Tennessee Senator Seeks to Criminalize Raw Milk Consumption

In Tennessee, Senator Richard Briggs, a doctor by trade, has filed a bill (SB0015) that would criminalize drinking milk from your own cow or other “hoofed” mammal.

Due to a recent ecoli outbreak (that has not been directly tied to raw milk, mind you), Senator Briggs introduced this legislation to supposedly save Tennesseans from themselves.

As usual, freedom is stripped away under the guise of safety and this is no exception.

This bill, if passed, would be an assault against the freedom for Tennesseans to decide what they want to put into their own bodies.

The Bristol Herald Courier gives us historical context, “In 2009, a bill was passed that allowed for individuals to purchase a partial interest in a dairy animal to obtain raw milk for their personal use. A new bill has been introduced for consideration to change state legislation that would make herd shares in a raw dairy herd illegal and take away yet another option for obtaining healthful food."

The Courier continues, “Statistically speaking, fresh unprocessed milk is safe. Many farmers who provide raw milk for herd share owners spend countless hours and dollars ensuring the health of their animals while also taking the time and money to have the milk tested on a regular basis to ensure its safety.”

Passing bills to protect people from themselves is always a bad idea. The Lunatic Farmer, a blog that covers all issues relating to farming and natural food, covered it this way:

“Safety is highly subjective. I don't think it's safe to drink 3 cans of Coca-cola a day, but that's legal. I don't think it's safe to eat veggie burgers, but people do. If we're going to pick and choose everything that could be unsafe and outlaw it, we might as well all go live in a bubble room and put on respirators. We pick and choose risks. Some eat at McDonald's; others don't.  Some take the flu vaccine; others don't. The critical thing to understand is that if the government is responsible for my health, then it necessarily has a fiduciary responsibility to penetrate every health-impactful decision I make in order to protect itself from economic liability.”

It should be up to Tennesseans to decide what risks they want to take and what foods they want to consume. Criminalizing homesteaders and farmers for consuming the products of their own property is a terrible idea. This bill needs to die.

Please contact Senator Briggs’ office to express your disagreement with this legislation:

Email: sen.richard.briggs@capitol.tn.gov

Phone: (615) 741-1766

ArticleJoshua Eakle