I think we can all agree that animals rule. Have you ever shaken hands with a monkey? It’ll change your life. Thanks to memes and viral videos on the Internet, I’ve also gained appreciation for cats, walruses and various forms of rodents. And don’t get me started about dolphins, whales and other sea creatures. If there is such a thing as past lives, my hope is that I used to be narwhal or something. I like to observe wildlife—from a good safe distance, like on TV—and I also like to eat it, grilled for a few minutes on each side and nice and rare in the middle. I may not be the most compassionate person on the planet, but I’m certainly sympathetic to animal and environmental causes. I mean, how will I be able to eat sushi if we keep fucking with our oceans?
It boggles my mind that someone would want to mistreat an animal. I have a dog (he eats meat too, mind you), and he’s not always cooperative. In fact, he’s on behavioral medication, because he’s kind of bipolar. When he’s bad, I’ll yell at him; he’ll get all pouty and I’ll feel guilty. Back when Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick got in trouble for dog fighting, I was as outraged as everyone else. If I accidentally step on my dog’s paw, I apologize with a handful of treats, soothing words and copious belly scratches. If I’d sent him to die in gladiatorial combat for my own profit, I’d probably kill myself.
So, I’m glad that organizations like PETA exist. While I don’t always agree with their stances, I certainly believe they have the right to push their agenda as aggressively as they see fit. The way I see it is, in this current social climate where everything is so over the top and in your face, you have to be extreme to get your point across.
Whether it’s demonstrations or anti-fur ads featuring naked celebrities (particularly Roselyn Sanchez—good call!), you’ve got to get people’s attention somehow. Recently, PETA has made waves in the news again, and like before, breasts are a part of the equation; but in this case, it’s the functionality of the breast that takes precedent.
In a recent letter, PETA implored eccentric ice cream moguls Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (Ben & Jerry’s, duh) to use milk from nursing human mommas as opposed to cow’s milk. Tracy Reiman, PETA’s executive vice president, wrote, “Using cows’ milk for your ice cream is a hazard to your customers’ health. Dairy products have been linked to juvenile diabetes, allergies, constipation, obesity, and prostate and ovarian cancer.” So much for the old slogan: “Milk, it does a body good.” Reiman’s letter also said that the switch to breast milk would be better for both consumers, and of course, the cows.
Honestly, I’ve often wondered why people drank cow’s milk to begin with. Every so often, there’s a feel good story in the news where some momma dog or whatnot takes in a litter of bear cubs and nurses them, but that sort of thing is rare—life affirming and adorable, but rare. We’re the only species that subsists mostly on the milk of another. Maybe we should take PETA’s suggestion to heart. At the very least, trips to Starbucks would be a lot more interesting if they had to squirt a couple drams of breast milk into your morning latte. On the other hand, I saw a porno once where one actress shot a stream of breast milk into the other woman’s mouth, and I was so mortified, I had to skip to the next chapter. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t breastfed as a child.
Ben & Jerry’s was magnanimous with their response. In an article on Independent.co.uk, author Rachel Shields quoted a Ben & Jerry’s spokesperson as saying, “We applaud [the group’s] novel approach to bringing attention to an issue, but we believe a mother’s milk is best used for her child.” Excellent use of the word “novel,” by the way.
Dairy farmers were not as courteous. Dr. Judith Bryans, director of the Dairy Council, called PETA’s claims “a misrepresentation of science.” Maybe she wasn’t breastfed either.