WATERBURY, Vt. -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, cofounders of Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., urging them to replace cow's milk they use in their ice cream products with human breast milk, according to a statement recently released by a PETA spokeswoman.
"PETA's request comes in the wake of news reports that a Swiss restaurant owner will begin purchasing breast milk from nursing mothers and substituting breast milk for 75 percent of the cow's milk in the food he serves," the statement says.
PETA officials say a move to human breast milk would lessen the suffering of dairy cows and their babies on factory farms and benefit human health.
"The fact that human adults consume huge quantities of dairy products made from milk that was meant for a baby cow just doesn't make sense," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "Everyone knows that 'the breast is best,' so Ben & Jerry's could do consumers and cows a big favor by making the switch to breast milk."
"We applaud PETA's novel approach to bringing attention to an issue, but we believe a mother's milk is best used for her child," said a spokesperson for Ben and Jerry's.
Read PETA's letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield
September 23, 2008
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Cofounders
Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc.
Dear Mr. Cohen and Mr. Greenfield,
On behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters, I'd like to bring your attention to an innovative new idea from Switzerland that would bring a unique twist to Ben and Jerry's.
Storchen restaurant is set to unveil a menu that includes soups, stews, and sauces made with at least 75 percent breast milk procured from human donors who are paid in exchange for their milk. If Ben and Jerry's replaced the cow's milk in its ice cream with breast milk, your customers-and cows-would reap the benefits.
Using cow's milk for your ice cream is a hazard to your customer's health. Dairy products have been linked to juvenile diabetes, allergies, constipation, obesity, and prostate and ovarian cancer. The late Dr. Benjamin Spock, America's leading authority on child care, spoke out against feeding cow's milk to children, saying it may play a role in anemia, allergies, and juvenile diabetes and in the long term, will set kids up for obesity and heart disease-America's number one cause of death.
Animals will also benefit from the switch to breast milk. Like all mammals, cows only produce milk during and after pregnancy, so to be able to constantly milk them, cows are forcefully impregnated every nine months. After several years of living in filthy conditions and being forced to produce 10 times more milk than they would naturally, their exhausted bodies are turned into hamburgers or ground up for soup.
And of course, the veal industry could not survive without the dairy industry. Because male calves can't produce milk, dairy farmers take them from their mothers immediately after birth and sell them to veal farms, where they endure 14 to17 weeks of torment chained inside a crate so small that they can't even turn around.
The breast is best! Won't you give cows and their babies a break and our health a boost by switching from cow's milk to breast milk in Ben and Jerry's ice cream? Thank you for your consideration.
Hans Locher, the owner of fancy-schmancy restaurant Storchen in Switzerland, came up with a few new dishes. His recipes for soup, antelope steak with sauce, and Zürcher Geschnetzeltes, small pieces of meat in a creamy sauce, all have one special ingredient added: breast milk. “I first experimented with breast milk when my daughter was born,” Locher said. “One can cook really delicious things with it. However, it always needs to be mixed with a bit of whipped cream, in order to keep the consistency.” He put out ads in search of female donors who would be paid about $14 for 14 oz. of their breast milk. Unfortunately, Locher’s hopes for his très nouvelle cuisine have been stymied. Food inspectors ruled humans are not on the list of authorized milk suppliers. While some foodies are probably sad they won’t be able to re-sample the delicacy they enjoyed as an infant, that may be for the best. We’re pretty sure Locher didn’t get the memo that a woman’s diet can influence the taste of her breast milk. If one of his donors had eaten a banana before pumping, his soup would surely have been ruined. [The Telegraph, U.K.]
A restaurant has been banned from serving up dishes containing human milk on the grounds that the "ingredient" derives from an unauthorised source.
The Storchen restaurant, in Iberg on the outskirts of Winterthur, had advertised for mothers to sell their breast milk for the special menu. But breastfeeding counsellors had labelled the project unethical.
The idea was eventually scrapped after canton Zurich food inspectors said it broke regulations, and threatened to take action. "Humans are not on the list of authorised milk suppliers such as cows or sheep," said department head Rolf Etter.
But Storchen restaurant landlord Hans Locher was unrepentant about his controversial plan and was disappointed with the ban. "The idea is over now and I think it's totally wrong," he told swissinfo.
Locher had planned to serve up human milk in dishes of soup, antelope steak with sauce and the classic dish of Zürcher Geschnetzeltes – bite sized pieces of meat in a creamy sauce. The Storchen, which coincidentally means Stork in English, would have served up these delicacies during a series of special offer weeks.
Locher found inspiration 35 years ago by concocting some dishes using his wife's surplus milk following the birth of his daughter. He finally decided to go public with his culinary novelty after noticing a lot of recent mothers in the neighbourhood. Media storm
"One evening I thought that they must have a lot of extra breast milk that I could do something with. I remembered the excellent results of my previous experiments and dug out some of my old recipes," he said.
Locher offered SFr16.25 ($14.50) for a litre of milk, calculating that he needed about five litres to put a menu together. He got "one or two" responses to his advertisement but had no time to collect any milk by the time the authorities intervened.
Locher admitted that he knew his novelty cuisine would generate publicity, but insisted that the main inspiration behind his idea was to provide tasty dishes. The Swiss media besieged the restaurant within days of the advert for human milk appearing.
"I never thought I would get this much media attention. It is scary what has happened in the past few days," he told swissinfo.
The human milk menu also attracted the attention of the Swiss association of breastfeeding counsellors, which objected to mothers being offered cash for milk intended for their babies. Ethical doubts
"This raises ethical questions. It is not a good idea to pay for milk because it might tempt mothers to put profit before their children," spokeswoman Christa Müller-Aregger told swissinfo.
She also raised practical doubts about the scheme that may have caused problems if it had gone ahead.
"When hospitals stockpile milk banks the mothers and their milk are always given a health check. If a mother takes drugs or smokes then you find traces in the milk," she said.
"Human milk is specifically designed for babies and not to be of nutritional value for adults."
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