Crying over raw milk: Supporters to rally on Capitol steps

May 19, 2010 at 7:34 am Leave a comment

By BILL NOVAK | The Capital Times

 The fight over legalizing raw milk sales in Wisconsin will head to the steps of the state Capitol on Tuesday, as raw milk advocates rally to urge Gov. Jim Doyle to sign a bill passed by the state legislature.

Doyle said in April he was most likely going to sign the bill, but the governor was bombarded last week with opposition to the bill from a wide range of opponents, including doctors, dairies and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

To counter the opposition, raw milk supporters will gather on Tuesday at noon on the Capitol steps, said Bill Anderson, an apprentice cheesemaker and supporter of the raw milk sales bill.

“The best cheeses in the world are made with high quality raw milk from pasture-grazed animals,” Anderson said in an e-mail announcing the rally.

“I believe the dairy industry lobbyists who oppose this legislation do not represent the best interests for the future of the Wisconsin dairy,” Anderson said.

According to the Associated Press, Doyle has until Thursday to act on the bill, or it automatically becomes law without his signature.

The bill, AP said, will allow farmers to sell raw milk directly to consumers through 2011 as studies continue on the issue both this year and next.

Retail sales will not be allowed.

Organic dairy farmer Scott Trautman sold raw milk from his farm until the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection started to crack down on raw milk sales in 2009.

“We take great pride in the quality of the milk we produce, and take cleanliness and food safety very seriously,” Trautman was quoted by Anderson in his e-mail.

But Dr. Paul Wertsch, past president of the Wisconsin Medical Society, said the health of the state’s residents is at stake.

“This is sort of a unique opportunity the governor has, to improve public health by vetoing a bill,” Wertsch said in the AP story.

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Entry filed under: Featured Articles.

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