WI Judge to Zinniker, FTCLDF: No “Fundamental Right” to Own a Cow, or Consume Its Milk…Am I Making Myself Clear?
Judge Patrick J. FiedlerThose raw milk proponents advocating “teach, teach, teach” may want to enroll Wisconsin Judge Patrick J. Fiedler in their first class–in the kindergarten section.
In response to a request from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, the judge issued a clarification of his decision last week regarding his assessment of the constitutionality of food rights. The judge expanded on his original statement that such constitutional issues are “wholly without merit.”
He explained that the FTCLDF arguments were “extremely underdeveloped.” As an example, he said the plaintiffs’ use of the Roe v Wade abortion rights case as a precedent does “not explain why a woman’s right to have an abortion translates to a right to consume unpasteurized milk…This court is unwilling to declare that there is a fundamental right to consume the food of one’s choice without first being presented with significantly more developed arguments on both sides of the issue.” Gee, I thought they both had to do with the right to decide what to do with your own body.
As if to show how pissed he was at being questioned, he said his decision translates further that “no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a dairy herd;
“no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow;”
And in a kind of exclamation point, he added this to his list of no-nos: “no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice…”
You have to wonder if maybe even the regulators are getting a tad uncomfortable with the rulings coming from the nation’s judiciary on food rights. Many of these individuals, biased as they are against raw milk, dabble in farming to some extent, or grew up on farms. This judge has gone way beyond what many of them have come to assume–that everyone has the right to own a cow and consume its milk Even in places that ban raw milk sales, there’s nearly always a provision in state law that anyone who owns a cow has the right to consume its milk.
It seems Judge Fiedler is saying it’s not a “fundamental right,” but rather a right granted us by the state.
According to the judge’s interpretation of Wisconsin law under the original decision, only “a license holder” or an individual “who has a bona fide ownership interest in the milk producer” can make milk available. The judge added in this new interpretation: “Finally, it is clear from their motion to clarify that the Plaintiffs still fail to recognize that they are not merely attempting to enforce their ‘right’ to own a cow and board it at a farm. Instead, Plaintiffs operate a dairy farm (Emphasis added). As this court already said in its decision and order, if Plaintiffs want to continue to operate their dairy farm then they must do so in a way that complies with the laws of Wisconsin.”
Is it safe to say that under the judge’s interpretation, anyone who owns a cow operates a dairy farm? I don’t think I want the judge’s answer to that question. If you live in Wisconsin, it seems you have only one remaining choice, a highly personal choice, if you truly do believe you have certain “fundamental rights.”
At long last, a major media outlet is giving credence to European studies suggesting that raw milk reduces the incidence of asthma and allergies in children. (This is a followup study indicating that it’s a protein killed in pasteurization that provides the allergies/asthma protection.) Yes. Fox News plays up all the warnings about raw milk’s dangers, but discerning consumers will get the message. If the scientific research says it’s good, and the FDA and CDC say it’s bad, well, it must be good.