Sunday, April 1, 2012

Food Freedoms and Parental Rights Fall Prey to Tyranny and Greed

Yes, once again the little dictators are out of control...trampling our inalienable, fundamental, natural rights; running roughshod over our personal freedoms.  Read on for this week's "tyranny in review."

Pastured Pork Comes Under the Gun

As reported by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, "In a brazen power grab threatening the livelihood of hundreds of small farmers, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is using the state Invasive Species Act to expand its jurisdiction beyond hunting and fishing to farming operations. On April 1, 2012 an Invasive Species Order (ISO) that DNR issued in December 2010 prohibiting the possession of a number of different types breeds of swine will go into effect." (emphasis mine)

And from Hartke Online: "The Michigan Pork Producers Association is endorsing a radical move on the part of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR has declared feral pigs an “invasive species.” Under its interpretation any domestic pig can be considered feral. The DNR is putting fine-dining chefs and the farmers who supply them on notice. Heritage breed pigs may soon be off the menu, and prohibited on pasture-based farms. Also affected will be the many Michigan families who choose to buy humanely raised meat for their family table." (emphasis mine)

This is nothing more than an attack on pasture-based clean food farmers.  Well, it is more...  This is also an attack on consumer choice--on your ability to purchase clean food from small, responsible, humane, healthy farms.  Once again, the dirty food industry (in this case, the pork industry) is vying for complete control of consumer choices and is using the government to accomplish its agenda.  The Michigan DNR does not even have jurisdiction over farming operations!  Naturally raised heritage-breed pigs are already a rarity in this country.  If Michigan has its way, those numbers will continue to decline.  Which other states will use this as precedent and follow suit?  First it's the natural, historical, free-range, pastured pigs.  What's next?  Jersey cows?!

Dominoes by whoaitsfrancesca
This may seem like a small issue to anyone not living in Michigan or anyone not eating pastured pork.  But little things breed big things.  It only takes one domino to topple the entire structure.  Those of us who have raised or are raising pastured, heritage breed pigs know exactly what is at risk.  Heritage breed pigs can be difficult to procure and quite expensive (certain breeding pairs, such as the Mangalitsas, can cost as high as $3,000).  Anyone who cares about Real Food freedom and consumer choice; anyone who understands the essential need to keep community, pasture-based farms in business; and anyone who desires to consume healthy lard should be very concerned about this potential threat.

Heritage breed, as defined by The American Livestock Breeds Conservatory, "typically means the traditional livestock breeds that were raised by our forefathers. These are the breeds of a bygone era, before industrial agriculture became a mainstream practice. These breeds were carefully selected and bred over time to develop traits that made them well-adapted to the local environment and they thrived under farming practices and cultural conditions that are very different from those found in modern agriculture."

Historical breeds have not been manipulated for the CAFO industry.  Heritage pigs retain their natural traits and instincts, are better mothers (unlike their unnatural CAFO-reared cousins who have a reputation for smothering to death their young), and are better adapted to living outside, foraging, and thriving on pasture.  For a pastured pig, diet includes anything growing on top of and under the ground.  Pigs are amazing plow-snouted, digging "machines" and will unearth and devour all types of roots.  As Joel Salatin points out, the natural pig is a fantastic friend to the farmer or anyone who needs to have ground turned over (even stumps removed).  This exercise, exposure to sunshine and fresh air, and vegetative diet produces healthy pork and lard, the king of fats.

Elvis, a Tamworth from Bone Dry Ridge Farm, WA
Last year, my husband decided to raise two heritage-breed Tamworth pigs on our little "homestead."  I can assure you they are neither feral nor dangerous, but they are far removed from modern industrial confinement pigs.  Tamworths, nicknamed the Irish Grazer for their propensity to thrive so well on free-range pastures, make great bacon.  Our pigs lived happily outside on pasture, rooting to their hearts' content, and were fed only organic, raw veggie and fruit scraps, and select organic (mostly sprouted) grains (no soy or corn).  The Tamworths provided our first exposure to rearing, butchering and eating our own clean pork.  It was even the first time in my life that I had prepared pork...and it has been delicious!  I rarely ate pork through the years because of my concern about the health and safety of commercial pork products; anytime I ate industrial pork through the years, I suffered terrible GI distress.  I have found the reverse to be true while consuming our pastured pork...I feel wonderfully satiated and suffer no adverse affects from eating our pigs.  Industrial pork is an unhealthy food riddled with problems of toxicity.  Pastured pork, however, fed its proper raw diet and raised outside in sunshine with earth to turn, plants to eat, and room to roam, is a fantastic food.

The best part of raising our own pigs was the opportunity to render the lard.  Pastured lard is the second richest source of vitamin D.  Clean, organic, pastured

Michigan farmer Mark Baker of Baker's Green Acres farm, who raises a rare breed of pig that he sells to fine chefs and artisan charcuterie producers, has filed a lawsuit to stop the implementation of the onerous and illegitimate ISO.  Baker's Mangalitsa hogs (yes, those $3,000 pigs), considered by many to be the consummate gourmet pork, would come under would any heritage breed pigs on any farm.  As Baker notes in his complaint, "close examination of the wording of the ISO reveals that it outlaws the entire pig species, then makes an exception for pigs involved in ‘domestic hog production."

As a result of this unjustifiable, despotic move, Michigan pasture-based clean food pig farmers could lose their entire herds.  Confused and upset farmers demanded a meeting with DNR.  The farmers, some of whom had driven more than six hours to get to the meeting, were met by armed men, one wearing a Kevlar jacket, that were sent to "monitor the proceedings."  The farmers were given a six-minute presentation, after which the DNR refused to take questions.  Wow!  Totalitarian tactics and armed men?  What kind of threat did they expect to encounter?!  What's the message here?  "Comply or be silenced?"

Is this for real?  Sadly, it's not the stuff of Orwellian story is happening right now, right in our "land of the free."  Please read the truth for yourself and please contact Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, demanding (er, I mean, encouraging) that he repeal the ridiculous and fraudulent DNR ISO that will take effect April 1.  Also, please consider joining the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and even supporting farmer Mark Baker in his fight against the Michigan DNR.

Related links:
Newborn Kidnapped by Social Workers and Hospital Staff, Mom Tossed Out
As reported by NaturalNews, " Another shocking case of tyrannical, overzealous social workers and hospital staff has unfolded in Pennsylvania, where a mom who just gave birth in an ambulance to a healthy baby girl was threatened by a government social worker and accused of not allowing her child to receive "medical treatment." (A claim which is factually false.) In reality, the new mom, exhausting from giving birth in an ambulance, was merely asking questions and trying to determine how her newborn daughter was being treated by hospital staff."

After being bullied and threatened (and remember, the woman had just birthed her daughter) for noncompliance, Jodi Ferris was thrown out of the Hershey, PA hospital and her baby was vaccinated against her parents' wishes.  Of what crime were this baby's parents being accused?  What abuse had they perpetrated against their newborn daughter to warrant CPS and police intrusion and action?  This baby, minutes old, was seized and kept from her parents and violated by the medical establishment because her mother dared to question the system and refused consent for a vaccination.  Read it and weep!  That's a crime worthy of losing our children over now!  Absolute insanity.

Ferris is a homeschooling mother in a state known for its onerous interference and regulation.  She is a homebirthing mother (if only she had remained at home to birth her child, as originally planned...) in an age of the "one size fits all" medical system.  Independent thought and action has become an increasingly unpopular and threatening "subculture" in America.  As Ferris's story reveals, individuals pursuing an alternative path fall under the ire of the technocratic, profit-mad hospital "birth" machine.  My midwife sees clients who (for whatever reason) transport to the hospital come under fire and harassment, even threatened for noncompliance.  It is a mournful and not uncommon scenario.  These abuses of power by government workers and the unnecessary, unsafe interventions and personal violations by the medical establishment seem to be par for the course in America today.  We are a nation run by bullies, fueled by corporations and industries with limitless financial and political power.  They want absolute control and we are meant to obey.

What's the message here?  "Some woman planned to give birth to her baby without our technocratic interference? How dare she!  Some parent refuses our vaccinations...inconceivable!  We must make an example of them."  The medical elite is ready to punish you for ejecting yourself outside the system.  Personal freedom?  Not on their watch.  It's like a life-sized medical mafia version of "whack-a-mole" perpetrated against nonconformists who step outside the box.  The medical industry has set its agenda and determined what is acceptable for you and your children.  The message is clear:  Disobey at your own risk.  

I do not believe for one minute that the hospital's actions were spurred by malpractice concerns.  This is about control and conformity...the program may not be breached.  Myriad individuals regularly refuse coercive medical procedures and their desires and rights are being disregarded and encroached upon.  Would it make a difference if every nonconformist who ends up pitted against a doctor, nurse or hospital worker played a stronger hand?  "I'm the consumer...I write the checks.  You are the service provider, you work for me!  This is my body (or my baby/child) and I do not consent to your intrusions, drugs and/or procedures.  Anything short of compliance to my wishes is an assault and I will call the police and my lawyer."  That's the way it should work.  Does it?  Will it?  Could it?  One can only hope.....

Thankfully, lawyers from HSLDA (vigilant defenders of homeschooling and parental rights) are determined to fight this case on behalf of the Ferris family.  Let us all hope and pray that the case is won and sets new precedent protecting parental rights for us all.  Please consider contributing to HSLDA for this cause, as it is a donations-based organization whose lawyers do not charge client fees. 

Related links:
These disturbing stories strike a personal chord, as mine is a homesteading, heritage-animal raising, homeschooling, homebirthing family.  I hope you all are as outraged and concerned as I...together, we can resist and perhaps even turn the tide.