Nanny Knows Best

Milking of a cow

Recently we heard that a Tasmanian farmer Mr Carter, has had a run in with the Tasmanian Dairy Industry Authority for giving people a taste of raw milk straight from the udder of his dairy cows after a milking demonstration. He has been issued with an infringement notice for this subversive activity even though he isn’t selling raw milk, the justification being that consumption of raw milk carries with it health risks, especially for children.

It’s true that under certain conditions such as unhygienic milking or storage practises, raw milk may pose a health risk, however one could argue that milk straight from the udder of a well-cared for animal carries little to none.

I like to think that grown adults can make the decision for themselves about whether they decide to consume raw milk and Mr Carter agrees. He says that the milk tastings are the highlight of the day for people visiting his farm and he believes that a government body should not be deciding for people what they choose to put into their bodies.

This is one example of many instances of ‘nanny state’ regulations that are in place solely to protect us from our own ‘poor’ lifestyle choices.

Bicycle helmet laws are another. Yes, it’s true that wearing a bike helmet could save your life, but it’s equally true that the decision to wear one should be up to each individual bike rider after they have assessed the pros and cons for themselves.

Calls for a sugar tax are another example of an attempt to control people from above, ostensibly for their own good. Sugar is bad okay? So we want to introduce a tax to make it harder for you to eat or drink it even if you don’t want to stop. It doesn’t take Einstein to see that a life-style tax of this sort serves only to make sugary foods and drinks more expensive and only has impact on people so poor that they can’t actually afford to add that 10 pack of Cokes to their shopping trolley after-all.

The big justification for these sorts of Nanny State regulations are the costs to the health system when people need medical treatment due to their poor choices, but how far can this argument be logically extended? Driving a car is a dangerous activity, maybe we should ban that too. Sky diving, dancing, hiking in the bush (you could get bitten by a snake or break your ankle), going out when a storm is raging (lightning you know), heck getting out of bed in the morning is a dangerous activity, and staying in bed too much is one as well! In the words of John A. Shedd, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” Living life is not about staying as safe as possible, and government bodies need to quit trying to force us to, through ‘nanny state’ laws, bans and hectoring public service announcements.

When costs to the health system are used to justify bans and rules against risk taking activity, they also serve to highlight the loss of individual freedoms that any socialised services entail.

Everyone owns the public health system and therefore everyone, that is the collective, can make demands on individuals for the sake of the greater good. You can’t get fat and be at risk of heart disease, that will cost the collective too much. You can’t ride a bike without a helmet because if you crack your skull, everyone must bear the burden. How dare you smoke?? We are all going to have to pay for your selfishness!

This goes both ways. If people are largely responsible for their own medical treatment, they may be less likely to take big risks, and the need for lifestyle taxes, bans and regulations fall away. It could even be argued that because we have a socialised health care system in Australia, people may be less likely to weigh up the true costs and benefits of their risk-taking behaviour.

We only get one shot at life and freedom means being able to choose which risks you are willing to take.  No amount of finger wagging, lifestyle taxes and claims of impacts to the public health system, are adequate justification for restricting these basic human freedoms.

If people visiting a dairy farm want to consume raw milk from healthy cows, it is nobody’s business but their own, and they should be free to do so without a government authority stepping in to squash it. Same goes for people riding bikes without helmets, and people who want to drink sodas and eat ‘junk food’.

If Australia society wishes to accept a socialised health care system for the benefit of us all, then let’s also embrace the idea that human freedom and dignity requires that we retain our autonomy and remain free to take risks. Let’s stop using ‘burdening the health system’ as a justification for controlling people’s lifestyle choices.

This article was also published by Online Opinion.

41 Comments on "Nanny Knows Best"

  1. I grew up drinking unpasteurised milk That came into vogue when the milko went out of business and the big milk companies like the Murry valley dairy `stook over

  2. thats all we had on the farm when i was a kid sure didnt kill me!!!!!!!

  3. Milk straight from the cow transferred to clean drinking cups are fine but buying raw milk from a 3rd party you have no idea where it has come from & how sanitary the handling may have been. Calling this nanny state is the same as saying road rules are nanny state. Most drivers most times drive sensibly but we have to have rules for the lowest common denominators.

    • The article says that stopping the farmer from letting his visitors sample milk straight from the udder is ‘nanny state’, not the regulations that require pasteurisation necessarily. The article also concedes that raw milk can be harmful if it isn’t stored properly.

  4. Under this regulation my parents would have been fined out of existence. That’s all we had. Funny thing is we were much healthier than many of today’s kids. There is actually a down side to the pasteurization process in that it destroys all the natural enzymes found in the milk making it less beneficial than so fresh it’s still warm or correctly stored and refrigerated.

  5. As long as your cows are vaccinated against bovine tuberculosis pasteurisation is simply a way to enable milk to be transported over long distances and stored for extended periods. As long as people know the milk is unpasteurised then there should be no problem – truth in labeling and the right to choose what you want to eat and drink.

  6. The majority of humans on planet Earth who consume milk are consuming it raw. It’s the dairy “industry” that hates raw milk because it a return to raw milk would break their mafia model.

  7. drank from the cows for years,, am 64 and still going. bloody idiots.

  8. There is nothing wrong with raw milk. I still prefer the unhomoginised milk, it tastes so much better. I spent some of my childhood on a dairy farm.

  9. I grew up on a diary farm drinking the milk un pasturized. Can you imagine whats going to be put in it ffs. I think its time to buy a cow for my own milk least ill know whats in it. The hovt. Has a lot to answer for

  10. Raised on pure cows milk and cream…im still here …..

  11. Next they’ll ban picking mushrooms in the field in case you pick the wrong one!

  12. When we were on the farm we used to suirt the milk straight into our mouths, never hurt any of us kids 4 of us at the time. only time it was ever boiled was when the cows had been on th elucerne an dit tasted terrible.

  13. I spent many school holidays on the farm with cousins … the highlight every day was milk straight from the separator. I’m not too damaged :p

  14. For years we drank milk almost straight from the cow after aunty on the farm did whatever she did with it…and we are still alive to tell the story…and I for one didn’t end up with any of the diseases we are supposed to get from un homogenised or un pasteurised milk…funny about that eh?

  15. And the fresh milk tasted great on the old Weet-Bix..or cornflakes..

  16. Milk is pasteurised for the same reason we wash dishes.
    Let’s get rid of health inspectors at restaurants while we are at it.

    • No one is talking about NOT pasteurising it is about informed free choice. This government has SO many regulations to give themselves power and jobs; personal responsibility is no longer encouraged because that breeds critical thinking and governments want sheep who will believe the ‘we know whats best for you’ scenario, It has been shown that the more rules and regulations there are in place the less innovative your society becomes AND the more dangerous it becomes as people are less able to judge risk for themselves. No one is being forced to drink this milk – any unpastuerised milk is clearly labelled and you drink it at your own risk. Australia has the highest incidence of auto-immune diseases in the world because we are TOO clean and do not expose our children to many of the bacteria needed to survive.

  17. We always had fresh from cow. I’m not happy with what’s available in shops. Like mine fresh prefer non pasteurised but have pasteurised over homogenised crap any day

  18. when we lived on the farm up to 1961 we used to drink our milk straight from the cow .we ate cream after we seperated it .made our own butter .and all that .had no power so killed our own meet .we never had one day of sickness .no preservatives as well

  19. My mum would milk me an enamel mug full every day as she milked the cows by hand. The best I’ve eer had.

  20. Comments have been made suggesting, if handled incorrectly, drinking raw milk is hazardous. Might that also apply to pasturised milk?

  21. Because nothing says “MMm….tasty” like the diseases that can be contained in “raw milk”…
    There’s a reason it isn’t sold to the public straight out of the cow….

    • That is why you should not eat in restaurants because people have died eating the food. Also do not buy veg for the same reason. I drank raw milk for years and never got sick. Raw milk if regulated is safe and I want it.

  22. still alive drank strait from the udder 1 for the dog 1 for the cat 1 for self taste great

  23. We milked our own house cow for years and my children thrived on fresh milk fresh eggs beef grown and slaughtered on our own property.The truth is there is nothing healthier for you than home grown fresh produce.And you don’t need some wanker with a degree to tell you what is good for you.

  24. In that case they should TOTALLY BAN alcohol and cigarettes.

    Oh no! Too much tax income – the government couldn’t afford to BAN alcohol and cigarettes.

    Just ban unpasteurized milk! 🙁

  25. When we recently getting message that packet salads are dangerous (Salmonella, E.coli and so on) they will soon has to make law that selling raw vegetables are against the law , same as is milk now!

  26. You haven’t had a decent cup of coffee until you’ve had it made with raw milk, it’s the only way to go, stuff the doogooders

  27. back in the 60s we had bottled milk at school with the cream on top of the bottle it never killed us & never will the best milk ever ,about time the do gooders woke up

  28. Or the other logical conclusion is buyer beware. Make everything an individual choice so no one is responsible for anything. US gun control comes to mind.
    If I own a gun I can shoot someone before they shoot me. See the problem.
    Do not use a logical progression to support your argument. Logic does not make your argument correct it simply means their is no contradiction in it.
    If you start with a false assumption your perfect logic is still wrong,

  29. A carefully crafted article
    Starts off with a folksy story about a farmer and then gets around to an attack on social welfare generally
    Who funds LibertyWorks?

  30. Compared to eating processed food this is a non event.

  31. It may be of interest to some who don’t know as I have owned a dairy for many years, as far back as 1954 all dairy cows were and still are blood tested for all wogs that pass from cows to man so milk is a a pure food straight from the cow and in many cases the health of the cow is in often better than the person drinking the milk, any problems with the milk come after it leaves the cow.

  32. When I visited the Netherlands on the same deary farm where I milked when I was still going to school, we were told that for drinking untreated milk straight from the Cow we could land in jail.

  33. The authorities must know something about raw milk that’s good for us, that they want to keep from us.

  34. The irresponsible bastard deserves it. There’s a reason we pasteurise milk.

  35. I really, really want regulated RAW milk. It is my right.

  36. And yet they havent banned tobacco!?!

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