“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin
Does this man look like a criminal to you? Like someone running a meth lab in his basement? Does he look like a menace to society?
To me, he looks like a farmer. Vernon Hershberger is a family man with a small plot of land in America's dairy state, Wisconsin. He's a man of faith, who tends to his cows and cares for his kids.
I've met Vernon Hershberger in person. He struck me as kind, unassuming, and a good citizen. Not only that, but he makes some of the best raw milk cheese I've ever tasted. And that's high praise coming from me.
Why Is the Government Raiding Small Raw Milk Dairy Farmers?
Why is the Wisconsin state government treating Vernon Hershberger like a criminal? Why are sheriffs wielding guns repeatedly raiding his farm? Why are they confiscating his computers and destroying thousands of dollars worth of his milk and cheese?
Why are they trying to put Vernon out of business? He's providing a service to his community and support his family — milking cows, making cheese, churning butter. What's he doing that's so wrong?
Two words: RAW MILK.
Watch this video produced by raw milk activist, Max Kane (I laughed and I cried):
I spoke to Max on the phone about the video. He told me that they have an “emergency phone tree” set up so farmers can call for help when they're being raided.
When I asked him what Vernon had done wrong, Max said, “They have done nothing wrong.” He said the Hershbergers run a private buying club. If someone wants to buy dairy products from Mr. Hershberger, they he or she must become a members of the buying club and sign a contract.
These people are aware of the risks of consuming unpasteurized dairy products. They know what they are getting into. And yet they insist on buying them anyway.
So why are these government officials so hell-bent on protecting people who don't want to be protected?
Is This Really About Our Safety?
You can buy cigarettes or alcohol in retail outlets across the United States. The annual deaths caused by these products is documented. People know the risks, and they choose to buy them anyway.
If it really is about safety, how come the cops aren't raiding the distilleries and tobacco plants?
If it's about safety, how come no SWAT teams showed up to bust the factory farms that recently produced all those salmonella-tainted eggs, or all the meat with listeria? Where were the cops then?
Raids in California
This isn't just happening in Wisconsin. Another farm raid took place on June 30th here where I live, at my local private buying club, a place called Rawesome in Venice, California.
Here's a video about the Rawesome raid:
What's Going On?
Whether the folks at Rawesome have all the right permits or not, and whether Vernon Hershberger has the right to sell his dairy products to private citizens is not really the issue here.
I'm questioning why our government officials feel the need to raid these buying clubs with guns. Is that really necessary? And why do they need to confiscate all the food?
What is really going on here?
Statement from Michael Schmidt
It is interesting to note that both Hershberger and Rawesome are still in business. Hershberger is openly defying the authorities. His customers, some of them healing from illnesses, rely on their raw milk and he is committed to providing it to them.
I was very moved by this quote from Canadian raw dairy farmer, another hero in the raw milk wars, Michael Schmidt, which I read on The Bovine:
Farmer Vernon Hershberger has changed with his act of defiance the entire dynamic in the raw milk battle in the US.
What Max Kane has done for the consumers, Vernon Hershberger is doing right now for the farmers.
Finally we have a farmer who openly challenges Government bureaucrats with courage and determination. It will be of utmost importance that those who truly believe in individual rights and fundamental freedom to rise up and join Vernon Hershberger.
His act of open resistance will become a milestone in this battle for food rights and fundamental freedom.
Everyone is called upon to stand behind the Hershberg Family in any way possible.
The next weeks will be extremely crucial: this will of defiance will spread like wildfire.
It is not about you and me this is about our children and our future.
Thanks Max Kane and Vernon Hershberger
Regards, Michael Schmidt
How You Can Help
Share this post or share the videos on your blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter. Tweet this post. Remember what happened with Rodney King? When people see injustice, they don't stand for it. Let's make these videos go viral.
Contact your state, local and federal representatives and tell them, in the words of Howard Beale (from the movie Network,)
“I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”
You can also help the Hershbergers by donating to a fund that has been set up for them. I am donating and I encourage you to do the same. Even $10 or $20 would mean a lot.
Click this link to donate on Facebook. If you are not on Facebook and you want to donate, please mail a check to the address below:
Send your checks to:
Grazin' Acres Farm
6145 S Hwy 23
Loganville, WI 53943
(Many thanks to Augie at The Journal of Living Food & Healing for posting that info.)
I also suggest you send a donation to the send a donation to the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund. These are the folks who are helping to protect our farmers from these ridiculous and unjust raids and attacks on their livelihoods.
Share Your Comments Below
What say you, fair readers? Are you as outraged as I am?