Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Human Milk in Human Foods- Brilliant or Barbaric?

PETA wrote a letter to Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Co. urging them to replace the cows milk in their products with human breast milk. Before you get disgusted at the thought of your beloved Phish Food being tainted with the lactations of a 17 year old kid, who got knocked up by a good for nothing who left her at the words 'missed period', who's just trying to make a dime to pay for her one-month old baby, but can't find a job with the hours she needs to pick up said baby from daycare or pay enough for all the diapers... before you get lost in that thought- think about why it is so shocking, assuming it is as shocking for you as it was for me.

You can either say its ok to consume human milk or its not ok to consume human milk (beyond your own mothers milk when you are a baby of course). In our society it is quite unheard of to consume human milk in any form except when we are babies and it is from our own mother. When discussing the issue with a friend, she described it as too close to cannibalism to be ok. While I don't see it as cannibalistic, it is similarly wrong. The sharing of bodily fluids is intensly personal, and to be drinking of another seems somehow.. sacriligious. It is unclean. Worse yet, it monetizes a human bodily function. If this practice were to take hold in the US, it would again be another source for large corporations to gain more capital by feeding off those in the lowest socio-economic status (who would be willing/ forced out of circumstance to sell their milk for money).

As Ben and Jerry's did not jump on the 'Breast is Best' band wagon, whats most important about this letter is to consider the state of animal treatment. If you are not ok drinking human milk, are you ok drinking cow milk? This answer is different for everyone. Are you ok drinking cow milk after hearing that they are forced to be pregnant for most of their life (which allows the cows to continually produce milk), while being caged in tiny stalls, then slaughtered for meat when they can no longer produce milk.

America has made so many innovations in food and farming, and mass production in general. This allows us to walk into a super market and have access to pretty much anything we could need. But at what cost? Next time you walk into a store, think about where each of those products comes from. The fruit and veggies are grown somehwere, the processed foods are made and packaged in a warehouse... the meat before being put in that package used to be an animal living some kind of life. Think about where it comes from. Ask. Ask the store manager, your butcher, etc, where it came from or who his supplier is.

Not having to deal with the daily aspects of survival (like finding and producing food, creating shelter, finding water etc), has allowed for innovation and creation and our way of life. Its easy to be ignorant of the processes that happen behind the scenes in America. But not paying attention and apathy allows processes to become subpar. There are few people who advocate harming animals (ie I haven't heard of any groups or organizations out there) and cited an gallup poll that 96% of Americans think animals should be protected from cruelty. If this is so it seems rather sad that we have let the animal industry get as pathetic as it has. Animals are treated quite horrifically at these 'meat farms' and most Americans turn a blind eye.

I went to an ice cream shop once that ha"d its own dairy farm out back. This is one of the places that is supposedly better at cow treatment? The babies were seperated from their mothers upon birth and CHAINED in these littled huts, ALONE, for 8 WEEKS. Supposedly it limits disease, but how is that humane? All the patrons would get their ice cream and chow down, and some would wander out back to the barn area to see the cows. A few were on display like a zoo, then there were the little calf silohs, just stuck their all alone in their chains. Everyone just stared like it was not a problem.

So ask yourself... what are you ok with? Will you eat anything no matter where it came from, no matter how it was produced? Will you buy anything no matter how it was produced? Or will you become aware. Learn about the process before an item lands on the shelf. If you so choose, and you are inspired to do so, say or do something if something is not right. As Gandhi said, "Be the Change you want to see in the world. "



Miguel Macias October 14, 2008 at 8:03 PM  

This is interesting, thanks for sharing!!

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