[permaculture] [Fwd: BD Now! Farm-to-Consumer Defense Fund]

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lflj at intrex.net
Wed Apr 9 03:09:08 EDT 2008



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: BD Now! Farm-to-Consumer Defense Fund
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2008 23:12:53 -0700
From: Jacqueline Freeman <friendlyhaven at gmail.com>
Reply-To: Biodynamic Food and Farming Discussion <bdnow at envirolink.org>
To: BD Now! <bdnow at envirolink.org>

(from Jacqueline)


We just got the newsletter from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.
This is a very active group who is committed to protecting the right of
farmers to sell to their customers and for consumers to buy from farms.


We became members at the start of the year and I would encourage more of you
in the U.S. to do the same. Farms can join for $125/yr and you can space out
payments, too. This gives you access to their legal department, too, who
will go to bat for you if you need legal help or advice. If you're not a
farm and want to preserve the rights of regular people to buy from a farm,
you can join for $50. Money well spent, in our book.


Here's what the newsletter reports on raw milk laws, NAIS and why you can't
vaccinate your way to health.


Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund

www.farmtoconsumer.org


This first quarter of the year has been a whirlwind of activity.  Many
cowshare and herdshare agreements have been created by our legal team; our
farms are beginning the preparation for crop plantings; our animals are
enjoying the first Spring grass.  We are truly blessed.  And with that comes
the insidious actions of some of our government agencies.  Weekly, our
office receives calls from farmers who have government officials on the way
to their farm.  There are many farms that receive letters of harassment from
these officials.  Whether you own a farm or not, these actions affect us
all.  It feels like the screws are being tightened.



As you read this newsletter, think of ways you can effect change in our
government.  Ponder upon the next letter you are going to fax to your
government representatives or the next call you will make.  Consider
spreading the news to your family and friends.  Look into your heart and
honor these freedoms with your donation.  Together, we can enjoy freedom for
our animals, our farms and ourselves!

Temporary Victory - and A Long Road Ahead!


A California court has issued a temporary restraining order that prevents
the state from enforcing AB1735, the law that sets unreasonable and
impractical standards for raw milk farmers in California.  This is an
important victory!  But the temporary restarining order is just that -
temporary.  On the horizon are two more big, and expensive, steps to raw
milk freedom - the April 25, 2008 preliminary injunction haring and the
ultimate trial.  A win in California will be a win for raw milk farmers and
consumers everywhere.



Each of these steps require a huge amount of financial resources.  We need
your help now!



Our sister organization, the Farm-to-Consumer Foundation, is helping us pay
the attorneys who are fighting to protect raw milk in California.  These
attorneys have the skill and the strategy to see this through.  Combine
their skill with the financial resources of the tens of thousands of raw
milk farmers and consumers across the country, we will succeed!


Action Alert! Comment Period Closing on NAIS Business Plan!

The USDA released a draft Business Plan for implementing NAIS (National
Animal Identification System) in December 2007.  It left the comment period
open, with no end date mentioned.  The USDA recently announced that the
comment period will close on April 15, one week from today.



You can read the Business Plan and other documents at
http://farmandranchfreedom.org/content/Government-documents



TAKE ACTION #1:  Submit Comments.  In its release of the Business Plan, the
USDA stated that it sought comments on the released documents or other
aspects of NAIS, so you don't have to limit your comments strictly to the
Business Plan.  Send your comments to:  animalidcomments at aphis.usda.gov, or
by mail to NAIS Program Staff, USDA, APHIS, VS  4700 River Road, Unit 200,
Riverdale, MD 20737.

It's important that people submit individualized comments, not form
letters.  Talking points are included below to help you develop what you
would like to say.



TAKE ACTION #2:  Send a copy of your comments to your Representative and
Senators.  It is critical that Congress knows that people are notifying the
USDA of their objections to NAIS and that your Congressmen understand your
objections!  You can find contact information for your elected officials at
www.congress.org.



TALKING POINTS ON DRAFT BUSINESS PLAN

Below are some talking points on the problems with the document.  Don't be
limited by these suggestions!  Read the document, write your own comments,
and be sure to contact your Congressman as well as the USDA.  Please refer
to Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance for more detailed analysis.



     * One of the fundamental problems is that the USDA starts with the
assumption that NAIS is a positive program, and the only question is how to
implement it.  The USDA has not addressed the numerous concerns raised by
animal owners regarding whether the program is needed or practical.


     * The agency still has not provided any scientific evidence to support
the program.  In particular, the agency has provided no basis for its claim
that 48 hour tracking is "optimal" for disease control, the basic premise of
NAIS.


     * The agency still has not completed a cost-benefit analysis.  No
business would develop a Business Plan for implementing a program without
such an analysis.


     * The USDA continues to ignore lower cost and less burdensome options.
Although it mentions the "bookend" approach (p.12 of the Bus. Plan), it
clearly views this as simply a step along the path to tracking every
movement.


     * The Business Plan proposes to track every horse that needs a
certificate of veterinary inspection or Coggins test when moved (p.26).
Because of state regulations, this would include many horse owners who never
even go to shows, but who simply go on a local trail ride or take their
horses to a breeding facility.  The Business Plan also proposes to establish
a national Coggins testing requirement, bringing in yet more horse owners.


     * The Business Plan proposes using breed registries to implement NAIS
(p. 28).  This method would create economic coercion on people whose animals
would have little economic value without registration.


     * The Business Plan makes it clear that the USDA plans to use existing
disease control programs to promote NAIS (p. 30).  Yet, as with the entire
NAIS program, the USDA has failed to show why this change is necessary or
cost-effective.


     * The USDA confuses the goal of "expanded electronic government" with
imposing an electronic-based system on individuals (p. 32).  NAIS is not
just about government agencies using electronic systems, it is about
requiring individuals to use such systems regardless of their objections.


     * The USDA continues to promote the cooperative agreements with states
(p.36).  Yet the USDA has refused to address the problems that have happened
because of those agreements, including mandatory or coercive programs being
implemented in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Colorado, Illinois, N. Carolina
and elsewhere.  The USDA cannot continue to rely on cooperative agreements
to implement this unpopular program while avoiding responsibility for the
outcomes.


     * The species working groups (p.37) are fundamentally flawed.  They are
largely composed of large industry interests and technology companies, and
provide little representation for the millions of small farmers,
homesteaders, and pet owners who will be impacted by NAIS.


     * The plan to use veterinarians to promote NAIS (p.38) is likely to lead
to distrust on the part of many animal owners.  Anything that discourages
animal owners from seeking help from veterinarians is counterproductive for
disease control.


     * The USDA ignores the technology problems that have been apparent in
trials of the NAIS technology (p. 40).  With electronic identification
already mandatory in Michigan, animal owners deserve a better answer than
feel-good claims that the technology will "continue to improve."


Review of 2008 Raw Milk Legislation

by: Pete Kennedy

The increasing popularity of raw milk has not translated into success in
passing pro-raw milk legislation at the state level.  Since the Colorado
legislature passed a bill legalizing cow shares in 2005, no significant
legislation favorable to raw milk has passed anywhere in the country.
Unfortunately, the news for this year has not been much different.  Some
excellent bills have been introduced but, up to this point, none have passed
into law.  What follows is a brief summary of efforts made this year.  For
the full article, please visit www.ftcldf.org.



ALASKA - State Representative Mark Neuman sponsored HB367, a bill to
legalize the sale of raw milk and raw milk products in Alaska.  Under
current law, raw milk can only be distributed through cow share programs.
Neuman introduced the bill in response to the shutdown last fall of the only
dairy plant operating in the southeastern part of the state.  The regions'
four licensed dairies have ben dumping the majority of their milk ever
since.


MARYLAND - For the second year in a row, a bill attempting to legalize the
unregulated sale of raw milk and raw milk products was introduced.  HB147
would have exempted direct sales to consumers from regulation under the
state dairy code.  This bill is a model for legislation that the FTCLDF
would like to see passed in every state.  In too many states where the
regulated sale of raw milk is legal, burdensome laws and enforcement make it
difficult for small farmers to prosper.


MISSOURI - Missouri law currently provides an exception to the state's
general prohibition on the sale of raw milk allowing farmers to sell raw
milk or cream on the farm and through delivery.  There is a long-standing
tradition in the state of farmers selling under this exception without a
permit.  In the summer and fall of 2007, the state Milk Board issued warning
letters to a half dozen farmers claiming that a producer could not sell
under the exception without first obtaining a permit from the Milk Board.
In response to the Board's action, state Rep. Belinda Harris issued HB1901,
a bill to clarify the law governing raw milk sales in Missouri.  HB1901
establishes that a permit is not necessary to sell under the exception and
that the Milk Board only has jurisdiction over those unlicensed producers
selling raw milk if it has reasonable cause to believe that the milk being
sold is adulterated as defined by state law.  The bill has broad support and
28 sponsors.


VERMONT - Under current Vermont law, raw milk producers can sell only 2
quarts a day on the farm and no advertising is permitted.  "The Farm Fresh
Milk Restoration Act of 2008" (H.616) was introduced in January in order to
expand opportunities for raw milk sales.  The original bill would permit
unlimited sales of raw milk on the farm and through delivery.  The bill
breaks new ground in the way it provides for regulation of producers selling
raw milk.



Most bills on any subject take more than one legislative session to pass
into law.  Supporters of raw milk in the four states now have more
experience and a better understanding of how the legislative process works
in their respective states that will help them prepare for the next
session.  With the continued growth in the demand for raw milk, a bill will
pass.


You Can't Vaccinate Your Way to Health - Editorial

Government eradication programs almost always end in failure  (Part 1 of 3)

By:  William G. Winter, DVM

Saying government eradication programs virtually never work runs counter to
conventional wisdom.  But, as George Orwell so graphically illustrated in
his landmark book 1984, anything repeated often enough passes for the truth
after awhile.  Even bald-faced lies.



The government agencies' basic approach to cases of suspected
"contamination" or"contagion" is block-headed and monolithic.  There are
some standard characteristics:


1)  Round up, quarantine and isolate the suspects.  Quite often this
includes a security band of innocents who were unlucky enough to be
proximate to the suspects.  Bummer.

2)  Mark them in some way to make them identifiable, such as a tattoo, or,
nowadays a microchip.

3)  Devise a "test" to judge the guilty.

4)  Ideally, exterminate (kill) the contaminated ones as well as those who
may have been exposed, or at the very least, lock the bad guys up and throw
away the key.

5)  Activate(and subsidized)  industry to find a "silver bullet" that will
cure the horrible plague.


   Thousands of examples abound in modern culture.  We are seeing the last of
the majestic American Elms being thrown into the shredders in an attempt to
kill the Dutch Elm Virus.  Sure it kills the patient but, as Big Brother
teaches us, that's the only way to save the patient.  When the last elm on
earth is safely shredded and buried in the landfill, we will at last have
won the war against Dutch Elm Disease.  Mission accomplished!


   Around the world, sharpshooters and guardsmen have declared war on several
animal diseases.  Using the blockhead model, a determination is made that
the "Intruder Alert" alarm has gone off.  All it takes is the suspicion of
illness in many cases.  Immediately, the process begins and woe to you if
you stand in the way.  We are currently seeing the scramble alert approach
wherein we have declared simultaneous war on bovine TB, brucellosis, chronic
wasting, bovine spongiform encephalapathy, and avian flu to name a few.  No
one seems to notice that the number of wars are increasing.  Meanwhile, old
diseases such a malaria, bubonic plague and polio, earlier losers that were
beaten in our previous war campaigns, are now crawling out of the Mission
Accomplished trophy room.


   In summary, as the current thinking goes, if only we had a better, more
efficient way to line up these contaminated ones, then we could create the
model for quicker sorting, marking, judging, and exterminating these bad
apples.  Then we could work on the magic bullets for the rest of us, right?
What is truly happening here?



Part II - a) If this model is so ineffective, why do we stick to it then?
and

b) Vaccine manufacturing is a very, very big business


Part III - Getting out of the box.  A truly superior model of what really
works to prevent disease.



With Highest Regards,



Taaron Meikle

Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund

www.farmtoconsumer.org

1-703-208-FARM (3276)
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