It's not often that a headline terrifies me, but this one, on page 11 of The Daily Mail on Monday April 4th 2011, did.
As a vegan, I obviously don't think we should drink cow's milk. The cow produces milk to feed her baby, a calf. Female humans produce milk to feed their own babies, passing on antibodies to their offspring.
It's a good system. No bottles to sterilise and carry around. No worries in the summer heat of keeping the bottles of milk cool. No running out of bottles when we get stuck in traffic jams or at airports etc.
Breasts cleverly just keep on replenishing the milk supply. No need to think about increasing the quantity of milk to give the baby, the breast produces as much as is needed, guided by the sucking of the baby. It's a pretty good system, when you think of it.
Sadly, some mothers experience problems with breastfeeding and give up. I had to use nipple shields for a month before I could manage to feed my daughter unaided. But it was worth the inconvenience as she fed from me until she was a year old.
Now, they're genetically engineering cows to produce what they call "human milk". 300 Holstein dairy cows have been "modified" by the addition of human genes to "make their milk contain the same nutrients and fat content as breast milk".
Of course, it's not breast milk. It's cow's milk that's been altered by man. It will still need to be pasteurised, so it will never be the fresh product that babies deserve.
Not to mention that cow's deserve to be allowed to be themselves, not given human genes in order to "benefit" babies!
Patti Rundall, of Baby Milk Action pointed out that there could be "incredible risks with these products that we don't know about. Cow's milk is never going to be like breast milk. It's never going to be a living product like breast milk. Breast milk is species specific - there is no element of risk."
The voice of reason. I hope she's listened to.