I recently read an article about Wisconsin judge Patrick J. Fielder's ruling that Wisconsin citizens do not have a fundamental right to consume the food of their choice. This decision was in a case involving raw milk and Wisconsin's ban of it's commercial sale.
Here are the specifics of his ruling that the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection did not violate the constittutional rights of the plaintiffs:
(1) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a dairyherd;
(2) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow;
(3) no, the Zinniker Plaintiffs, do not have a fundamental right to board their cow at the farm of a farm;
(4) no, the Zinnikers Plaintiffs' contract does not fall outside the scope of the State's police power;
(5) no, the Plaintiffs, do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice;
(6) no, the DATCP, did not act in an ultra vires manner because it had jurisdiction to regulate the Zinniker's conduct.
Judge Fielder did not limit his decision to milk alone or to commerce and agriculture regulated by the state.
(Here is a link to the full text of Judge Fiedler's ruling clarification: http://www.thecompletepatient.com/storage/WIorder-clarification9-11.pdf)
If this broad ruling is left to stand, it will set a dangerous legal precedent about all our food choices and the role of government in deciding what we can and cannot eat or grow. It, also, brings into question basic rights of personal property.
Standing alone this ruling is alarming; however, I learned Sunday (from a customer at the Logan Square Farmers Market) that just six weeks after his ruling Judge Fiedler stepped down from the bench to go to work for Axley Brynelson (http://axley.com/services) a law firm whose work includes defending Monsanto (retirment article: http://host.madison.com/news/local/crime_and_courts/article_f25f22b3-4a89-50e3-8d32-06da1adb92f2.html)
If you are unfamiliar with Monsanto, they are intimately involved in the dairy industry with their Posilac product (http://www.elanco.us/products/posilac.htm), recombiant bovine growth hormone (rGBH), a synthetic hormone injected into dairy cows to prolong lactation and boost output. Milk from rGBH cows DOES NOT have to be labeld as such, and Monsanto has fought long and hard to keep it that way - even to the extent of prohibitiing milk from being labeled as rGBHG-free.
But, Monsanto's reach extends far beyond just milk - they have patents on much of the feed and fiber seed planted in the United States (corn, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets, alfalfa), andthey are aggressively expanding expanding into the realm of fruit and vegetables. (http://westernfarmpress.com/agribusiness-monsanto-buying-leading-fruit-vegetable-seed-company)
Most of Monsanto's patents in the feed and fiber arena include genetic modifications. Now they are working hard to transfer that technology into the produce we eat (http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pages/gmo-sweet-corn-variety-coming-soon.aspx).
It is disgusting that the very judge that said food choice is not a constitutional right now effectively works for the same corporation bent on monopolizing the world's food supply for its own control and profit.
It is not much of a stretch to think that Judge Fiedler's decision was influenced (bought) by his current employers.