Friday, July 5, 2013

State Demands $700,000 from Michigan Farm Family and the Destruction of 70 Farm Animals

David Michael

July 5, 2013 - 

[Editor's note: Over $10,000 has been raised to help the Baker family fight the motion for all farmers nationwide, with $14,000 left to go. It is encouraged by the author to consider donating $17.76 to make a statement. More ways to help below.] 

Late last week, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) demanded the payment of $700,000 from a small farm family of ten and the destruction of 70 of their pigs at Baker’s Green Acres, operated by Mark and Jill Baker and their eight children. This action followed Mark Baker’s comments during testimony opposing a new rule at a state congressional hearing where he identified himself as owner of three hogs deemed illegal (because of their looks). He understood the new rule, called an Invasive Species Order (ISO) to mean the state would threaten him with fines, criminal charges and a two-year prison term and an order to destroy his animals. Baker answered the ISO by filing a lawsuit against the state agency for the damages and their reckless behavior.

In the latest action on Thursday, June 27—legal papers sent to the court say the state demands $700,000 in fines and destruction of the farm animals—all based on how the pigs look. These actions are not just against Mark and Jill– it is also against their children and their animals, too. This is one of five lawsuits against MDNR and their new ISO (several more suits are pending).

The Baker’s small farm business has nearly been ruined and at jeopardy now are their pastured poultry and beef production for local families who want want farm fresh, healthy food. The Baker’s have set up an interent crowdfunding account through Pledgie to handle the donations (that are only trickling in as of now) to meet family needs, feed pigs and fix the tractor and for the small fees being charged by an independent attorney.

(Below you will be asked to pledge your support to help the Baker’s by donating to help win this case for all farmers nationwide)

George Orwell, author of 1984 also wrote Animal Farm where farm animals revolted because of their treatment and after a new policy was issued: “All animals are created equal, except some are more equal than others.” Orwell coined the term doublespeak, a language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words so as to deceive—where the same word can have different meanings in the same paragraph or where new phrases are made up with no definitions–commonly used in legalese. Doublespeak is common among politicians and state bureaucracies in their sales campaigns for new programs to protect us from potential harm. Hear what it sounds like to me.

What’s The Stink?

Can you imagine having your farm animals confiscated and destroyed because of the way they look? Due to a new rule Michigan DNR can enter a private farm and kill hogs that look different than those approved types. To make their point, the DNR has gone after this farm family of ten, just because the farmer has three pigs that look like what is loosely nicknamed Russian boars—a type of pig made “illegal” recently.

The new rule, as described in the Invasive Species Order ( ISO) and declaratory ruling -- is touted to control feral pigs (roaming wild) the state says–yet these pigs are already under control by hunters. The ISO clearly states can mean any type of pig. If a pig has a curly tail or a straight tail, ears that are with erect or floppy, striped piglets, hair on the underbelly, certain colors including being black, then these are “wild or feral hogs” even if on a farm behind fences. Approved, exempted swine include those raised in huge hog houses called CAFOs (Confined or concentrated animal feeding operations (commonly called factory farms) and the young pigs raised by farmers under contact with CAFOs contract. These CAFO owners have contracts with the giant food processors controlled by four companies. (The largest US pork producer is Smithfield –sold last month to the Chinese.)

About Baker’s Green Acres


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