In what the Farm-to-Consumer legal defense fund referred to as “a brazen power grab threatening the livelihood of hundreds of small farmers,” the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), through the Michigan Attorney General is seeking to fine a retired Air Force veteran, Mark Baker, $700,000 for raising the wrong type of pig.
Baker also faces two years in prison. He said,
“Farmers and other hog owners in Michigan must either get rid of their now ‘prohibited’ property or become felons.”
Marketwatch.com reported today that the Baker family (Mark and his wife have eight children) is being criminalized for violating an ‘invasive species order,’ which was
“issued so the state could get rid of feral pigs; but the way DNR is interpreting the order, it could be applied to any domestically raised hog, threatening the livelihood of small, family farming operations.”
Before the government stepped in, the Baker family sold Mangalitsa pigs “to some of the finest Detroit restaurants, health conscious consumers and even charcuterie makers.”
“The order allows DNR to seize and destroy heritage breeds of pigs that farmers are raising; and DNR will not compensate farmers whose pigs are destroyed.”
It seems that the government is criminalizing everyone except the criminals these days. The Baker family has been fighting for the right to raise the pigs, and a petition for pledges has been created to assist the family, who has had a major part of their income demolished by the state.
Mark Baker said,
“Because of the ISO, I have not been able to process or sell any pork in Michigan since April 2012 or sell the live pigs. This threatens the viability of my farm, my income and the health and well-being of my family. This order denies consumers access to the foods of their choice and violates property rights and the right to make a living.”
Mark Baker will be attending a court hearing at the Missaukee County Courthouse in Lake City, Michigan at 2 p.m. on July 12 for an initial hearing in the case. Everyone is invited to go and take a stand against tyranny.
The Facebook invitation says in part,
“Join hundreds of other concerned individuals in support of the Bakers in court and the following day on the farm for a celebration of the farm and fundraiser to keep the farm going!”
For a state that has massive economic problems, as well as the dubious honor of housing two of the deadliest cities in the United States, with only about half of the murders being solved, perhaps the state government could find something better to do with their time than criminalizing family farms.
Follow Renee Nal on Twitter @ReneeNal and check out TavernKeepers.com for news you won’t find in the mainstream media. Renee is also a guest blogger for the Shire Blog.