Letter sent by college professor to California District Attorney, regarding goat share issue. Please note: this letter has been edited to disguise the identity of the author and recipient.
I have been following with horror the story of our Farm. I understand that you shut down the farm and its operations requiring owners to obtain a license granted by CDFA. There are of course no health reasons to shut down the farm. There are no rational reasons either, no previous problems, no lawsuits, not even complaints about this farm. There is no research that can point to any threat either. As you know, no sale to the public occurs, only to share owners, thus there are no public health concerns either.
The reasons for closing down this farm are purely political and very bad ones at that. This “license” requirement is bogus of course. I hope you do not think that any of your constituents are actually buying this maneuver. This certification process essentially means that the legislation is set such that small farms cannot afford to obtain the license and thus cannot survive. The bar is set so high that it is not affordable to small dairy farms, and they will have to go out of business. Basically your actions indicate that you do not allow small farms to exist but only large commercial ones. In forcing the farm to obtain a license you have a big hand in creating a market in which only large businesses can operate with no possibility for small businesses to exist.
The worst part of reading the literature about this case was learning that you have a choice whether to pursue this case or not. Challenging you on legal grounds is not the purpose of this letter as I am not a lawyer. I am, however, a college professor in philosophy at a local University and I am writing this letter in this capacity. My area of specialty is ethics and political theory. This case is of great interest to me and my students, and it culminates several issues I teach throughout the semester: democracy, social justice, civil rights, free market capitalism, and citizens responsibility when voting. I always include current material in my classes, and this is a perfect case study since it encompasses the above issues, all of which you, the D.A., violate.
This is a private herd share business, run with a legal contract called herd share agreement. Closing down this farm violates my constitutional right to draw a contract. Your actions indicate no respect for democracy.
Do people have a right to buy and sell commodities that are legal? Since raw milk is legal, under what pretence is the DA forbidding private sale? Your actions show no respect for civil rights.
This case is about free market capitalism. If the legislation and regulations are set such that small businesses cannot operate, is this a free market? Your actions violate the principle of free market with excessive and unnecessary regulation and in this case restrict the market only to large businesses.
Should voters know that the district attorney goes after small sustainable organic farms?
You are an elected official. I am going to make sure every one of my students knows you and your deputy by name and knows what you are doing to this small farm. I am going to assign my students a paper on this case. If possible, I will invite the farmers to make a presentation in my classes and tell my students their story. Further, if it is possible, I will have them bring one of their goats since this might be one of the last chances to see such a beautiful healthy goat.
This case is a horror story for anyone who believes in democracy, civil rights, free market or any kind of social justice. This is a case of financial tyranny and not democracy. Beyond the political analysis here, personally I find your actions both callous and even malicious.
If you decide to drop this case, and every single ethical and political principle I can think of indicates you should, I’ll still teach this class, but this time with a happy ending in which the D.A. stood up for democracy, civil rights and small businesses.
Lastly, unlike you who held all the meetings in closed chambers, my class is open to you and your deputy and associates. You are welcome to attend the class I will teach about you.
This post is part of the Fight Back Friday blog carnival, fight for your real food rights on FoodRenegade.com!