We don’t need no education
We dont need no thought control.
–Lyrics from The Wall by Pink Floyd
Scott Trautman, Don’t Build That Wall!
by Kimberly Hartke
I woke up this morning with screaming in my brain, “NOOOOO! Don’t succumb, don’t let them do it!” It was a George Orwell moment. The rude wakening shook me to the core.
On Monday, I interviewed Bill Anderson, the cheesemaker who is anxious to make artisan raw cheese with Scott Trautman’s grassfed milk.
Bill told me that standing in the way was the rejection of Scott’s milking parlor by the Wisconsin state authorities. I knew from the tour of Scott’s farm the night before the 2nd Annual International Raw Milk Symposium, that this New Zealand style milking parlor was approved by the state just 3 short years ago. It is so clean, Scott served a sit down dinner party for 60 of us, inside the barn.
There was no smell of manure, no taint of dust. Quite a contrast to the factory barn I had toured earlier in the day, where the farmer could never have entertained guests. My hair still stank of noxious manure late that night in the hotel room from the first farm tour.
“Bill, what is it that Scott has to do to pass inspection,” I quizzed?
“He must add a wall, and a ceiling,” Bill explained.
“What does a ceiling have to do with safe milk,” I asked incredulously.
“It is not up to code,” he poo poo’d the idea with his tone of voice.
The rules as applied by Food Safety in our case take an open design flat 8 stanchion barn-parlor, in a multi-use building, and close it entirely in. Making it far less desirable to be in; more in need of mechanical ventilation; creating of wet areas where there is no ventilation possible with walls.
We have what is considered a “dry” parlor. We do not need to spray down the floor, creating hundreds of gallons of waste soup. We do not promote bacterial growth with dry, naturally ventilated and kept clean environment.
The wall would completely separate the holding area (where cows waiting to be milked wait) from the ‘parlor’. What exactly is going to crawl off whatever and across 8 ft of cement and do something bad to a cow no one can explain reasonably. But they can site a rule, and if you’re lucky, a fantastic story about a remote possibility as the reason for the rule.
What we use this separated but open – rather than closed off by a wall – area for
- ventilation, drying is rapid and complete under all circumstances with this design. ALL circumstances, with little needed from us (an ideal practice – occurs automatically but not mechanically (breakage)!).
We are actively observing ALL COW BEHAVIOR while milking. Social order/interaction, acting (off by self, ears/head down, any non-normal behavior etc.), – behavior in a semi-relaxed environment – which is the holding area. Approximately 1/3 of our concern (health) observations come from this area alone. Another 1/3 from the actual milking parlor, and 1/3 from field/pasture observation. On busy days (many in season), it is the single best evaluation situation, as 2 milkers are on duty, observations are discussed, they can be observed more closely, and any action taken.
Close that off: It is isolated. The only observation is when you open the door to let the next group in, reducing observation time dramatically. Windows: Limiting then to sight. Hearing is critical. Direct observation with proximity is far superior to indirect. Read more of Scott’s post here.
Why was I silently screaming?
I don’t want this farmer to cave. I don’t want him to accept these demands as his fate. His is the kind of farm I want to procure fresh milk from. If this can happen in his state, it can happen anywhere.
The unfeeling bureaucracy wants to take this artisan dairy and turn it into a factory, regardless of the wishes of the farmer and his patrons. Scott wants to remain one with his animals. He desires intimacy and wants to sense the mood of each heifer. He wants to remain a small scale farm. But walls will put a wedge between him and his herd.
The wall will lead to having to hire help to tend to the cows on the other side of the wall. And this is where it starts. The steady slow slide into treating the cows as cogs in a wheel, a means to an end. More expenses will mean more shortcuts. Infrastructure costs will force growth to maintain the farm net income.
Before Scott knows it he will not recognize his farm as his own. It will be the state’s farm that he attends. He will go from husbandman to dancing bear. The government says dance, and he will dance, or else.
The milk from his farm that people are now clamoring for, will decline in quality as the pressures to perform increase.
Dear reader, farmers don’t like CAFO’s. Our government regulations are creating them. That is what is so wrongheaded about the Humane Society and Peta efforts to end animal cruelty. They think that we can regulate it away.
The unhappy factory dairy farmer I met recently told me “the government wants my cows on concrete, the government says I must disinfect the udders with iodine that has all kinds of additives, I am sure they are winding up in the milk. If it was up to me, I would use something else.”
I asked him, “Would you ever consider putting your cows out on your lovely fields where you grow their feed?”
His response, “They won’t let me.”
The bureaucratic mindset defies common sense, outlaws individual thinking and invention.
Perhaps this is why farmers like Scott Trautman and Max Kane are considered so dangerous (see my blog post about Trautman Farm being shut down and my blog post about Max Kane being deemed an enemy of the state). They are independent thinkers who want to produce and offer a superior product. These men want to go beyond the conventional food system which is treating animals like hostages, producing mediocre food with inferior nutrition.
But the state and corporations dominating our food supply are more afraid of us, the educated consumers, who are moving toward these natural, humanely produced foods in large numbers. We are the change agents that scare them the most. We are not so easily controlled.
Wake up America, it’s 1984. Real food is now illegal. Only government food is allowed. All farms must be factories. All farmers must submit their will to the state and agribusiness. Animals will live in brutal conditions. This is the law of our land, and will be even more so with the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
This monstrous act gives the FDA unbridled power to dictate farming practices, shut down farms at will, assess huge penalties for non-compliance. Any farmer who goes his own way will be a criminal.
Big Brother wants to protect you from yourself, and keep you weak and sickly, mentally compromised so you can’t resist.
Millions will see this happening, and wake up like I did this morning, screaming in their minds, saying “NOOOO!”
Big Brother is making a Big Mistake. He underestimates our will to survive. Our will to thrive.
Kimberly Hartke is a raw dairy proponent and the publicist for realmilk.com, a project of the Weston A. Price Foundation. She blogs about raw milk and other health and nutrition issues on hartkeisonline.com.
This post is part of Fight Back Fridays, a food activists’ blog carnival. See more provocative posts on Food Renegade blog.