Hey, did you hear about the guy who made cheese from his wife’s extra breast milk? No, I’m not kidding. Daniel Angerer is a restaurant owner and chef in NYC, and here is his blog post about making human cheese, complete with a recipe. Public response to this product has ranged from sick, weird, wrong, and disgusting, to most often, simply gross. Someone on Yelp.com said “…the idea of drinking breast milk from a complete stranger is just nasty.”
Over on this Today Show facebook page, among hundreds of eeewww‘s, several fans objected to “breast milk cheese” on the grounds that the milk being used was meant for a baby, and that using it for adults’ food was stealing from a child! Setting aside the fact that in Angerer’s case, there was so much excess breast milk in their freezer that it would have otherwise gone to waste, it’s a legitimate point. Milk is for babies, not for cheese.
Humans, after all, are mammals, and lactation, the production of milk by the mammary glands, is a trait present in all mammals, for the purpose of nourishing their newborns.
Whether human, feline, or bovine, mothers’ bodies produce milk for one reason –for their babies.
But due to some humans’ desires for cheese on their pizza or cream in their coffee, bovines (cattle) have been singled out among mammals for “use” as milk-producing machines. (Actually, they were singled out when humans domesticated them in the late Stone Age, but ice cream and cheese perpetuate the practice.) Wikipedia says, “Most dairy farms separate calves from their mothers within a day of birth to reduce bonding.” Within a day of birth. The newborns are then fed a “commercial milk replacer,” or in other words formula, which ironically is made from a powdered cow milk base. They are not allowed to nurse or to even be near their mothers. Their mothers’ milk is taken instead by full-grown humans, to be turned into, let’s say, cheese.
Of course, that isn’t the end of the story. The mother is artificially impregnated repeatedly, since the pregnancy and birth are what trigger the milk production. Each time she bears a child, that child will be taken from her right away, so her valuable milk can end up on a cheeseburger, along with, perhaps, her firstborn’s flesh.
I myself have never birthed a child or lactated, but I hear it’s pretty exhausting. It certainly takes a toll on dairy cows, which have a drastically shortened lifespan of only about 4 years (of the 20 they might have had). Before long, their tired bodies are deemed fit only for cheap meat products and “beef by-products.”
Dairy cows’ daughters will replace them in the industrial milk factory. Their sons will be killed for veal, hamburger, steak, leather, gelatin, and of course, rennet, which comes from the stomach lining of a baby cow and is used in practically every kind of cheese, including the Mommy’s Milk cheese that sparked this whole discussion. (Rennet makes the milk curdle.)
This is why being vegetarian is not enough. You may not be eating the flesh, but they’re suffering and dying for the dairy industry. Full-grown mammals don’t nurse. Look at any other species. (Or ask yourself if you’d drink from your mother’s breast if she offered it tomorrow.) Whether it’s cheese, yogurt, ice cream, or pudding, the same fact remains. That milk is meant for her baby.