This is a call to action! Please, help keep Michael Schmidt alive and support your right to freedom of food at the same time!
Michael Schmidt is on a hunger strike for the right to produce and sell raw milk—and for everyone’s right to food freedom. He is a highly educated dairy farmer, and is also a classical musician and conductor of symphonies and choral groups. His hunger strike has gone on for a full month—and Michael is growing weak. But vows to continue to death, if necessary.
He’s asking for a meeting with Ontario, Canada’s Premiere, Dalton McGuinty to discuss the issue. Schmidt has described his motivation:
A political resolution to this must be found. Right now, no one in government is listening.
This is a brief video describing Michael Schmidt’s purpose:
Over the last 17 years he has made every effort to co-operate with the authorities to find a solution for the legalization of raw milk in Ontario and Canada. Yet, despite this, his farm was raided in 1994 and again in 2006 (25 armed officers stormed in and terrorized the entire farm family.)
Acquitted on all charges by Justice Kowarsky in 2010, the Province of Ontario subsequently decided to appeal the acquittal and Justice Tetley found Michael guilty September 28 2011 on 15 of the 19 charges.
In addition, Fraser Health in British Columbia has filed to find Michael in contempt of court and impose a $55,000 fine (case to be heard November 2nd 2011).
On September 29th, in the face of continued persecution by the Provincial governments for his “crime” of believing that informed consumers should be able to choose what they eat and drink, Michael Schmidt started the Hunger Strike for Responsible Food Freedom.
On that day, the 29th of September, Michael Schmidt stopped eating and he drinks only water, which he has continued to this day. Ever a gentleman, he doesn’t demand. He asks:
I respectfully ask that the Ontario and BC governments agree to a constructive dialogue on how we can provide a framework to enable people to make real choices about their food and what they eat, beginning with raw milk and the implementation of a framework that grants legal standing for cow share operations in Ontario and BC. This objective also includes the end of the current prosecutions of cow shares which meet proper production standards.
You can see the text of a letter he sent to Dalton McGuinty here.
The Grey Bruce Health Unit of Ontario, Canada’s public health service now intends to file charges against Schmidt. His crime? Distribution of raw milk—free, not sold—at a rally in his benefit. As Schmidt said, “They seem to be just full of vengeance to get me. It has nothing to do with the safety of people.”
They found nothing harmful, of course. All they managed to do was show that the milk had not been pasteurized. They didn’t even attempt to suggest that the people who received the milk were unaware.
Rather than acknowledge the large number of people who support Schmidt and his strike, McGuinty has deleted their comments from his Facebook page—and blocked the people who made them. Their crime? Urging McGuinty to meet with Schmidt.
Dr. Hazel Lynn, of the Grey Bruce Health Unit, tries to demean Schmidt by saying that a hunger strike is “not a rational way of dealing with the problem”. Would she would describe Gandhi, who achieved his nation’s freedom from British rule through hunger strikes and their symbolism to bolster peaceful protests, as irrational?
The Canadian government has stolen Michael Schmidt’s business. They have declared him a criminal. All he has done is his very best to provide a high quality and safe product that large numbers of people want and many say is necessary for their good health.
Michael Schmidt has tried everything possible to maintain the rights of everyone to access raw milk. He is quite clear that the issue is not only milk, but also our right to eat the foods we choose. He says:
I have seen the aftermath of a situation where people didn’t rise up when there was still time to rise up…This is more serious than most people think. What I’m asking is not impossible. I’m not asking that the laws be changed right away…I’m asking that the harassment of farmers be stopped, that people have a right to make a choice in the foods they eat, and that we start a constructive dialogue.
Only a person who supports a totalitarian government could possibly disagree with that.
The Food Freedom site has been very active in promoting action for Michael Schmidt. They ask people to please, write to and phone Canadian government officials. Here’s contact information that they’ve provided:
A Facebook page to support Michael Schmidt is active and has many people knowledgeable about the current status of Michael’s fast. It has grown to well over 4,000 supporters in less than a month. There is currently a faxing campaign in his support. Also, there is a pre-existing Facebook site, Raw Milk, that is supporting Michael.
The Canadian Freedom Foundation is taking donations for Michael. They also promote his cause.
If you’re able, you can join in the hunger strike. Max Kane, a raw milk promoter who is facing his own battles with the US government, has.
More information is available from these excellent sites: