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Big Ag Fights Back, Michigan Turns Small Farmers into Felons

Hey folks.  Building a resilient community that provides a high quality of life for us, our families, and our neighbors — no matter what the future throws at us — isn’t going to be a cakewalk.

It’s going to be tough.  In many instances it will be hotly resisted by the global, corrupt, industrial mess currently leading us into economic, social and environmental oblivion.

How will they attempt to slow us down?  They will cheat, mainly by pressuring an increasingly corrupt government to turn the local production of food, energy, water and products into a crime.

Here’s an example of this cheating in action.  An example of how a part of “Big Ag” shut down local farms that threatened their control over the pork market.

They made raising heritage pigs (pigs that have long hair like the ones below) in Michigan a crime (!).

To really understand what happened, I did a little forensic research.  Here’s what I found out;

  1. Owners of wild game preserves imported feral hogs for their customers to hunt on their private property.
  2. Some of the feral hogs got loose and began to run wild.  This started a scare about a feral swine pandemic.  Combined with some local stories about feral swine destroying crops and threatening livestock, the government was put under pressure to take action.
  3. The government moved to make feral swine illegal in the state.  In normal circumstances, that would mean that wild pigs would be professionally hunted.  That didn’t happen in this case.
  4. It’s likely at this point that the pork industry decided to make its move against the rapidly growing market for local, heirloom pork.  What did they do?  They lobbied to make the test for being identified as a “feral pig” into a profile rather than the act of running wild.  Under the wording of the law, any pig that had long hair, a straight tail, etc. would now classified as feral “invasive species,” even if they lived on a farm.
  5. The immediate result.  Surveillance and raids on farms.  The mass slaughter of farmed livestock.  What’s even fishier is that Michigan’s Department of Resources (DNR), operating well outside of their traditional jurisdiction over hunting and fishing, was the agency tapped to raid the farms.

For more, read the story the US Air Force veteran Mark Baker, and his fight to protect his farm.  He’s even put out a video.

As the old system winds down in the US and EU, and we start to move towards more and more resilient production, we are going to see MANY more attempts by big industries to rig the legal system to slow us down.  Their business is to keep us dependent.

Get ready.

Your willing to join you on this fight analyst,

 

JOHN ROBB

 

PS:  One way to fight back?  Participate in legal defense funds that defend local production.  It’s a good way to fight a rearguard action while we pull away from the mess.  Here’s one for local food producers called “The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.”  They have some good coverage of this incident.

PPS:  A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a letter on how a backyard farm, repletewith a chicken coop, has become aspirational (the type of product, like a Ferrari, that you aspire to have someday….).   Here’s more evidence.  Williams-Sonoma, the upscale retailer, now has a backyard farming line.

Williams-Sonoma Chicken Tractor

 

 

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • yoyo_bob

    Similar laws for fish are on the books in many states. Some states do not allow you to keep some breeds of Tilapia in your backyard closed aquponic system.

    btw the feral hog problem is a reality not just a scare. Michigan is just using facist tactics to solve it. What they should do is remove hunting restrictions and allow night hunting of these animals (with night vision or thermal) or perhaps a tax credit if the hunter donates the meat to food banks.

  • yoyo_bob

    Another option for this farmer and others is to vote with their feet and move to a state where their freedoms would be more respected (e.g . http://www.survivalblog.com/redoubt.html). Some states (MI, CA, MA, NJ, etc) might be beyond help.

  • It’s this kind of corrupt industrial mess that is really frustrating to me. I hope that more people will start to see how corrupt things are becoming and start changing their lives and their community to be more resilient.

  • pragmatic sustainability

    Here is another resource along the lines of legalize sustainability.

    http://www.theselc.org/

    Fighting off the oligarchy and their managers is going to take a lot of resources.

  • I think that one approach to fighting this kind of thing is to make it personal. I.e. it isn’t a blob called “BigAg” doing it. Specific individuals lobbied for it, voted for it, and enforced it. It should be very, very visible who they are. Names, pictures, posts, how they did it, what they gained from it.

    Of course somebody would need to do the required intelligence, but it would well worth the investment.

    • johnrobb

      Flemming, That’s very true. There’s still lots of resistance to doing that yet. JR

  • Lindsey

    A similar action was attempted a few years ago in Asian countries such as Thailand during the bird flu scare. One of the responses of large corporations was to advise the government that all non-commercial non-GM chickens should be destroyed leaving the country reliant on only commercial battery hen farms.

    This was proposed as a quarantine strategy since non commercial stock owners could not be trusted to effectively and responsibly monitor flock health. They backed this up with predictions of mass human casualties if the govt did not accede to their request. The fact that this would leave the corporates at the only source of livestock was an irrelevant consequence.

    Since the individual rearing of chickens is very widespread, especially in less urban areas, this would have been a major blow to the sustainable low cost food input of the millions of people. Most of the non-farmed stock consisted of heritage varieties including ancestors of the original jungle game fowl from whence modern chickens came. For the most part, these birds were very resistant to diseases and parasites. Which is why they were still around thousands of years later. Most flock deaths were in modern commercial species.

    Fortunately, these countries have a very large diverse populations which resist too much government oversight and interference with local affairs. Despite the Western impression of close regulation, such governments are very wary of the power of the people. They know they have to pick their enforcement issues carefully. No government, no matter how totalitarian can ultimately withstand mass uprising of its own people. This saved the indigenous chicken flocks of Asia.

    Something I advise a lot of groups I work with is that if you have a good idea or product, don’t hold onto to it. Spread it as widely, quietly and affordably as you possible can. Whether it is an idea or product such a new form of biofuel or heritage seeds. It is very hard to control and contain after it has been ‘released to the wild’ and widely distributed.

    Asian countries know this well and are very good at it. Western countries are obsessed with the notion of IP rights and profit making. Peopel tend to hoard rather than distribute. A lesson that software developers are quickly learning as they view the pervasive viral power of open source code development.

    • johnrobb

      Lindsey,

      Excellent example.

      This is classic open source conflict strategy:

      Something I advise a lot of groups I work with is that if you have a good idea or product, don’t hold onto to it. Spread it as widely, quietly and affordably as you possible can. Whether it is an idea or product such a new form of biofuel or heritage seeds. It is very hard to control and contain after it has been ‘released to the wild’ and widely distributed.

      It’s spot on.

      JR

  • martin

    3 years ago, at the height of the swine-flu panic, the state egypt culled all the pigs in egypt. Supposedly because of the pandemic, but swine flu isn’t trasnmitted by pigs.

    The more probably reason was to move against the trash economy, where mostly people from a christian minority gathered neighborhood trash in the cities, sorted it, sold some parts and fed the rest to pigs.

    There have been (unseccesful) moves to change garbage collection to more centralized, capital intensive way (where more money can be earned) those had failed. A short time later, the state could enforce industries interest.

    While the trash economy before the culling was surely no nice way to live, the economic hardship has certainly increased.

    What does this have to do with resilience? Not much, beyond the importance to take a close look at a lot of laws that are passed in the name of security, or in the shadow of a huge scare* And to always look at whose livelyhoods might be affected.

    * The problem might be very real, still the solution deserves questioning

    • johnrobb

      Martin, That’s a great example. JR

  • Municipalities are also banning chickens. I guess one way around it would be to keep a hen or 2 indoors, and they wouldn’t know. They wouldn’t be free range though. You could raise guinea pigs, they’re quiet, but they don’t lay eggs.

  • The barter economy — coming soon to a backyard near you
    http://grist.org/living/the-barter-economy-coming-soon-to-a-backyard-near-you/

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