Nov. 14, 2011 - Judge: No 'Fundamental Right' to Own a Cow and Drink its Milk


  A Wisconsin Circuit Court judge has issued an order stating that the owners of cows do not have a fundamental right to consume milk produced by those cows. In a clarification of his earlier decision to deny a motion in a livestock boarding case involving the Mark and Petra Zinniker farm, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Patrick J. Fiedler rejected the Zinnikers’ argument that they have a “fundamental right to own a cow, and to use their cows in a manner that does not cause harm to third parties,” saying that the argument is “wholly without merit.”

           In the September 9 clarification, Judge Fiedler stated that the court’s August 12 denial of Zinnikers’ motion for judgment means:

(1)  “Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a dairy herd;

(2)  “Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow;

(3)  “Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to board their cow at the farm of a farmer;

(4)  “The Zinniker Plaintiffs’ private contract does not fall outside the scope of the States’ police power;

(5)  “Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice;

(6)  “The DATCP (Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection) . . . had jurisdiction to regulate the Zinniker Plaintiffs’ conduct.”

Pete Kennedy, an attorney and president of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, said Fiedler is stating that when you are raising your own food through a dairy livestock boarding arrangement, the state has jurisdiction to meddle in your business.

           Judge Fiedler has since retired from the bench, and has started working for a Madison, Wisconsin law firm that has defended Monsanto.
   From Graze, November 2011