In 1992 we on the farm and those who wanted the raw milk who did not live on the farm, established successfully the lease-a cow program. This program left the cows in the farms ownership but leased the cows to those who wanted raw milk. The processing and pick up of the dairy product happened at lot 39 concession 2 in the former township of Glenelg.
For two years we provided raw milk to the leaseholders. They paid us for the lease, the work and the costs proportional to the use, similar to the concept of lease a car based on the kilometer usage. During these two years there was no illness reported from the consumption of the raw milk provided.
February 17, 1994 Susie McLeod from the Grey Bruce Health Unit, after coming to the premise on lot 39 conc 2 Glenelg township for an inspection issued an order.
This order, identified already as exhibit 1 tab A was issued to me in my capacity as operator of the premise on lot 39 conc.2 due to her believe that at this said premise a health hazard existed.
I appealed the decision in front of the health appeal board. The health appeal board consists of a non arms length panel appointed by the ministry of health. In its decision the board in my opinion ignored any first hand testimony on behalf of the cow lease holders and medical doctor testifying on my behalf. The board denied in its decision the overbroad expansion of the order, but sided with the Grey Bruce Health Unit that raw milk was a health hazard.
I also was investigated by OMAFRA. Similar to my experience with the MNR undercover agents took great lengths to prove, what I was publicly saying all along.
I offered inspections of the premises by official inspectors, which through proper inspection determined that I did not comply with the milk act and charged me accordingly. We had a major raid were hundred pounds of butter and hundreds of liters of milk and many rounds of cheese were destroyed in front of my children, who always grew up on these products.
One of my workers was abducted and threatened by unknown people, our farm was broken into, milk equipment intentionally destroyed and cows poisoned.
With this mental pressure and physical threats I realized that my family was more important. My lawyer at that time sided without my knowledge with the Crown and arranged a deal on my behalf to settle the situation in court.
In September the same week before the trial my farm insurance cancelled without warning I had no protection in case of fire or accident, arson, or otherwise. Therefore I was vastly vulnerable with 5 children.
In these circumstances I entered the court and pleaded guilty without a choice but to accept the deal between the Crown and my lawyer. I paid a fine of $3,500 dollars and received a two year probation.
I lost my farm at Lot 38, 39 and, 40 on conc 2 to my lawyer at that time. The cheese plant was converted into his law office, which I thought was cheesy.
See The Bovine for the rest of the story.