Monday, April 4, 2011

Human Milk From Cows

This isn’t what I was planning on posting today, but this article really got me thinking:  Scientists in China have genetically engineered 300 cows that produce milk very similar to human breastmilk.  At first glance, there are a couple of possible pros to this:  It would be a great alternative to formula for babies, and it might even be better for adult humans to drink than regular cow’s milk. 
Just last night NotDonna and I were talking about how weird it is that the only milk most adult US Americans are not grossed out by is cow’s milk.  Cow’s milk is designed for COWS.  And what makes it more palatable than goat milk, or giraffe milk for that matter?  Really, if humans want to drink milk, human breast milk should still be the first choice.  Obviously, that’s not very workable since most human breast milk should be going to feed human babies, but you get my point.  And all that said, I still drink organic cow milk occasionally, though I am phasing it out for Ethical reasons until I can find a local, humane dairy farm from whom to purchase milk.
Back to the genetically modified (GM) cows:
On further thought, there are TONS of cons to this idea.  Here are just a few:
-          The last thing we need is yet another “alternative” to breast feeding being promoted. 
-          The calves of these GM cows suffer and die.  The milk isn’t nearly worth the cost of all that suffering and death.
-          The milk has a lot of the same compounds as human milk, and they’re touting its “immune boosting” properties, but leaving out that fact that what it lacks are any of the mother’s antibodies, the main ingredient in breastmilk that protects babies.
-          It will have to be pasteurized and whatnot, which will kill half the benefits of it.
-          Human infants have what’s called an “open gut” which allows through much larger microbes than an adult stomach.  If there is ANYTHING unusual in that milk, microbes, particles, etc., it will pass straight into the blood stream of the baby eating it causing, at the very least, allergies, and possibly much worse.
-          I doubt they have yet tested the milk to see how it will actually effect human infants.
-          Did I mention that producing this milk is CRUEL!?!
-          And that people should just frigging BREASTFEED or get breastmilk from a milk bank?
I mean, really, isn’t breastfeeding and promoting and educating about breast feeding a MUCH more obvious and logical course of action?  Not to mention a cruelty free one.