I read the other week about some newly-enchildened pop star going on about how she serves up her breast milk to guests at her Notting Hill pad (or wherever she lives). I know that most of us used to drink it as babies, but I now find the prospect of consuming human milk absolutely foul. Worse, I question the moral rectitude of one who would serve up such a thing to guests. The woman in question spoke about it in tones that suggested she should be commended for offering up the fruit of her bosom for those acolytes downright fortunate enough bask in her presence. However, her antics strike me as the apotheosis of the kind of egocentrism that I think is at least latent in the notion of procreating in the first place, as though one’s being were so special that not only must it be replicated, but others should be encouraged, quite literally, to consume it. Granted it is not especially likely that I shall ever be invited round to someone’s house, and it is still less likely that they will offer me their milk, but were they to do so, I would go “OI! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
It would probably be accurate to say that I find the prospect of consuming human milk to be roughly commensurate with that of consuming human flesh. And this throws up an interesting observation: we seem, in Britain at least, to consume an animal’s milk roughly to the same degree as we consume its flesh. For example, almost everyone eats beef, and almost everyone drinks cow’s milk. Mutton is less commonly eaten than beef, and sheep’s milk is correspondingly less popular than cow’s milk, although some do drink it. Goat meat is not very widely consumed, and goats’ milk does not seem to be very widely quaffed either. Almost nobody eats horse (wittingly at least), and almost nobody drinks horse milk.
Thus, from these wholly unscientific meanderings we can infer a roughly direct proportionality between milk and meat consumption. And yes, I am aware that this would render those who consume breast milk on a par with Jeffrey Dahmer; I am perfectly willing to accept this as a corollary of my argument. What is more difficult is a rather obvious anomaly: pigs.
For many, many people eateth of the swine. But nobody drinketh of its milk. Why is that? I’m sure there is some perfectly reasonable explanation – I’ve heard it said that pigs are hard to milk – but I prefer to leave it as a mystery. The Great Pigs’ Milk Mystery.
And while we’re at it, why does nobody eat turkey eggs?