it's liquid human meat!

Breast milk enters Chinese cuisine

According to local newspapers, a restaurant in southern Hunan province has started offering dishes cooked with human breast milk.

Two dishes were offered for the first time on 25 January, featuring abalone and perch. It plans to offer a banquet featuring 108 dishes made with human milk, which would cost in the region of 280,000 yuan (US$33,000), one report said.

The milk used so far is reported to have come from six peasant women who were still breast-feeding their children. No details have been given on how much they were paid or how much milk was used.

"When the customers are having the human milk banquet, they can experience maternal love at the same time."

So. Vegan?

Also I like how they refer to it as "human breast milk", you know, as opposed to that other kind.

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56 Responses:

  1. whats the difference between drinking it as a child, or as part of a dish as an adult?

    • Practically? A whole bunch of things, including the difficulty children have getting adequate nutrition from anything else, the numerous developmental functions that are specifically supported by mother's milk, and the function of suckling in parental bonding. Ethically? Probably depends on how it's produced and traded.

      Or if the question is, why is it okay in one case and gross in the other, I'm not sure. Personally, I think it's kind of weird because drinking another person's milk is such an intimate act. Babies are fed by their mothers, or by close relatives or other people who will be close to them for a long time to come. Seems weird to buy that from a stranger.

    • Dunno, what's the difference between tasting/swallowing your lover's semen/vaginal juices and tasting/swallowing a stranger's?

  2. giantlaser says:

    "Also I like how they refer to it as "human breast milk", you know, as opposed to that other kind."

    Be glad they clarified that point. This is China we're talking about.

  3. siphet says:

    So. Vegan?

    in the sense of vegan being "choosing a lifestyle that does not support animal exploitation", and if the 6 women weren't - i would argue yes.

    although the "peasant" reference doesn't inspire much confidence that this is what we have here.

    • I guess when vegans get philosophical about it, most of them end up concurring that it's about consent. In this case if the mammals gave informed consent to how their breast milk would be used, I think most vegans would say it's vegan. (Animals aren't capable of consenting to have their bodies or labor appropriated, so they never qualify: cf. bestiality.)

      Apart from the, you know, abalone and perch.

      But I'm a vegan too -- and whatever you call it, there's no way I'm touching that stuff, with or without the fish. Ewww.

      • rapier1 says:

        So what if you just used animals that died of natural causes? Say, road kill or scavanged prey animals. Since you weren't complicit in their suffering in anyway and after they are dead the issue of consent is essentially moot wouldn't that qualify as vegan in this light?

        • frandroid says:

          It would! But then a vegan, not used to eating meat, would probably have trouble digesting it. So they should stay away from it anyway ;]

          • siphet says:

            It would

            i'd agree. although, getting agreement among the vegan hoards on this might be one of those microsoft vs apple debates.

            • rapier1 says:

              So really when you get right down to it being vegan doesn't necessarily mean being vegetarian. Is that right? As long as you don't actually kill or cause suffering and/or death to an animal its okay?

              • No, refraining from eating products of non-human animals is definitely part of being vegan. But I guess most vegans decide boundary cases by the test of consent. I'm not really an expert in this, though, so don't trust me.

                Some people do refrain from eating meat except in the case of roadkill, which they happily scrape up and grill or whatever. That doesn't qualify as vegan but maybe freegan or something. I don't know and as long as I'm never invited to their house for dinner I don't much care.

                The whole boundary-case thing really bores most veg*ns, by the way... slightly less interesting than that freshman philosophy class you hated... "is a venus fly trap vegetarian?" ...ok, we get it, you find our beliefs fascinating, what else is on :)

                • jwz says:

                  So, if veganism is all about consent, then that means that when your dog is humping your leg, it's perfectly ok to jerk him off, bestiality or no?

                • rapier1 says:

                  Honestly I'm not asking about these edge cases because I'm hoping to amuse or otherwise titilate you. Nor am I hoping to trip a vegan up in some sort of logical inconsistency. I was honestly just interested in finding out more about it. I actually admire the dedication that a lot of vegans have and I accept the necessary inconsistancies in the philosophy (such as the exploitation of people tends to be seen as more acceptable than the exploitation of animals, or that the desire to avoid animal products often pushes vegans to using petro products, etc. Any philosophy when placed in the confines of reality necessarily engenders contradictions. Only a fool gets hung up on those though).

                  Personally, my feeling is that if a vegan doesn't want to talk about these things then they should
                  a) not advertise that they are a vegan in such a way as to pruposefully draw attention to themselves (which I am not accusing you of doing but quite a few people do)
                  b) Be willing to accept that other people will think they are being tools for not being willing to discuss various aspects of it that people *not* associated with veganism find interesting (which I am also not accusing you of doing).

                  In my case, I like it when people ask me about things that I feel passionately about. Even if its the same dumb question over and over it always gives me an opportunity to really open a conversation (nb: no, i'm not a christian evangelist).

                  • siphet says:

                    In my case, I like it when people ask me about things that I feel passionately about. Even if its the same dumb question over and over it always gives me an opportunity to really open a conversation

                    agreed!

              • siphet says:

                So really when you get right down to it being vegan doesn't necessarily mean being vegetarian. Is that right? As long as you don't actually kill or cause suffering and/or death to an animal its okay?

                according to my sources, that is correct - with the inclusion of "exploitation".

      • siphet says:

        Apart from the, you know, abalone and perch.

        apposite point.

        But I'm a vegan too -- and whatever you call it, there's no way I'm touching that stuff, with or without the fish. Ewww.

        what's the turn off?

  4. mike_higher says:

    I guess this is what the 'milk of human kindness' means??

    PS: Does cooking human milk cause it to curdle? I thot even with breast pumps etc, the milk was supposed to be kept at such-and-such temperatures and only for so long? I thot it was more perishable than the bovine kind.

    • mendel says:

      Well, it's neither pasteurized nor homogenated when it comes out! But who knows what they do between the, uh, donor and the table.

  5. xenogram says:

    Also I like how they refer to it as "human breast milk", you know, as opposed to that other kind.

    What, monkey-breast milk?

  6. lordshell says:

    Better than a steaming bowl of man-chowder.

  7. drhoz says:

    well, they could be milking it from the African Multimammate Rat, Mastomys.

    Yes, there really is a rodent best-known for its tits.

  8. fastfwd says:

    And I thought it was only in the US that they were getting militant about this breast-feeding thing.

    I guess it's OK, provided you don't make an LJ icon out of it...

  9. ammutbite says:

    "the function of suckling"

    There is something oddly captivating about this phrase....

  10. sethg_prime says:

    Do they serve it with placenta stew?

  11. msjen says:

    Ewwwww. Well, I suppose you could go either way on the vegan thing...I would say no because it's still kind of exploitative, you don't really know what the situation was in which the milk was procured. Plus, it has meat in it anyway.

    And, looking at that dish is making me feel quite ill. I can always count on you for nauseating internet content! ;)

  12. gordonzola says:

    Finally! Thank you China!

  13. poopsmoothie says:

    Generally breast milk is vegan, because it's given consensually. Some might argue that it being sold commercially, for profit makes it not vegan, but that's like level 6 veganism.

  14. Hm. Well granted, I do like breasts and all, but in the sexual way and not the food way considering that I'm not exactly an infant anymore.

    Unless you're talking milk from big dumb bovine animal teats, then sure, that's a food source. I don't look at cows in that way so it doesn't weird me out.

  15. heliocide says:

    I suppose an at least vaguely relevant point is that breast milk is a) the most important immune-boosting substance in the first two years of life for mammals, as it contains colostrum, high concentrations of IgA, and is otherwise close to perfect nutrition (at least for an infant), and at the same time it is b) a potenttial vector for deadly diseases, like AIDS and Lyme Disease, to name a couple.

    Sort of a two-edged sword, that. Though, in the final analysis, I think the fact that chinese peasants are the ones "donating" their milk, and the exorbitant prices involved, I think it's safe to say that a) exploitation is virtually guaranteed, and b) they almost certainly have things in their milk that you don't want.

    Oh well, back to getting breast milk the old fashioned way...

  16. "Netscape" is now a Digg ripoff ... it's got tags, Ajax, RSS, user icons, comments ... a veritable Web 2.0 cargo cult.

    • mikesol says:

      JWZ is undoubtedly aware of this, and if he finds it important I'm sure we'll see a post. Otherwise, concentrate on the mommy milk, okay? :)

  17. belgand says:

    I'm willing to bet the only reason that this hasn't happened in the US yet is because they'd be shut down almost immediately for violations of health codes. Unless I'm mistaken the FDA forbids the sale of human milk due to the disease risk.