Ice cream from breast milk? PETA’s new campaign urges switch from cow to human milk

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 26th September 2008

Activist group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has begun an unusual, some may even say bold, campaign to get cow’s milk replaced with human breast milk.

They have dispatched a letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, co-founders of American ice cream icon Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc., urging them to replace the cow’s milk in their products with human breast milk. 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 per cent of the cow’s milk in the food he sells.

PETA claims the move would lessen the suffering of dairy cows 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,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said. “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.”

“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,” PETA’s letter to the US company began. “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.”

It is interesting to note the timing of the campaign, which follows the much-publicised contamination of milk products in China. One expects consumers would struggle to embrace the concept, though, and the sourcing could create more than a few difficulties.

Ben and Jerry’s have, for now, politely declined the offer, but applauded the “novel approach” brought to the table by PETA.