Farmer Begins Hunger Strike

28 Nov 2006

Early last Tuesday morning Glencolton Farm near Durham, in Grey County, southwestern Ontario, was raided by the officials from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Natural Resources who impounded milk operations equipment and forbade farmer Michael Schmidt from selling raw milk to his cow share program consisting of 150 raw milk consumers across the province.

Schmidt is a cheesemaker and a keeper of several endangered breeds of animals. His stock includes one of Canada’s largest herds of Canadienne Cows, a breed listed in the Slow Food Ark of Taste.

In 1995, Schmidt was put on two year’s probation after defending his right to continue with his raw milk production through court hearings. He stated clearly at that time that he intended to continue selling raw milk and serving his growing consumer base, but letters he wrote to the government ministers concerned received no response.

At a press conference on his farm on Thursday, Schmidt announced that would go on a hunger strike until all of the equipment, documents and other items removed from this farm have been returned. He claimed that he government has to agree to be financially liable for the personal property of cow shareowners, and to agree in writing that the farm should be left alone to carry on its service to the 150 raw milk consumers, until and unless all of the issues have been dealt with in court or in the Legislative Assembly or House of Parliament.
The government’s view is that production should not continue until the case has been settled in court, but this effectively puts Schmidt out of business.

Click here to read Michael Schmidt’s statement to the press (in PDF format).

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