Speech given by Jonas Stoltzfus of Pennsylvania, to members of the Pennsylvania legislature at a hearing on raw milk legislation on September 18, 2007.
[Editor’s note: Jonas Stoltzfus is a friend and customer of Mark Nolt, the Pennsylvania dairyman who has publicly stated he will no longer take a permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) to sell his raw milk and dairy products to his customers. After he revoked his permit with the state, Mark Nolt’s farm was raided by the USDA and PDA and $25,000 worth of milk, milk products and equipment was taken. Mark continues to sell his raw milk and raw milk products to his close circle of customers. It is his right.]
In the sixties a little black woman sat down in the front of a bus in Mississippi. It was against the law for that little black woman to sit in the front of the bus in Mississippi in the 1960’s. The law was wrong.
Fast forward fifty years later, in Cumberland county, Mark Nolt was selling milk and milk products to his customers, good stuff, I have consumed his products, it’s the best. But to sell this stuff is against the law. This law is wrong.
Just as it is my right to choose wherever I want to buy my food, so it is Mark’s and every other farmer’s right to sell his product to whoever wants to buy it. I don’t need a permit or permission to buy anywhere I want to. The farmer doesn’t need a permit or permission to sell his product to anyone. This, folks, is not about health, it is about control.
Two hundred thirty years ago, fifty-six leaders signed The Declaration of Independence. Let me quote several lines from this famous document: “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States…He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.” How far away from that situation are we today? We have again come to the place where this is a proliferation of offices and officers harassing us the people and living off of our substance.
We the people will not put up with this attempt to restrict and control our lives. Mahatma Gandhi changed the course of history in India by peacefully ignoring the rule of England. He did what was right.
Martin Luther King Jr. helped to change the course of history in the United States by peacefully ignoring the wrong law of the land.
We the citizens of this Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will change this attempt to control our activities by ignoring this wrong law. We are demanding that the politicians who put us in this place change this law and restore again to us our freedom to buy and sell where and when we like. It is our right.