Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Just Another Infuriating Abusive Intrusion on Liberty

Government at its worst ...

For those of you interested in food freedom, Vernon Hershberger, an Amish father of ten children, is currently being tried for producing and distributing raw milk in Wisconsin, and could face up to $10,000 in fines and three years of jail time. My understanding is that he worked out an arrangement with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) in 2003 where the agency ruled that it would be legal for him to distribute raw milk through means of a private contract with consumers. He established a farm store that was open only to those who signed the contract, and sold raw milk there. In 2009, the agency made an about-face (perhaps because of pressure from the FDA?), raided his farm, destroyed 300 gallons of his milk, and began militantly persecuting him.

The prosecution is charging him with operating a "retail establishment" without a license, and its strategy is to disallow him from presenting evidence that 1) he is not operating a retail establishment, 2) he didn't need a license, 3) he couldn't have gotten a license anyway because he was selling raw milk, and 4) he is being pursued by the Wisconsin DATCP because he was producing and distributing raw milk. The judge has mostly enabled the prosecution thus far. In fact, he has so stringently forbidden any mention of raw milk at the trial that he forbid Mark McAfee, attending the trial as a member of the public, from wearing a "got raw milk?" shirt, which the judge declared was "heinous nonsense." Another woman attending the trial as a member of the public was forbidden from wearing a shirt that read "got initiative?" because the judge ruled it was an "implied reference to raw milk."

If you'd like to keep up with the trial, here are some useful links:

* VernonHershberger.Com and the links therein
* David Gumpert's blog, The Complete Patient: The Business of Your Health
* David Gumpert's Facebook page

Here's to day when the citizenry demands that governments defend liberty.

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