Cow-Share Member Speaks Out About her Decision to Drink Raw Milk
The following is reposted from www.realfoodchoice.org and is written by Sharon Priest Nagata, M.Ed., RCC. It is very interesting to read as it highlights just how much thought and research goes into each cowshare member’s decision to get good, grass-fed, raw milk. Cowshare members seek out raw milk without being advertised to daily on billboards, in magazines, on tv or on the radio. No one is twisting their arms, putting millions of dollars into studying their habits so as to best sell them on this delicious natural product. She makes very good points:
The issue of whether or not you should legislate against the right to consume raw milk products is once more in the forefront for many of us, and please do inform yourselves properly. I used to be squeamish about consuming raw milk, believing as I imagine you do that it’s bad for us.
Turns out that fresh raw milk from small dairies has many many health benefits while processed pasteurized milk doesn’t. I know the big dairies have to pasteurize because their milk comes from many sources and it is not consumed within a few days but rather needs to have a shelf life. It is much harder to monitor huge dairy herds than tiny ones like Our Cows Herdshare and it is in the public interest that the government insist that this milk (from large dairies who sell their milk to ANONYMOUS consumers) be pasteurized before consumption.
Those of us who choose to use new raw milk and butter do so voluntarily, carefully, and at some inconvenience to ourselves. We go out of our way and pay a premium to feed ourselves and our families with beautiful milk that comes from older breeds of cow (not genetically modified to have huge udders) who live in small herds and spend their lives as domestic cows always did until recently. In the Fraser Valley there are many many dairy farms and NO COWS OUTSIDE, ever, except for the small herds on the Laity farm and a few others, including the one under fire right now for selling raw milk. These rather fragile animals spend their lives indoors. They eat pelleted feed (the mad cow disease began with feed that contained animal byproducts, as you will recall, not from cows that lounge about eating grass) and when they get sick or injured, which is far more likely to happen in huge herds in close quarters, the farmers have to decide whether to medicate them (and lose their milk for a number of days or weeks) or to ship them for beef.
I think I understand the dilemma that faces the agriculture industries and the health ministries: the vast majority of us are NOT eating good food. We are eating what we are sold on, and told to eat by our governments. Unfortunately, the health information you post is not actually up to date: we have been sold a bill of goods on “healthy” fats, for example. I know you’re probably too busy, I really do know that: but there is some interesting research by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride that indicates many of us are suffering from inadequate gut flora as a result of eating processed foods, not being breast fed as infants, and actually inheriting a bad gut from mothers who were also inadequately nourished. We need animal fats, butter for example, to help us digest our other foods, to lubricate the gut and to aid healthy brain function. We need butterfat to digest the calcium in the milk. Lots of things we have taken for granted for a couple of generations need to be rethought.
Back to the dilemma: how do we as a province or a nation provide healthy, affordable food to our populace? The huge increase in demand for organic, fresh, locally produced food, including raw milk if we so choose, is a recent phenomenon and it’s easy to be cynical about it because who can afford this food? Definitely the few, with the smaller families, we think: but ironically this food is not more expensive than the packaged, processed stuff that passes for food nowadays. We’re just not used to paying a lot for produce, meat and milk products. Back yard gardens, back yard chickens, boulevard gardens, community gardens in the downtown areas of our cities…who would have thought? But what a great antidote to scary financial times and uncertain plate tectonics to feel some power in being able to grow, barter for, and obtain good food.
It is the role of government to ensure that our food supply is safe: but not the role of government to paternalistically interfere with small operations that exist so that consumers who want to drink raw milk can do so. We take on any health risks. We challenge you to prove that these small, dedicated groups of farmers are endangering our health. We ask that
you spend the resources of time and money allocated to your ministries wisely and judiciously. Protect those who need protecting, not savvy, educated consumers who are making informed choices about their food (and remaining healthy and less of a burden on the medical system which, in itself, is causing a great deal of harm in overmedicating us and teaching us to rely on it rather than upon ourselves to stay healthy and mobile).
Please do the right thing and stop interfering in food systems that are of
no threat to the mega industries, to the general populace or to our health.
Sharon Priest Nagata, M.Ed., RCC