"In case you're not yet sure what you're reading here, note carefully that these daughters were not caught selling crack, meth or crank. They weren't dealing second-hand pharmaceuticals to yuppie school kids. They weren't selling e.coli-contaminated hamburger meat, cancer-causing diet sodas (made with aspartame) or canned soups laced with MSG. They weren't even selling broiler chickens contaminated with salmonella -- just as you can find in every grocery store in America. Nope, they were selling raw milk. You know, the bovine mother's milk, unpasteurized, unprocessed, non-homogenized and wholly pure, natural and innocent. The stuff America was raised on. The stuff your parents fed you when you were a kid, if your family was lucky enough to have a cow."
As many of you know, Cliff and I drink raw milk from our Jersey cow; for most of my married life, in fact, we drank raw milk with no ill effects. Years ago I even sold raw milk to individuals who sought me out and asked if they could buy some. I knew it was against the law even then, but I trusted the people not to get me in trouble. There's a local man Cliff works with who really wants to buy milk from me right now, but it would force me to milk my cow more often than I want to: in winter, especially, the less I milk the cow, the happier I am.
So, what is so dangerous about drinking raw milk?
E coli is probably the main one, if the udder isn't washed off thoroughly; cows lie on the ground to chew their cud, and sometimes they lie where manure has been. I take a kitchen towel out with me when I go to milk, one end of which has soapy water on it; the other end is dry. So I wash and dry Bonnie's udder thoroughly before I milk.
Another thing cows can pass to humans is brucellosis, known in the old days as "bangs" in cattle, and undulant fever in humans. My cow was vaccinated against this as a heifer, and there's a metal tag in her ear to prove it. A long-since departed Creighton, Missouri, dairyman named Ross Helms, who used to have a big Jersey dairy, told me stories of how he lost his whole herd to Bangs back in the thirties.
And then there's TB. In years past I'd have a yearly TB test done on all my milk cows. None of them ever tested positive. I don't worry about it with Bonnie because, after all, she doesn't have that many chances to be exposed to TB, and she'd have to catch it somewhere.
I suppose I can understand Big Brother trying to keep the public safe. But what if these people know the dangers and still choose to drink raw milk? Should they be able to make that choice?
I'm wondering if a time will come when the government will put me in jail for drinking milk from my own cow.
Meesha brought this whole thing to my attention because he was raised drinking raw milk in Russia. His daughter even had a glass of Bonnie-milk when they were here at my house. She also helped churn some butter, and put some of it on a piece of toast and ate it.
This whole thing could affect the people from whom I bought Bonnie. Maybe I should give them a heads-up.