An Amish organic farmer is facing a hefty fine and a prison term for the simple crime of producing clean meat.
Amos Miller runs a holistically managed farm in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where he breeds cows, chickens and pigs. The animals in his century-old farm are bred without the use of chemicals and medications mandated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to Miller, he raises his animals in the way he believes God intended them to be raised – in accordance with nature.
However, a federal judge ordered the Amish farmer to cease and desist all sales of his organic meat. This same magistrate also ordered Miller to pay $250,000 for “contempt of court” last summer. He added that the farmer needs to pay an initial $50,000 as a “good faith” payment to avoid jail.
To make matters worse, armed U.S. marshals raided his property, farm store and freezers at the behest of the federal judge. They took an inventory of all his meat to ensure he will no longer be able to sell or slaughter any more animals. (Related: Small town business owner spent 7 years building up organic meat company, only to be shut down by village board.)
Miller, who runs a private members-only food distribution network, alleged that the federal government is prosecuting him for practicing his religious freedom in the way he raises and prepares food. “Our members don’t want any of that. They want fresh, raw meat with no additives. Our members want it straight from the farm with no preservatives on it.”
The members of Miller’s private food club agree, saying they do not like their grass-fed meat laced with chemical preservatives mandated by the USDA. Numbering around 400, they have also signed contracts that state their awareness of the meat not being processed in USDA-inspected plants or treated with preservatives.