People who stretch or break raw milk laws in the U.S. and Canada often are more likely to emerge as folk heroes rather than outlaws.  The recent cases involving Armand Bechard in Springfield, MO and Michael Schmidt in Ontario are examples.

In April 2009, undercover inspectors from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department saw Bechard’s 17-year old and 21-year old daughters selling raw milk in a parking lot.

Raw milk sales on the farm are legal in Missouri, and dairies can even make deliveries to their customers.  Raw milk sales from a parking lot, however, are illegal.

Rather than charge the two girls, however, the City of Springfield charged the father with operating a food establishment without a permit.  In Municipal Court last summer, represented by a public defender, Bechard lost.

On appeal representing himself, Bechard won.  A Greene County judge ruled that the city had  charged the wrong party with the crime and that only the daughters should be on the hook.

Bechard still faces a state charge of illegally distributing unprocessed milk, and in that venue will be represented by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

Meanwhile, Ontario Justice of the Peace Paul Kowarsky has found that the cow shares scheme used by Schmidt is compliant with Canada’s Health Protection Act and its Milk Act.  Those laws contain provisions banning raw milk sales.

Schmidt had challenged Canada’s ban all the way to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  In the process, he has discovered so-called cow share programs are permitted.

Other raw milk dairies in Canada have taken to selling their products as body lotions or for baths, marking them as “not for human consumption.”  Wink, wink.

  • Jim Petro

    Folks like are clearly opposed to “fresh milk” no matter were it comes from, no matter how many tests, no matter the health benefits, etc. My life would be a living hell without a regular supply. I can say the same for many. Your efforts should focused on the horrid sterilized overly processed fake food nightmare created my our western civilization. This so-called “safe food” keeps the medical industrial complex in business. I’m all for enhancing safely but the current laws/bans/enforcement of small farmers is insane. But it’s pretty clear to most of us that just as you can’t have a prison system without criminals you can’t operate a thriving law practice without a large base of frightened ignorate people.

  • Frank Manning

    I agree Jim. My family had many health problems for years on pastuerized milk. But since we since to grass fed organic raw milk, every single one of them went away.
    Sadly Marler choose to focus his effort on small manufacturers and raw milk instead of the factory farms where they feed them corn, grain and inject them with antibiotics and growth hormones where the problems originates.
    He’s the mouthpiece for the big Ag and when you have lots of money and are a lawyer you just attack the other sides and don’t try to look at things objectively.
    Wonder if this post will be deleted because it challenges them.

  • marco

    Frank and Jim, I hate to burst the bubble of your raw milk placebo effect—we all know how powerful self-delusion can be—but your other comments indicate that you both are two sheep short of a sweater. Bill Marler a mouthpiece for Big Ag? Yeah, I bet ConAgra and Dole and Cargill would find that pretty hilarious. But, seriously, when unpasteurized milk puts you or your kids in the hospital on kidney dialysis, don’t call Marler looking for help, call the friendly farmer who sold you knuckleheads that magical elixir for $10 a gallon. I’m sure he’ll be happy to pay your medical bills.

  • Pat

    Well Marco, I am not too sure where you are going with this line of thinking. But my first point is I have family that has grown up on this raw milk you so greatly ridicule. Grandma is 91 grandpa is 89 my dad is 65 and have no problems. Second I on the other hand have not grown up all my life on raw milk and have spent the last year trying to figure out all the digestive problems I have lately had. In the recent months I have found that the proper mix of raw milk products are giving me great relief in my digestion. So for some this is the answer and for others it is not but please do not regulate this option out for those of us who need this.