The Canadian press has been aggressively pursuing the story of the government’s abuse of Michael Schmidt and his raw milk Glencolton Farms. Moreover, with just one blatant exception (the usual scare trash), the media coverage has been fairly straightforward, and informative. The Toronto Star’s story is typical (except for the misleading headline). All this in contrast to the American media’s paucity of attention (with the exception of BusinessWeek.com) to a half dozen similar cases in California, Michigan, and Ohio.
Two key developments:
1. Michael’s hunger strike has already won him important political points. The national site, cNews, reports that Ontario’s finance minister is a big raw milk consumer, and proponent. "I have long been a proponent for a safe, effective, highly regulated system of distributing raw milk," the finance minister, Greg Sorbara, is quoted as saying. A member of Ontario’s parliament is reported to be introducing legislation to open the whole matter to debate next week. The province’s premier remains opposed to allowing the distribution of raw milk. But clearly, major cracks have already developed in the Ontario offensive, and I suspect the cracks will only grow wider as sympathy for Michael expands.
2. The media are exposing the abusive approach of the regulatory and police authorites. There are great stories in the Canadian Press, part of the Canada.com network, and the Globe and Mail about how the police and public health authorities surrounded a bus yesterday (Tuesday) from which Michael distributes milk to cow share owners. (Excuse a reporter’s use of the term "sells.") The goons didn’t have a search warrant, and Michael and his associates told them to get lost. After an hour of shuffling around, that is just what they did. This effort at intimidation follows up on a huge raid by about 20 agents at the farm last week.
Today’s press conference at a popular restaurant in Toronto appears to have gone well. Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation passed around glasses of raw milk for a toast to Michael. While the case is a travesty, the protest is gaining traction…hopefully enough so that Michael can get back to regular eating sooner rather than later. As I said in yesterday’s column, such injustices are usually overcome mainly by the bravery of a few individuals, supported by many others.