|Call Your Senators and Legislators Urge Them to Co-Sponsor the Raw Milk Bill
Co-Sponsorship of LRB 0306/2 (Senate) and LRB 1531/1
(Assembly) Allowing the Sale of Raw Milk
DEADLINE: April 4, 2011 - Monday
We are reintroducing legislation that would permit the sale of raw milk directly from Wisconsin farmers to consumers. Raw milk has been a staple of Wisconsin and American diets for many generations and it has been consumed for many years without negative health effects by these families.
Twenty-eight states currently allow for the sale of raw milk, including our neighbors in Minnesota. Wisconsin, the Dairy State, currently has no exceptions for the sale of raw milk directly from farms to consumers. This bill simply allows those who want the choice to drink raw milk to have the right to purchase this product directly from Wisconsin family farms.
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BACKGROUNDLast year's public hearing on the Raw Milk bill in Eau Claire
Last spring over 700 people came to Eau Claire to speak at the public hearing for the Raw Milk bill. Over 600 of these people were there because they were in favor of legalizing the sale of raw milk in Wisconsin. The legislators listened all day long and into the evening and they went back to their colleagues in the legislature and said this bill is what the people want and will be good for the state of Wisconsin in many ways. The Senate and Assembly voted overwhelming in favor of the Raw Milk Bill. The last step needed was Governor Doyle's signature. Due to pressure from the corporate dairy industry and a few medical associations, Governor Doyle vetoed the bill to prevent it from becoming law.
We are again bringing a Raw Milk bill through the legislative process. The people who are opposed to raw milk sales in Wisconsin, namely lobbyists of the dairy industry are using the same objections as they did last year.
REBUTTAL TO OBJECTIONSThe first reason lobbyists give for not allowing people to choose the food they want for their families: Fear or belief that Raw Milk sales will hurt the $26.5 billion Wisconsin dairy industry because someone might get sick from drinking raw milk that came directly from a farm. There is no proof to these statements.
FACT: According to David Ward, director of government relations and dairy for the Cooperative Network, over 95% of milk produced in Wisconsin is turned into cheese. This means that of the $26.5 billion WI dairy industry, 95% is processed into cheese. Over $25.2 billion of the WI dairy industry is cheese. A comparison of milk prices and sales volumes over several years shows no correlation to reported foodborne illness outbreaks due to the consumption of raw milk.
Questions Worth Asking: Do the lobbyists stop buying cheese when there is a reported illness from raw milk? Do these lobbyists go home and throw out all the cheese they have in their refrigerator? Why do lobbyists want to deny people their choice of the food they want? Where else in the food industry are people denied the right to choose the food they want? How do these lobbyists or their employers benefit from taking away people's right to choose the food they want?
The second reason lobbyists give for not allowing people to choose the food they want for their families: Using the "fear factor", lobbyists cite fear of sickness and death. They even use the excuse that the children may die, therefore, they must take away the rights of seemingly uninformed parents to support their interests.
FACT: Based on a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published in 2008, the average number of people in the U.S. drinking raw milk in a 2006-2007 sampling was 3.0% of the population, ranging from 2.3% in Minnesota to 3.8% in Georgia. The population in the United States in late 2007 was about 302,000,000. Thus if someone drank raw milk 3 years ago, he or she was among NINE MILLION RAW MILK DRINKERS (the survey sampled all ages, including children under 12). With the increases in raw milk consumption in recent years, there is no doubt the number of people consuming raw milk today exceeds 10 million.
FACT: According to CDC website, the number of deaths attributed to raw milk consumption is very small. It is much less than the deaths attributed to raw vegetables per capita and much less than deaths attributed to deli meats per capita as well as many other foods people choose to consume.
Questions Worth Asking: If 3% of the Wisconsin population (now about 5.6 million) is consuming raw milk as suggested by the national average in the CDC survey, where are all the sick and dying among the 169,680 raw milk drinkers in Wisconsin? If the government is going to apply the rule of "zero tolerance due to fear of illness and dying" for raw milk, what about smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, high sugar or diet carbonated soft drinks, etc. that have all been accepted as freedom of choice and all are known to be much more damaging to the health of people? Why are these choices allowed but not the choice to consume raw milk?
This year lobbyists have organized the Wisconsin Safe Milk Coalition to oppose the Raw Milk bill even before legislators have an opportunity to ask for their constituents' opinions on having the right to choose the food they want for their families. We are not asking to put raw milk in stores, hospitals or schools. The sale of raw milk at the farm level is a win-win-win for the consumer to have access to the food of choice, for farmers to receive a fair price for dairy products, and for the community to benefit from money circulating in the local economy.
For more information on the benefits and nutritional value of raw milk, visit the Campaign for Real Milk at www.realmilk.com
REBUTTAL TO OBJECTIONS
We are a group of concerned citizens around the state and country. If you want to help us fight the fight, please let us know! There is much we can do together. Please plan to contact us this way:
Mailing Address: PO Box 143, New Holstein, WI 53061
To join a newly formed online group in which we can get together and chat from around the country about topics at hand and also spread important information, go to www.WisRawMilkAssociation.com
Posted April 1, 2011