Ethan A. Huff
Monday, July 2, 2012
A Minnesota mother has decided that her state’s health department is completely out of line in demanding that she stop distributing raw milk to members of her buying club, and has chosen instead to continue helping these families in her area access this highly medicinal food even if it means going to jail.
Charlene Chan-Muehlbauer of St. Anthony Park near St. Paul, Minn., is one of several mothers involved in a local cooperative that take turns picking up raw milk from a farm 90 miles away, and hauling it back to the Twin Cities for distribution. Since Minnesota law allows for raw milk sales only on the farm (http://farmtoconsumer.org/raw_milk_map.htm), Charlene has offered to have her garage serve as a legal drop point for the milk.
In accordance with state law, members of Charlene’s buying club each pay the farm directly for their milk, and later pick it up from Charlene’s drop point. The setup is a convenient, practical way for raw milk buyers in the Twin Cities area to access their milk without having to each drive separately to the farm to pick it up.
But when officials from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) got wind of what Charlene and the others were doing, they quickly swooped in and tried to shut the whole thing down. MDA claims that the drop point violates state law, even though it clearly does not.
“People are not buying milk from me — they’re buying from the farm,” said Charlene to the Twin Cities Daily Planet (TCDP). “It’s not like this is a hallucinogenic substance. I don’t think [I’m doing] anything wrong or illegal … I’m willing to go to jail. But to be jailed for something like this, it’s just wrong.”
Practicing civil disobedience in the face of government tyranny promotes liberty
Charlene’s decision to stand up for her freedom of food choice is one that could lead to more trouble for her and her family, as authorities in her area have convinced themselves that sharing the burdens associated with storing and transporting multiple families’ purchased milk from the farm violates state law. But it is one that she is bravely willing to take.
When Charlene’s now 22-year-old daughter Amanda tested positive for rheumatoid arthritis several years ago, the young woman ended up quickly becoming bedridden as a result of chronic, debilitating pain. But raw milk would end up being the cure for Amanda’s condition, and the motivating factor for her mother to make it accessible to others.
Charlene has continued to stand her ground in the face of government tyranny, refusing to back down to its unlawful demands. And in the process, she is setting a powerful example for the rest of us to follow, should we, too, be faced with rogue statists hellbent on stealing away our freedoms.
If only we had more Charlenes in the world who were not afraid of government threats, who bravely stood up for what they believed in no matter what the cost. This type of civil disobedience, after all, is how real liberty is both promoted and preserved. Are you willing to follow Charlene’s lead in the face of tyranny?
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