- The DNR filed for an injunction, asking our judge to order us not to sell live pigs to in-state buyers. This happened early this spring, just before people who want a pig for their family are looking for weaned piglets. We had a hearing scheduled for this for the beginning of May.
- The DNR offered us a settlement: we kill all our pigs and they graciously will decline to fine us up to $10,000 per animal, fine any purchasers of our animals up to $10,000 per animal, and not pursue felony charges worth up to 4 years in Federal Prison against Mark and any associates and employees. In other words, we kill our pigs or they will bankrupt us and jail the husband, wife, and oldest children of a family (this is a family run farm). Really. Would they seriously do that? Check their track record and the track record of other government agencies in food cases. I’d assume they would leave the 16 and 14 year olds out of the fray, but they still made the threat.
- The judge in Baraga County decided that there are issues common to all the cases and that, even though we’ve retained a separate lawyer and have no legal connections to the other cases, the lawyers and judges need to figure out the commonalities and try those before looking at individual cases. This has the net effect of cancelling our May hearing and nixing our August trial date. It pushes all action back even further as the lawyers have to prepare new briefs and new dates have to be scheduled. Sometimes it’s hard to decide if the judges are being extra careful to be sure this law is thoroughly looked at before it is enforced–which is in our favor–or are pushing things through slowly on purpose because everyone but us gets a paycheck no matter how long it takes and the Powers That Be can starve us out. It’s a coin toss, and I’m not sure we’ll know till it’s all over. We choose to believe the former, but the latter sneaks in there sometimes.
- One thing the judge did do was order the DNR to offer a plan so that we could manage to stay in business until this is over. After all, if they deny us the ability to sell our product they deny us the ability to make a living and we go out of business. If we are out of business we have no standing in court and therefore can’t pursue the case anymore. The DNR refused the judge’s order.
- What we will be asking the judge for is a jury trial in a timely fashion, separate from the hunting ranches’ cases. We were told this week that we may not get before our judge until 2014. The DNR and Attorney General have desperately opposed a jury trial in the case of the other farmer (in Baraga County), so we expect that they will be equally opposed to having to make their case before a panal of citizens in Missaukee County.
That brings up a step that everyone who cares about liberty can take.
When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.”
Frankly, the State is afraid to try this law before you, the people! They have said they don’t trust the people to control the pig population (you might go crazy and start releasing pigs on purpose!) as our elected representatives enabled us, they circumvented our legislative voice with this administrative law, and they vigorously oppose any request for an Advisory Jury trial (a jury trial in which a panal of citizens hears the case and makes a decision, but only in an advisory capacity to the judge). The Department of Natural Resources, in cahoots with the big agribusinesses in Michigan, and in conjunction with the other Administrative departments, is seeking to force the people of Michigan to bend to it’s unConstitutional will. They want us to surrender our private contract rights, property rights, and freedom to choose one of our basic needs (food) under threat of loss of liberty. If allowed to do this, they will be a step closer to tyranny. If we, the people, can defend our Constitutional rights against this power grab we will keep our liberty.
The solution starts in our own backyard – literally and figuratively. In a literal way, learn how to raise your own food, preserve it, prepare it. Short of that, buy as much of your food as possible from the guy or gal that grew it. We can vote with our dollars–don’t support Big Ag with your dollars! The figurative part is your local government. Townships are more powerful than many people realize. They control the zoning and have been the biggest culprits in curtailing citizens’ ability to feed themselves. You can have a direct say in your township! This is the lowest level of government and it is in your backyard. The folks on your township board need education and encouragement to support people to grow food. They can pass resolutions in support of farming activities in their jurisdiction. These are government officials who can speak with authority and live (very nearly) next to you.
That’s the latest in this struggle for freedom–yours and mine.
“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”