Friday, October 07, 2011

Judge tells Wisconsin family it doesn't have 'fundamental right' to drink milk from its own cow

A Wisconsin judge has ruled that a family with a cow does not have "a fundamental right" to drink its milk. Circuit Judge Patrick Fielder in August ruled that Mark and Petra Zinniker could not sell raw milk through their private farm store. With the help of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, they asked for a clarification notice, which "contains a strongly-worded denial of fundamental food and farming rights,"Rebekah Wilce of The Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch reports.

In his decision, Fielder wrote: "Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a dairy herd; Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow; Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to board their cow at the farm of a farmer. . . . Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice." Fielder, who is planning to leave the bench, said he based his decision on the fact that the Zinnikers could not present a well-developed reason that consuming food of one's choice is a fundamental right granted by the U.S. Constitution.

The ruling is being appealed. Pete Kennedy of the defense fund reports that raw-milk advocate Max Kane is leading a campaign to have the Wisconsin Judicial Commission investigate the judge's ruling. Kane's Raw Milk Party is again attempting to get the Wisconsin legislature to pass a bill to allow farmers to sell raw milk directly to consumers.

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