Monday, April 26, 2010

First they came for the... Amish?

As Reason Hit & Run commenter Xeones put it:
"How fucked up does a government have to get in order to persecute the fucking Amish?"
No kidding...

Apparently we live in a country where agents of 3 law enforcement bureaus can show up with a warrant allowing "reasonable force" at 4:30 in the morning to search & prosecute THE AMISH for the possible illegal sale of... Milk.

That's right... MILK!

Former Reason Magazine staffer, Mike Riggs reports on this amazing bit of government at the Daily Caller:

“When I was just about done milking, Schafer and the other agent came in the barn and wanted me to answer some more questions. I told them I would not. The second agent said, ‘Are you gong to deliver those coolers to Bethesda and Bowie Maryland?’ I just looked at him. Then Schafer made a gesture and said, ‘The stickers with those towns names are on the coolers,’ as through to say, you might as well tell me.”

Allgyer refused to say anything and the agents left. Several days later, Allgyer received a letter from the Food and Drug Administration that read, “An investigation by the u.s. Food and Drug Administration has determined that you are causing to be delivered into interstate commerce, selling, or otherwise distributing raw milk in final package form for human consumption.”

The letter does not list the evidence against Allgyer, nor does it name specific violations. In fact, the letter from the FDA says exactly the opposite: “This letter is not intended to provide an all-inclusive list of violations.” Two paragraphs later, the letter instructs Allgyer to report within 15 days “the specific steps you have taken to correct the noted violations.”

“Failure to make prompt corrections could result in regulatory action without further notice. Possible actions include seizure and injunction.”

That's right kids... Not even the Amish are allowed to operate free from search, seizure & prosecution.  And assuming these folks were, in fact, selling their (omfg!) raw milk across state lines, who was harmed?

The buyers who want to drink milk straight from the cow?

The seller who wants to earn a living through hard, honest farm work?

Plenty of people want to drink raw milk.  Plenty of people want to sell it.  Plenty of people are well-aware, and can very easily be made aware of the various "risks" associated with the product.  So why is this a crime in the first place? And once it has been completely wrongly established as a "crime", how exactly does that give the FDA and the various law-enforcement agencies involved the right to show up in the dark, barely say two words to a peaceful, unarmed farmer and then proceed to search their premises with an exceptionally broad warrant and follow all that injustice up with a letter that says they must change their behavior without providing a list of behavior to be changed?

In my world... This is a clear violation of the Amish family's right to property, and the right of everyone involved's right to associate. If that's true, then it's also then a violation of the 4th, 5th & 1st Amendments to the U.S. Constitution... You know, not to be nit-picky about due process and all.

But who am I kidding? Seriously, the FDA should have a say in what kind of milk you drink, right?  I'm sure that's for the best.

They clearly know more than you do.

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