PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) wrote a letter to the ice cream guru's over at Ben & Jerry's asking them to substitute the cow's milk in their dairy products for human breast milk.
Most women don't even breastfeed their babies, let alone nursing the general public. Not to mention the fact that every ounce you put in ice cream is an ounce taken away from a child. I understand the cow's-milk-is-for-baby-cows arguments, but last I checked we humans were slightly higher on the food chain.
To even suggest this is ridiculous to the point of stupidity. Instead of lobbying for harsher regulations for the treatment of dairy cows, THIS is what PETA suggests?? This letter was designed not as a plausible solution (to something that the vast majority of people don't even see as a problem), but to create sensationalism in the media. What it actually achieved, however, is to make the PETA organization as a whole look like cow-hugging fools who more than likely rode the short bus to school.
Reality Check #1: Cow's don't understand the concept of freedom/slavery. That's why a cow who has no fences will remain the same distance from the barn as a cow with fences. Cows understand pain, and in fact will lead themselves to milking stations to relieve over-full udders. (As a former nursing mother, I "udder"stand.) PETA will argue that taking calves away from their mothers causes stress for mom and baby alike, but the reality is that all cows (nay, all mammals) wean eventually - the only difference being that after Bessie Jr. is weaned, mama cow is kept lactating through artificial - milk farming - means.
Reality Check #2: Cows are dumb. Really, really dumb. They've been bred for generations to be dumb. Dumb cows are easy to control. If cows are no longer required for dairy/meat, they WILL die off. Because PETA is not only against raising animals for food but also against keeping animals as pets, it's safe to deduce that the only place they want cows to be is in the wild. Cows are not smart enough to survive in the wild - because they are bred to be dumb - thus, they will become extinct. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals becomes People for Extinction Totalus of Animals. That seems better. Oh wait, no it doesn't.
Reality Check #3: Mammals cannot produce milk without first being pregnant, and even then only for a period of about 1 year afterwards (At which point milk from even the most prolific producer changes vastly in terms of nutritional/sugar/fat content). Daily volume of breast milk from a lactating woman equals approximately 600ml, or 58 gallons per year, providing they exclusively breastfeed and have no supply issues. Children born per year in the entire world = 140 million- therefore total human breast milk production of the entire world - assuming all mothers were to exclusively breastfeed all children born = 8120 million gallons/ year, or 31 million tonnes/year. Annual dairy milk production of some countries: Germany 28 million tonnes, Russia 33 million tonnes, US 67 million tonnes, India 96 million tonnes. So, if we force every mother in the world not to breastfeed their children, somehow collect all of this milk including all milk from all mothers in places with no refrigeration, we will have just enough milk for the Germans, and still have no milk for the rest of the world OR all the babies that induced their mother's lactation in the first place. Perhaps PETA would suggest keeping all women of childbearing age pregnant every year and farm them just like cows? It still wouldn't be enough to keep the US supplied with milk, but hey, we don't care about people - we care about cows!
Reality Check #4: Cows play an integral part in the world economy. No cows = millions of lost jobs = losses of BILLIONS of dollars. Not just in milk/meat sales, but in the farming and production, and harvesting, and transporting, and storage, and packaging, and selling... Plus all the people who make the equipment to harvest the milk, barn makers, cow-food makers, transport vehicle production, storage facility construction including materials producers, am I getting through to anyone yet? It's not just MILK, it's a whole INDUSTRY. An industry that employs millions of people all over the world, who's taxes pay for welfare, and schools, and health care.
Reality Check #5: There is NO all-around replacement for cow's milk. We can replace it in certain areas with certain things such as soy (which can rather drastically affect estrogen levels, and in high levels can actually lead to impotence in humans) or "juice" from various nuts and seeds. However, these all react differently in the presence of other chemical compounds found in other foods, or when heated as in cooking. Let me repeat: There is NO be-all-end-all replacement for cow's milk. Milk from other mammals would, in theory, however it is impossible to produce the sheer volume necessary for world demand. Unless of course we swap out another large land mammal for the cow, in which case we're right back where we started from. Never mind the amount of additional resources that would be required to farm enough of the alternatives to keep up with the demand for milk replacement. Just the amount of land required far surpasses the acreage required for the cows required to produce a comparable amount of milk.
Sheesh. PETA has gone from a respectable organization to a bunch of extremist Eco-terrorists alarmingly quickly
Note to PETA: People will not follow those we don't respect. We're not cows.
Decide for yourselves:
www.peta.org vs. www.petakillsanimals.com