Saturday, September 27, 2008

Got Breast Milk?: Interspecies Suckling

Would You Drink Breast Milk Ice Cream?
Not long ago, Hans Locher, the landlord of the Swiss restaurant Storchen, announced he intended to serve soup, sauces, and even antelope steak in a glaze that contained up to 75% human breast-milk content. The idea came to him 35 years before when he experimented cooking with his wife’s surplus milk. Locher offered US$14.50 for a liter of human milk, but his aspirations were squashed by the Swiss government: "Humans are not on the list of authorised milk suppliers such as cows or sheep."

In response to the international news on Locher’s proposal, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), sent out a letter to Ben & Jerry’s, requesting that they begin to integrate human milk into their product. (Using human milk for human food isn’t the newest idea). Ben & Jerry’s then sent PETA a letter of their own. They wrote: "We applaud PETA's novel approach to bringing attention to an issue, but we believe a mother's milk is best used for her child." A woman who was later interviewed at the Ben & Jerry’s factory was grossed out by the suggestion, especially after having to deal with nursing her own children: “The (breast) pumps just weren't that much fun. You really do feel like a cow.”

In all the buzz, Americans really didn’t understand PETA’s intentions. The letter was in jest, a clever way of getting the press to not only inform the public on the perils of drinking cow’s milk, but also to rattle some awareness into people that “cow’s milk is for baby cows.” Ben & Jerry’s letter summarized PETA’s point to the tee: “Mother’s milk is best used for her child.” In other words, stop making ice cream with the milk of mother cows; calves should be drinking cow’s milk, not human adults!
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