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Another DATCP Attack on Wholesome Food

Written By: Jerry Hanson  |  Posted: Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

On January 10th, a Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) official accompanied by a Clark County Sheriff, or Sheriff's Deputy, seized (tagged) Arlin Bender's and his son's meat stored in their private coolers and freezers. They also seized a neighbor's hanging half of beef, and slaughtered hogs waiting to be butchered. The neighbors were able to retrieve their meat after paying for the processing from another butcher where DATCP had taken it.

Arlin Bender of Unity, Wisconsin, moved to Wisconsin from up-state New York a little over a year ago to be near his son and family. Many of his neighbors in the Unity area are members of the same church and many of them are farmers and hunters.

Arlin was a dairy farmer in New York for about twenty years. He also had, during that time, done butchering for himself and others. During the past twenty years he operated a full time butchering business in New York. Now up in age, he wanted to move near his son here in Wisconsin and maintain a small butchering facility at his home, just to help his neighbors and his friends in his church.

About once every two to three weeks someone would ask him to help them butcher a hog or a steer for their families consumption. As a good neighbor he only asked for a little in compensation. His friends and neighbors were happy to have a knowledgeable helper with a clean work area and the proper coolers and equipment to safely butcher their meat for their families. Arlin does not sell any of the meat he processes. All the meat is for th family's of those who own the animals and for his family and his son's family. Just prior to the deer hunting season this past year, Arlin contacted the DNR and inquired about processing venison. The DNR officials told him he was free to do so. On or about the 1st of December, a man named Patrick came to the Bender home. He told the Benders that he was with the government in some capacity, they didn't fully comprehend what he told them he was. He had showed no identification, but being law abiding citizens, they were certain they had nothing to fear. The benders welcomed him in and they began to talk about the butchering Arlin had been doing. Patrick left the Benders home amicably. Unbeknownst to the Benders, Patrick, was about to unleash the fury of an out of control, and unrestrained government watchdog. The Benders received no letter, nor any kind of communication from DATCP. Patrick returned on January 5th with another man from DATCP and proceeded to inform Arlin that he must have a license to butcher, and that he must make some changes to comply with the standards to process meat. Arlin said he estimated the cost to do so would be $20,000 to $25,000. He was willing to get the license but he was not willing to spend that kind of money, so he told Patrick that he was not able to comply. Arlin inquired if there was not some compromise they could work out. Patrick then informed Arlin that he was going to seize (tag) the meat in Arlin's facility immediately. In dismay at the unwillingness of the DATCP officials to be reasonable, Arlin's belief and understanding at the time lead him to tell Patrick that without some papers giving him that authority he was not going to allow him to do so. Patrick and the other DATCP official left, only to return on January 10th with a man named Paul Pierce and a Clark County Sheriff or a Deputy to carry out the seizure. Arlin has not, as of the writing of this article been charged or fined by the District Attorney; but if he or his son tamper with the tags on their meat in their freezers they were told by Patrick that the fine is $5000 per tag. The Benders had Ukrainian friends back in New York who had told them of the tyrannical tactics of the communists in the Ukraine. Arlin said he never expected to face similar tactics here in America.

Arlin said he is a law abiding citizen. He thought that what he was doing in being neighborly and helping his friends with their butchering needs was lawful and above all, the Christian thing to do. He said," All I want them to do, is leave me alone
to help my neighbors. My facility is clean and safe, and I know how to help my neighbors butcher their meat safely, rather than them butchering it hanging from a rafter in a barn or shed."

Jerry Hanson is an owner and a writer for the Eau Claire Journal. Email: jerry@eauclaire-

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