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Right from the Teat

Protesters brought a cow to the Common on Monday, squeezed milk from her udder into glasses, and toasted the act and gulped it down in an act of raw protest.

The raw milk drink-in, organized by the Organic Consumers Association was held on Monday in an attempt to prove that a fresh glass of milk right from the cow's udder will do your body even better than a glass of pasteurized, processed milk.

The purchase and consumption of raw milk isn't illegal. However, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources proposed a new set of regulations, including one that would make the transportation of raw milk through buying clubs illegal. The change would have affected four dairy farms involved with buying clubs, though on Monday, the MDAR pulled the proposed restrictions, explaining that "The passion and concern on all sides of the raw milk debate have led MDAR to plan for a broader look at issues associated with raw milk."

At the drink-in, raw connoisseurs mingled, sipping on their milk, offering flyers and milk to passersby. Afterwards, supporters moved to a legislative hearing to testify on making raw milk more accessible. The MDAR shelving the proposal didn't stop supporters from testifying on behalf of the buying clubs.

Bradley VanDussen, small business owner from Natick, referred to pasteurized milk as "Frankenstein milk," thanks to the chemicals and hormones added to it. "The fact that we're even in this room is really sad to me," he said. "I had to take time off from work today, from my struggling business, to come here, to fight for something called milk? We're not talking about crack heads in our neighborhoods, we're not talking about crime, we're not talking about people's homes being taken away. We're talking about milk. Fresh, wholesome milk."

Many speakers referred to the health benefits of raw milk, including Jean Morgan Evan, who said the "good bacteria" in raw milk cleanses the digestive tract. "My children want other healthy kids to play with and right now," she said, "they're kinda hard to find."