Raw milk is the new mask for Republicans

Republican leaders, always careful to instill fear among their voters about the threat of government overreach, as a political strategy, often boast about all the things liberals allegedly want to take away from working Americans. They say the White House could take away their guns or maybe their gas stoves — or even pints of raw milk that could potentially be contaminated with bird flu.

In early December, California’s Sonoma County declared an agricultural disaster after two poultry farms had to cull their entire flocks to prevent the spread of “highly pathogenic avian influenza,” or bird flu. This particular strain of bird flu, H5N1, was first reported in the United States in early 2022 and since then, millions of turkeys and chickens have been culled on commercial farms in an attempt to suppress the outbreak.

Although transmission of bird flu to other mammals is rare, it is currently occurring.

As of June 9, ten states, including North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, and Texas, have announced Outbreaks reported in dairy cattle And it is estimated that 85 dairy herds across the country have been infected; however, there is no federal requirement for dairy farms to test their herds except for interstate milk cow movements, so many farmers are avoiding doing so. This opened the door to human exposure and so far, three cases of H5N1 in humans have been reported. As dairy-poultry veterinarian Kay Russo wrote scientific American On Tuesday, one case was found to have respiratory symptoms, meaning the infection is likely to have spread from human to human through coughing.

“As the virus crosses species barriers, the risk of human exposure and the emergence of human-adapted strains is increasing rapidly,” Rousseau added along with co-authors Michel Crom and Carol Cardona. “This outbreak in dairy cows has the potential to transform into a human epidemic or even a catastrophic pandemic — signs of which we are already seeing.”

Many experts, Including Dr. Scott RobertsInfectious disease specialist at Yale New Haven Hospital and assistant professor of infectious diseases at Yale School of Medicine, believes that the milk available in supermarkets is largely safe to drink because the process of pasteurizing it destroys any remaining traces of infection. In contrast, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that consuming raw, unpasteurized milk can pose a huge health risk.

“There is a concern that consumption of unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized milk products may become contaminated with HPAI A(H5N1) viruses, potentially leading to spread of HPAI A(H5N1) viruses to people; however, the risk of infection in humans is unknown at this time.” The agency writes,

However, in recent weeks, as the number of bird flu cases has risen, so have raw milk sales. This is because many Republican public figures have denounced attempts by the government and “Big Milk” to infringe on their right to drink the beverage they want, regardless of whether or not it contributes to the human-to-human spread of bird flu. It’s an attitude that is very similar to the party’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways their members have refused to participate in basic public health and safety measures.

Basically, for Republicans, it seems like avoiding raw milk is the new mask — and they’re not going to do it to prove their point.

For example, in April, InfoWars host Owen Shroyer called the Food and Drug Administration a “gangster mafia” that wanted to “make raw milk illegal.”

“So, now that more people are going to local farms and farmers markets and drinking raw milk, that makes the FDA angry,” said Shroyer. “That makes Big Milk angry. Say, ‘No, you need to pasteurize the milk, it’s much less healthy for you.’ See, eventually, they’ll make it illegal. They’ll make raw milk illegal. That’s what it’s all about.”

The same month, Media Matters reportedRight-wing media outlet TheBlaze published an article titled “Blaze News Investigates: The Truth About Raw Milk the Government Doesn’t Want You to Know: ‘Closer to a Perfect Food,'” which told readers that “so-called ‘experts’ aren’t telling you the whole story” and “Unfortunately, the potential benefits of raw dairy remain a mystery to most Americans.”

NOW, the conservative youth organization Turning Point USA Selling a plain white T-shirt with a drawing of a dairy cow on it. The caption reads: “Got raw milk?”

“Look, eventually they’ll make it illegal. They’ll make raw milk illegal. That’s what it’s all about.”

However, raw milk isn’t just embroiled in the culture wars; it’s the subject of a number of new policies, including a bill in Louisiana that would legalize the sale of raw milk in the state. HB467, which is about to become law, “passed unanimously among a group of lawmakers in the House last month,” the report states. nola.comHowever, the bill was weakened in the Senate, as the Louisiana Department of Health estimated it would require about $900,000 per year and seven employees to regulate raw milk for human consumption.

“Ultimately, legislators agreed that raw milk could be sold, but only with a label that said “not for human consumption” and warned about the potential for ‘harmful bacteria,’” the report added. “Legislators acknowledged that the label likely wouldn’t stop people from drinking it, which is legal.”

“I don’t care what you do with it once you get it,” Sen. Stewart Cathy, R-Monroe, said during a Senate Agriculture meeting.

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