David E. Gumpert  @  ChelseaGreen

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Isn’t It About Time for Some New Thinking About Raw Dairy and Children?

Posted on Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 at 1:00 pm by David E. Gumpert

One of the more moving experiences during my travels in India was visiting the Gandhi Museum in Mumbai. It’s plain–basically, a modest home in a nice area of Mumbai…low tech, as well, relying mostly on framed photos and letters written by Mahatma Gandhi. The home was actually owned by one of Gandhi’s supporters, but the leader himself spent much time living there–the highlight of the museum is a large room on the third floor, where Gandhi spent much time while in Mumbai. The main fixtures are a floor mat, where he slept, and a spinning wheel, where he did the weaving he’s well known for.

Indian students crowd exhibits at the Gandhi Museum in Mumbai.

While I was there, the museum was very crowded with Indian grade school and high school students, which is as it should be for the man who is equivalent of our George Washington–a leader who defied convention and stood above the fray.

I completed the experience by watching the 1982 movie, “Gandhi”, on the flight home. I had seen it years ago, but was intrigued to see it again, what with having just been through the museum, combined with the experience of some years now of monitoring the raw dairy war in the U.S.

I came to appreciate how long it took Gandhi to achieve what he did. He actually began his civil disobedience in South Africa in the early 1900s, before eventually moving back to India and putting his lessons to work. Then, it took until 1948 before the Indian subcontinent finally achieved independence, with the emergence of India and Pakistan.

Fortunately, he was a patient man, and never let the temptations of violence force him from his path. But his thinking was always evolving, and he took pride in that. “Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”

I thought of that quote when I read over the comments at the Marler Blog in response to a flyer put out by the Marler Clark law firm warning parents not to give raw milk to their children.  The flyer itself is a propaganda sheet suggesting children can die from drinking raw milk, even though none have for at least the last 25 years. (”All of these infections can result in death, especially in children…”)

A propaganda sheet, yes, but what the heck. Everyone’s entitled to their position.

The flyer is introduced by Marler Clark in a press release as something necessitated in part because “Raw milk enthusiasts have claimed that it not only tastes better than pasteurized milk but prevents against autism, cancer, Crohn’s Disease, and asthma…” So mistake one is the old demonizing-the-opposition trick by suggesting that a few such claims are endorsed by everyone who drinks raw milk.

I’d say the second mistake is for Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy Co. to use the flyer as an opportunity to question Bill Marler’s ethics. Then Bill Anderson jumps in to say it’s possible to smell potentially contaminated milk. Now, such statements may be true, but they don’t get us anywhere in the debate on how to ensure the availability of clean fresh milk.

Not surprisingly, that prompts Marler’s dogs to go on the attack, particularly someone named Dog Doctor. I even get included, as someone who “doesn’t allow personal attacks against himself on his blog although he allows and makes them on others.” Hmmm. I’d like to see an example of that.  I have edited out personal attacks I regarded as potentially libelous against a few individuals, including raw milk opponents, but I’ve never cut or eliminated an attack against myself.

I suppose all this is neat entertainment for some people. And I suppose I’ve promoted such debates in the past. But I like to think I’ve moved on. Indeed, I think we all need to move on.

Raw dairy is exploding in popularity. Any number of states are considering legislation designed to ensure that it be produced safely. Yet the raw dairy opponents simply continue to oppose anything and everything. In the process, they drive the business underground. Is that protecting the children these individuals beat their chests over? It really is time to transition from the old entertainment, and do some fresh thinking. 

***

Evidence is mounting that demand for raw dairy and other nutrient-dense foods will continue, even accelerate. The latest indication comes from the huge accounting and consulting firm, Deloitte, which has just published results of a national survey on “Consumer Food Safety”. While the focus of the survey is on safety, when it comes to food, a higher percentage of respondents (54%) are concerned about “healthiness of the ingredients or product” than “safety of the ingredients or the product” (49%). (See page 9 of the report.)

This isn’t to suggest that safety isn’t a major worry, but mainly to highlight how widely the concerns about health are spreading. This constitutes a major business opportunity for farmers of all types, especially dairy farmers. Look for more smart ones to take advantage of the opportunity that beckons and move to escape the market power Big Dairy wields over farmers, and finally begin to make money from their investment and labor.

Read the full article at The Complete Patient.

rawmilkrevolution David E. Gumpert is the author of The Raw Milk Revolution.
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