On the eve of a big event, before Christmas, eyes and ears all across the U.S. are fixed on a national spectacle in Wisconsin– formerly known as America’s Dairyland, but still on the vehicle license plates. The event will be Monday, December 21–a big raw milk rally and court case for Max Kane. The crime here is offering raw milk to members of a private buyers club and refusing orders to fork over the supplier and customer list.
Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, in a strategic, last-minute move, filed a law suit against the State of Wisconsin (their news release is below).Vodpod videos no longer available.
After temporary victories in South Dakota and Massachusetts last week, a Wisconsin win on Monday, could set a national precedent for the rapidly growing raw milk movement. Author and Journalist David Gumpert has more details here.
This is all about the freedom to choose to drink and offer and share clean raw milk from naturally raised cows. It is also about the need and right to consume it as an effective and demonstrated treatment of a host of health disorders and diseases. People’s health depends upon clean raw milk as they have for centuries worldwide. But Wisconsin’s health and agriculture bureaus say no. This new 4-minute video begins to tell the story. (Several sources close to the Journal say a movie is in the making over the U.S. raw milk battle– the centerpiece of the big American food fight.)
Kimberly Hartke of HartkeisOnLine.com first jumped on the story and puts it this way:
Max Kane goes before a Wisconsin judge on December 21, 2009. His appearance there could really spoil his family’s Christmas holiday. Max Kane is charged with contempt of court for not divulging his source of raw dairy, and a list of those on his delivery route.
This young man has found raw milk to be a therapeutic food for his own Crohn’s disease. Among other changes in diet and lifestyle, it has markedly improved his health. This personal journey has led Max to become involved in efforts to improve access to raw dairy in his community.
Hear what Max Kane said today:
Department of Justice,
WI Department of Agriculture
and the FDA, (by secret appearance via the strings of the puppeteer!)
and by public appearance, Raw Milk Freedom Fighters from around the World!
What is at Stake
Raw Milk is under attack in Wisconsin. Please come and invest your day with us to show support as we are fighting for OUR Rights as well as YOURS! This X-Mas Help Us Carry the Torch and Give the Gift of Liberty To The Next Generation!
Make the pilgrimage to our Raw Milk Day of Events and Court House Rally in Viroqua, Wisconsin, AND HELP DEFEND OUR RIGHTS IN COURT!
and see all the national coverage (Time, NY Times, Chicago Tribune etc) he is making and send him best wishes here at Max’s new blog
PLEASE STAND BY MONDAY EVENING FOR THE LATEST AS WE WILL BE GETTING LIVE FEED DIRECT FROM DAYNE COUNTY WISCONSIN DURING THE COURT AND RALLY!
There will be hundreds of raw milk supporters at the Rally!
For those going to the Wisconsin Raw Milk Rally, Dec 21:
Get more details on the Rally here at the Journal and take the raw milk survey.
Now, the news release from the Legal Fund.
Legal Defense Fund Files Suit Against State of Wisconsin
The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is protecting and preserving your freedom to distribute or buy food of your choice from a privately operated buying club. With this lawsuit, the Fund distances private buying clubs from retail stores, and government’s regulatory reach over those establishments. The Fund maintains that consumers and farmer/producers have the right to enter into private contract, without government interference, and that private buying clubs should not be regulated or categorized as your typical grocery store.
On December 16, 2009 the Fund filed a complaint for declaratory judgment on behalf of Wisconsin farmers Kay and Wayne Craig and related entities against the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). The complaint seeks declarations that the Craigs, the farm store they operate (GrassWay Organics Farm Store LLC), and GrassWay Organics Association and its members who have invested in the LLC are not engaging in the illegal sale of raw milk in violation of Wisconsin laws, and that the farm store does not need to obtain a “retail food establishment” license in order to operate.
“Kay and Wayne Craig, their LLC and their Association members have been harassed long enough by DATCP. We are asking the court to declare that the Craigs, the LLC, and the Association are operating within the law,” said Pete Kennedy, President of the Fund. “We hope the Court issues an injunction that will prevent DATCP from taking enforcement action against what we believe to be lawful activity, ” Kennedy continued.
The complaint alleges that DATCP, over a period of several years, has been changing its interpretation of what constitutes an “incidental” sale of raw milk, which are legal under Wisconsin law. The complaint also alleges that the LLC operated by the Craigs (the farm store) is not a “retail food establishment” because it does not sell to the general public. The farm store is open only to members of the Association that has purchased an interest in the LLC.
“In Wisconsin, it is legal for an entity that holds a Grade A permit to sell interests or shares in the entity. This is a legal arrangement that is lawful in all respects, yet it is being threatened by DATCP,” said the Fund’s General Counsel, Gary Cox. “We hope the court agrees that DATCP cannot be arbitrary and capricious in their interpretation and enforcement of the law against law-abiding citizens, and try to force them out of business,” said Cox.
The complaint was filed on December 16 in Dane County Circuit Court, Wisconsin and names the Secretary of DATCP as a Defendant, Rod Nilsestuen. For a copy of the complaint, see the links below: