Letter in support of herd shares from Lana Popham

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Shelby the cow join BC Agriculture Critic Lana Popham and BC MLA Jenny Kwan at a raw milk rally at the BC Legislature on Wednesday, 23 November 2011, five years after the armed raid on Michael Schmidt's dairy farm in Ontario.
Dear Raw Milk Advocate

I would like to thank-you for writing and sharing your feelings regarding the consumption of raw milk in British Columbia; I am pleased to respond on behalf of caucus. My colleagues and I have received many, many letters and emails from constituents who share your views.

As the emails arrived, I wanted to ensure that my response to you is a thoughtful one. On the face of it, this is an issue that falls under the Federal jurisdiction. A simple answer would point to the Canada Food and Drug Act and BC’s Food Standards Act which would not support distribution or sale of raw milk.

But upon hearing the concerns that you and many others have shared which reflect a group of people who wish to have the right to consume what they want. I am sympathetic to this argument and understand why this is important to you.

I have had a lengthy conversation with Ryan Conroy, a raw milk advocate that was very informative. Ryan shed light on the situation with regards to a dairy that is having difficulties with the Fraser Health Authority. I am hoping to visit that dairy in the New Year. Having access to raw milk through cow-share programs where devotees buy a share of a dairy herd for personal use and not for resale seems like an innovative and reasonable solution.

My collegue MLA Jenny Kwan recently also met with Jackie Ingram, another raw milk advocate in her constituency. Jenny commented that she understands the issue much better now and wants to help find a solution. She was advised that Quebec has legislation in place that allows them access to raw milk products.

Both MLA Kwan and I would like to work on this issue and we are looking into ways that other jurisdictions have accommodated the right to consume raw milk but at the same time respecting the Federal Legislation. We hope to be able to improve the opportunity here in BC.

Although this is not an issue that can move quickly, please be assured that we understand. We will update you on any progress or news as we move forward.

Yours sincerely,

Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South
Opposition Agriculture Critic

and

Jenny Kwan, MLA Vancouver Mt. Pleasant
Opposition Economic Development Critic

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