A proposed state senate bill restricting consumption of raw milk in Tennessee has faced criticism for being too much government overreach.
Senator Paul Bailey says Senate Bill 0015 – known as the ‘raw milk bill’ – impedes on the way of life for many who use dairy from their own livestock.
“I think that is a privilege and a personal right for you to be able to own your own cow, be able to milk that cow, drink that milk, make butter, make any kind of dairy product you want to from that cow,” Bailey says. “Any time the legislature is trying to meddle in our personal privilege is the wrong thing to do.”
Bailey says many families have used raw milk and related products in their own households for generations and shouldn’t change.
“That is a part of the way of life, especially here in rural Tennessee,” Bailey says. “We probably don’t have as many people today drinking raw milk as we did whenever I was a boy growing up and many others.”
If approved, the bill would only affect the state’s Livestock Boarding Agreement, commonly referred to as the cow-share or herd-share program. The agreement allows people to pay farmers for shares of an animal and receive milk from the animal in return.
Bailey says other state senators are against the proposal as well, adding people should have a right to the milk produced by their livestock.
“It’s still a personal privilege for you to be able to own your own livestock and to take raw milk from that cow or even take the beef from that cow,” Bailey says. “I don’t think the Tennessee legislature should be involved in trying to take your personal rights away.”
The ‘raw milk bill’ was sponsored by Senator Richard Briggs of Knoxville. Approximately 10 children under the age of 4 were hospitalized within a 10-day span near Knoxville last year after potential contamination of raw milk.