A Wisconsin judge has ruled that Americans do not have a fundamental right to drink milk from their own cow, nor do they have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice.
Circuit Court Judge Patrick Fiedler took that position in a case involving a group of families who boarded their cows on a single farm. He said that, in effect, the farm had become a dairy farm and was therefore subject to state rules governing dairy farms.
“It is clear from their motion to clarify that the plaintiffs still fail to recognize that they are not merely attempting to enforce their ‘right’ to own a cow and board it at a farm,” Judge Fiedler wrote in his decision. “Instead, plaintiffs operate a dairy farm.”
The families had filed suit against the Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection alleging their Constitutional rights had been violated, a story first reported by World Net Daily.
However, the judge ruled that the plaintiffs do not have any Constitutional rights to own a dairy cow, consume milk from their own cow, board a cow at the farm of another farmer, or produce and consume the foods of their choice.
“This court is unwilling to declare that there is a fundamental right to consume the food of one’s choice without first being presented with significantly more developed arguments on both sides of the issue,” the judge wrote.
Steve Ingam, the administrator of Dept. of Agriculture’s division of food safety, said the case is about public safety – because the milk in question is unpasteurized.
“We have a law that prohibits the sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk,” he said. “These farmers have tried to set up a way to get around the law and create a way that they think they own the cow and are consuming the cow’s milk legally.”
But the farmers disagree – and maintain their rights have been violated.
“It’s a case of fundamental rights,” said Elizabeth Gamsky Rich, an attorney representing the group of farmers. “The plaintiffs are maintaining they have a right to own a cow; they have a right to consume the milk from that cow and that these are fundamental Constitutional rights.”
Rich told Fox News Radio they will appeal the judge’s ruling.
“The state of Wisconsin has said, ‘We regulate dairy heavily in this state. We have a statute and that statute governs everyone who owns a dairy farm – and if you own a cow or a sheep or a goat you have a dairy farm under this statute,’” she said.
She said the idea that an American cannot produce or consume foods of their own choosing has generated outrage across the world.
“The Constitution trumps the statutes,” she said. “We have a fundamental right to own a cow. We have a fundamental right to consume the milk from our cow. We have a fundamental right to board that cow at somebody else’s farm pursuant to a private contract that should be free from government interference.”
Ingam scoffed at the interpretation of the judge’s ruling – saying it doesn’t mean the government can regulate whether you buy corn chips at the supermarket. Instead, he said it was a bit of legal hyperbole.
“He wasn’t really ruling on that argument,” he said. “He was ruling originally on whether we had properly interpreted the laws and regulations in Wisconsin.”
Rich said that should her plaintiffs milk their cows and drink the milk, they would be in violation of the court order and could be prosecuted.
But the judge was not convinced. He said if the farmers want to continue to operate their dairy farm, they must do so in a way that “complies with the laws of Wisconsin.”