Milk of Human Kindness

cowlickinghand-1In a previous post, I pointed out how peculiar it was that most of us prefer to consume bovine milk rather than human milk. Also we find breast-feeding beyond infancy perverse and disgusting. Why is this?  I find this question fascinating for many reasons. Anyway, the Swiss restaurant owner who has opened an establishment that serves food cooked with human milk is finding it hard to meet demand. But there might be a simple solution.

Drs Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University have shown that by giving a cow a name and treating her as an individual, farmers can increase their annual milk yield by almost 500 pints. Basically treating animals in a much kinder, humane way is good for yields. Anthropomorphism is not such a bad thing after all.

Oh and as for human milk…. oh come on.. would you?

9 Comments

Filed under In the News, Newspaper, Weird Story of the Week

9 responses to “Milk of Human Kindness

  1. What’s the effect, in terms of their milk yield, of giving a person a name and treating them as an individual?

  2. poietes

    I read that same story and was not at all surprised by it. We name our dogs, why not our cows? If someone were going to be pulling on my teats (if I were a cow), I would prefer to be on a first-name basis. Then, I would be much more inclined to be forthgiving. I mean, it is a very personal relationship, or at least, it used to be.

    And as someone who has breastfed four babies, nah, I don’t think that I would unless I had to. The memory of the pain does not make it attractive to me.

  3. brucehood

    oh poietes, you crack me up!

  4. The thing that I do find amazing is how little appreciation people have had for things such as this for centuries despite being in constant contact with these creatures. Of course, many farmers did treat their cows like individuals but others often thought them crazy for doing it. People have an amazing ability not to notice things that are staring them in the face. Yet another thing that makes psychology as interesting as it is.

  5. poietes

    Thank you. It’s what I live for . . .

  6. Ram Venkatararam

    Thank you for a dairy-related post. As you know, milk is very precious to me.

    I was large child with a prolonged and unnatural attachment to breastfeeding. My mother jokes that this was a early omen of my future life in the management of dairy products…

    I would gladly consume and sell (after considerable mark up) human milk.

  7. The Swiss add yet another string to their bow – being neutral, cuckoo clocks, chocolate, Hitler’s gold and now a range of meals made with human breast milk.
    In times of recession, it’s good to know that we ladies can always find a way to make a few quid on the side.

  8. I don’t know about dairy production on y’all’s side of the ocean, but over here cows are herded into a barn and hooked up to a milking machine.
    When I was breastfeeding years ago, it was much more difficult to fill up the bottle using a tit milker than it was to fill up the baby – who I must say wasn’t particularly kind at the time and never called me by a lovely name because he couldn’t talk.

    I would not jump to the conclusion that a cow gives more milk simply because of a personal relationship – could be because a milking machine is a drag and there is something inherently different in the sucking. Many mothers try to enhance their own milk production through diet. I myself noticed that drinking Guinness seemed to stimulate milk production. Red wine may or may not have increased milk supply, but it did help put the baby to sleep which I considered a major bonus.

    I wonder if the Swiss are providing a crew of lactating women with all the Guinness they can drink? And are these women knocking back a few pints while hooked up to industrial milkers or are they milking themselves manually?

  9. brucehood

    Or better still Tricia, with all that Swiss chocolate around, they might just go for the Choco MilkShake… Hold on a minute.. Am I missing something? Maybe that’s why Swiss Chocolate tastes so good in the first place.

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