Monday, October 20, 2008

La Leche

Living in New England, I've often told J that there's one place I can't leave this area of the country without visiting; the Ben & Jerry's factory in Vermont. Last night, I was at a girlfriend's house when it came up in conversation that it had been reported on a local news station that PETA had submitted a plea to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, founders of the legendary Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, to cease the use of cow's milk in their products.

What was the suggested replacement? Human breast milk! Blech! Shudder and mini-barf in the mouth completed, I decided I had to check the validity of this claim as it could surely not be true. My brief google went straight to the horse's mouth as it were.

Yes, PETA did send a letter urging them to begin using breast milk in their recipes instead of cows milk, after learning that restaurant in Switzerland, Storchen, had decided to purchase breast milk in order to create a menu with items containing at least a 75% breast milk to cow's milk ratio. Never one to shy away from a completely audacious ploy to get attention for a cause, PETA has gone to another level. While I sincerely hope that I'm correctly understanding that they don't really want Ben & Jerry's to use human breast milk, I still had to blog about it because the idea is just, well, gross. Also, it's always interesting to see how something that started out as a joke or at the very least an exaggeration, ends up being a forum for people to unload.

I immediately called Sherri and we, in all our smart-assed glory, started throwing possible names back and forth; Pumped Up Praline, Mint Chocolate Tit, Chubby Booby and Tit Roof Sundae topped the ranks. Hey, I never said we were incredibly creative.

I'm currently breast-feeding C, and am a huge proponent of women breastfeeding when it's possible, but I can guarantee you that there is nothing that would make me stop eating ice cream more quickly than having it be made of breast milk.

I worked full-time with H and spilled some milk on my jeans once while transferring from the pump bottle to a storage bag...the rest of the day, I walked around wondering how I smelled like spit-up. Not really a flavor I'll be jumping to try.

Obviously, I wasn't the only one who had such a visceral response. Here were some of the comments on the PETA blog post regarding the letter, which basically encompass all of the points that I was going to bring up in this post. In an effort to stem my redundancy here you go:

"This is nothing but false humanitarianism! Wake up and smell the roses people - who do you think is going to end up donating the human breast milk???? It won't be Mrs Sally Housemaker living in the rich suburbs, it will be the poor and disadvantaged. Let's not even talk about the disease risks and just the good old YUCK factor. Truly laughable.
Posted by: logical human being September 23, 2008 11:56 PM "

"My wife donates excess pumped milk to the University of Iowa Milk Bank (there is no compensation from legitimate Milk Banks) for use in their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (as well as other NICUs).

Our two month old gets plenty of milk, our two year old son even asks for a glass of "mommy-milk" from time to time, and she is still able to donate about 2 gallons of milk per month.
Even if one stands clear of the ethical debate,logistical and production issues, and regulatory obstacles, there is one major hurdle preventing breast milk from being utilized in ice cream production...the only flavor would be cantaloupe (breast milk tastes like cantaloupe juice...seriously.)
Posted by: Derek, MD September 24, 2008 04:50 PM "

"This is ridiculous. 1. Do you have any idea how expensive breast milk is? 2. Why would you use breast milk on ICE CREAM when there are many American babies needing that nutrition? Mothers who cannot breastfeed need another source of nutrition for their infants, infants without mothers/adopted/wards of the state need breast milk much more than we need "vegan ice cream." Come on. If you know anything about medicine and infant care, you'd know that the physician above is referencing formula made with cows milk, as well as milk we drink daily, which yes, is not the first choice for infants. It does have side effects, and yes, is higher in protein vs. human milk because calves need to grow faster. But right now it's a better alternative than not feeding the infant for mothers who choose not to or cannot breastfeed. You guys are ridiculous. Get your facts straight and think of benefiting the rest of human kind first. Wow.
p.s. If cows have to be "forcefully impregnated every 9 months" how do you think we're going to get milk from humans?
Posted by: Kristen September 23, 2008 08:43 PM "

I then read the PETA blog further and saw a post entitled 'Calling All Breast Milk Recipes' stating that they were gathering recipes due to the current economic crisis and were going to compile and sell a cookbook. Thank God that post ended with "P.S. This entire post is a joke, but given our history, it's understandable if you didn't get that."

In the end, old Ben & Jerry had the final say:


Crafty Mama said...

Uhhhhhh......gag! That would be the quickest weight-loss strategy ever, think of all of the people that would give up ice cream cold turkey! Loved you and Sherri's names, too.

Alex Elliot said...

Gross! I heard about this on the radio a couple weeks ago and I meant to do a blog post about it. The DJs were having a great time making fun of it.