A Lament for my Raw Milk

Cows in field

Written with a whole lot of help from my creative hubby, and much, much laughter (oh, the naughty things we joked about saying!)

(A poet I’m not, but I just sort of thought that a poem might be the way,
to share of my woes and wiggle my nose with disgust at this immoral fray.)

There once was a health conscious Mom,
whose heavenly raw milk came from
a farm, safe and clean,
as you’ve ever seen.
It was nourishing, pure and wholesome.

Until one unfortunate day,
when the government dropped by to say,
“You’ve broken the law,
By keeping it raw.
Desist or we’ll lock you away.”

Their mandate and mission is clear.
To fill all the people with fear,
of drugs and of thugs,
and raw milk in jugs,
so we’ll vote for them year after year.

Ahhh, my poor little poem can’t really convey the situation or the frustration that I and all the other shareholders feel as our raw milk (that is our rightful property!) is being withheld from us, due to a flawed Order to Cease and Desist.

The distribution of raw milk is illegal everywhere in Canada. Our cow share went out on a limb by finding a legal loophole (and checking it over very carefully before beginning), which allows us to purchase shares as cow owners, thus owning a portion of the milk that is produced. It is legal to drink raw milk from a cow that you own, as it is personal property that you may do with as you like.

Over a week ago, milk was seized and dumped down the toilet at one of the 5 drop points used by our cow share. This week the order to cease and desist was given to the farmers, and we are unable to pick up our milk (which we have paid for) and it will go to waste this week. The issue has been taken to the BC Court of Appeals, but we really have no idea what to expect next. If you’re interested, here is a bit more info and the official letter of appeal for our case. 

It is unbelievable to me that a group of regular people, purchasing cows together so they can drink fresh, unpasteurized milk, is an issue worthy of the government’s time, money and energy! Can it possibly be for any reasons other than control over what individual citizens do, and to protect the interest’s of the highly influential and affluent dairy industry? (I love the phrase “dairy cartel” used in the letter of appeals!)

So tell me- what is the raw milk status where you live? And just to open up a can of worms (keep it family friendly, everyone!) what do you think about government regulation of these kind of things anyways? :)

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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  1. Please check out the Canadian Consumer Raw Milk Advocacy Group at http://rawmilkconsumer.ca . This is a new(ish) group, working to make raw milk legal across Canada. There is also a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CanadianConsumerRawMilkAdvocacy . Let’s legalize raw milk and cowshares in all provinces! :)

  2. Mercedes Brian says:

    Here in Nova Scotia, Canada we pay $2 a litre (close to a quart) for raw milk. It’s labelled “Not for human consumption, for pet use only”. When we first contacted the farmer I told her that we have two dogs (and we do). I’m worried that this loophole will be closed. I do love buying and drinking raw milk legally when I’m in the States.

    • Can you email me? I live near Halifax, and I’m having trouble finding raw milk!

  3. We’re lucky. Here in Minnesota it is legal to buy raw milk if you buy it straight from the farm. However, delivery is not legal with the notion that you go to the farm to see how clean the dairy is and the health of the animals. Regardless it’s still hard to find people willing to sell it to the public. I have my own goats.

  4. The farm should be able to sell the shares legally but they might not be doing it quite right and even then the gov can take you to court over anything. Even if they don’t win the farmer still has the expense of hiring an attorney in defense. The farmer has to be very, very careful how they word the contract and do everything by the book and be able to prove it. Basically if you can truly prove you own a share in the cow, and the farmer caretaker can prove that they are harvesting the milk from that single cow and you get only the milk from that cow in your jars, there’s nothing they can do about it. Where the farmers get in trouble is when they try and fill out of a bulk tank, or mix the milk where you are getting milk from other people’s animals. Then it becomes illegal. Most farmers don’t want to go through the trouble of doing all that, but for what some of them get for a gallon of milk they should think twice! As a farmer I personally believe in freedom of choice. If you the consumer choose to buy the milk knowing the risks of tuberculosis, bruscellosis, listeria, e. coli then it should be your choice, just like the risk of getting e. coli when you eat at a restaurant or buy lettuce at the store (it happens) and the risk of getting cancer from smoking, etc. And if the farmer is willing to assume the small risk of someone getting sick from their milk, then so be it. That is my belief and a belief that is shared by my local dairy inspector, for what that is worth (-:

  5. By the way, there’s a website, http://www.realmilk.org, where you can look up the laws for your state, and sometimes find a person near you that has raw milk. You can also contact the local chapter leader for your area to get more resources. I thought they had Canadian laws and resources too, but I may be wrong.

    It’s not illegal for the whole country (USA) to sell raw milk. Each state makes its own laws, so check yours out, you might be surprised.

    And yes, raw milk can cost a fortune, as one person mentioned. I’ve heard it can be as much as $15 US to buy per gallon, or as low as $2. I’m paying $2/gallon right now. I hope to find a cleaner source for no more than $4/gallon.

  6. I’m lucky, I guess. I live in the USA, in a state where you CAN get raw milk, but they don’t make it easy. You can buy raw milk only straight from the farm it is milked on, and you must bring your own sterilized container, and the farmer can’t advertise his raw milk. So you have to resort to asking every person you meet, or going on craigslist.org and begging for raw milk resources. And a lot of times, it’s too far away to get to the nearest source. Cowsharing seems to be allowed. I do envy California, I think they can buy raw milk in stores.

    I do have a source now, but it’s a guy who also sells milk to a large dairy. So his cows are Holsteins, a commercial breed, instead of the better Jerseys (more butterfat in their milk). He says he doesn’t give hormones, and only gives antibiotics when their sick, and doesn’t sell that milk. But he does give them his own corn that he sprays once a year, and his standards of cleanliness in his dairy aren’t what I wish they were (but probably infinitely better than many dairies).

    I got spoiled once, having access to a lady with a few Jerseys that she raised organically, in a very clean environment. But we moved, so I’m still looking for a better source than the guy we use now.

    And yes, I think raw milk legislation is ridiculous. Especially when it outlaws cowsharing. If you can pay to board your own horse, why can’t you pay to board your cow? That’s all cowsharing is. You’d think they’d have something better to do…like go after the cattle farmers who feed their cattle stuff like urea and chewing gum, and other stuff that actually COULD make us sick!!

    There’s my rant. ;-)

  7. that really is too bad. My uncle and Dad had dairy farms , and I remember all the cleaning they did, and how careful they were to keep their cows healthy. THey sold their milk to a local dairy to be pasteurized, etc, but used the raw milk for themselves. Seems silly to make a law that keeps people from having raw milk.

  8. What they are doing with raw milk is nothing compared to the power they will have if Bill c-51 passes. Check out http://www.stopc51.com and see if there’s anything you can do locally to stop it. They are rushing it through.
    This law already passed in parts of Europe and as a result no one can even get natural vitamin C. The only vitamins available are synthetic and only with a prescription.
    This law would enable the police to enter your home without a warrant and take your children for giving them herbs.

  9. I’m from MN and we enjoy drinking raw milk. In the winter I have been buying it from a local dairy. I have to fill up the jars from the bulk tank myself (which is fine with me) because as I understand it it is illegal to deliver the raw and that includes putting it in jars. In the summer time we get raw goats milk from my parents farm (The goats let up on production in the winter which is why we then go to cows milk).

  10. oh…i should have written that arizona – if you can believe it – is legal for raw milk….only in certain stores….and from the farm….

    we LOVE raw milk!

  11. well…the law stinks – but the poetry is sweet…
    i can imagine my husband putting a great rapp to that song….or perhaps something a bit folksy….

    hey…love what you’re doing on this blog…it’s a keeper! pun intended :-)


  12. My husband and I just joined a cow share in Arizona(the only one in our area) because our laws are the same as yours in BC. I am new to all of the info on raw milk, but have been encouraged by my husbands sisters, who live in other states and get raw milk from local farms. It is all very eye-opening, especially your situation. We’re still trying to decide if the $12.50 per gallon plus 19 mile drive each way is worth the benefits of raw milk. Plus, my in-laws are worried about risks of TB and other diseases. It’s interesting to read how many people are so passionate about raw milk and I really feel for your situation. It makes me thankful for the opportunity that we have.


  1. […] into a stage of violent opposition. In the Canadian province of British Columbia (where I live), raw milk farmers are under intense pressure to cease and desist, with raw milk raids and expensive court cases, and we are certainly not the only place […]