Is breastmilk vegan? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Is breastmilk vegan?
Yes 233 68.13%
No 82 23.98%
Other 27 7.89%
Voters: 342. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wondering...

Tis the season, for hot apple cider!
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#2 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 02:01 PM
 
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I think of vegan as kind of a philosophical term more than a biological definition. In the sense that breastmilk is an animal product, I would have to say no, but in the sense of what vegan is and means, I would say yes. Unless the mother producing the breastmilk is not a vegan, than maybe not. I mean if you were a vegan mother and had to get donor breastmilk, maybe it would be important to you that the milk come from a vegan mother.

Anyway, in general my answer is yes because of how I interpret veganism and what it is trying to accomplish.
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#3 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 02:02 PM
 
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Of course it is. It comes from a mom and is given to a baby of the same species. And it's given with consent.
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#4 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 02:05 PM
 
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I wouldn't consider it vegan if the mom isn't on a vegan diet, but if she were, then yes. But that's just me!
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#5 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 02:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by littleaugustbaby View Post
I wouldn't consider it vegan if the mom isn't on a vegan diet, but if she were, then yes.
That's a given, just as cupcakes aren't vegan if they contain animal products.
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#6 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 02:12 PM
 
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OK, so breastmilk may or may not be vegan, depending on the diet of the mother. Honestly, I wasn't sure, but that was my general thought anyway. I ended up voting other because of that.
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#7 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 02:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Viola View Post
OK, so breastmilk may or may not be vegan, depending on the diet of the mother.
Yep. If the breastmilk contains animal proteins other than human it isn't vegan. I assumed the OP was talking about a vegan mother's breastmilk, but maybe I shouldn't have.
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#8 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 02:21 PM
 
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Of course it is vegan!
Being vegan means you dont use animal products from other species. It is completely natural and expected to feed your young with milk intended for them.

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#9 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 02:23 PM
 
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Of course it is. :
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#10 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 02:42 PM
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Your own - yes.
Donor/wet nurse - no.
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#11 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 02:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by WNB View Post
Your own - yes.
Donor/wet nurse - no.
I'm pretty sure I disagree but I'd like to hear your reasoning.
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#12 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 02:52 PM
 
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I can't answer the poll. All the possible answers are silly.
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#13 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 02:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicole lisa View Post
Of course it is. It comes from a mom and is given to a baby of the same species. And it's given with consent.
This. Ad infinitum.

It's not about it being an "animal product" it's about consent.
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#14 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 02:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WNB View Post
Your own - yes.
Donor/wet nurse - no.
That doesn't make any sense, unless the donor/wet nurse is being tied down and pumped against her will. If she's giving the milk of her own accord, it's absolutely vegan.
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#15 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by kama'aina mama View Post
I'm pretty sure I disagree but I'd like to hear your reasoning.
Well, it was sort of tongue in cheek, but I figure veganism is based on not utilizing any animal products, presumably b/c of the exploitation involved in their production. Insofar as "donor" milk is donated in good faith, without any financial inducements, I suppose it can be considered non-exploitative, but wet nurses have almost always been lower in the socio-economic pecking order than the people employing the wet nurses -- classic scenario for economic exploitation. So that seems to rule breastmilk from a wet nurse out as a vegan substance.
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#16 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 03:06 PM
 
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Interesting. I think most donor milk these days comes from comfortable middle class stay home moms who have a milk surplus and a big heart. I cross nursed once and there was no inducement at all except a cute kid who wanted milk.
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#17 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 03:54 PM
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I would say from a strictly biological viewpoint, no. It is an animal product, not a vegetable product. Even if the mom is vegan, it is still an animal product, because we are animals.

But from a philisophical viewpoint, yes, it would be considered fine for human consumption, since it is from our own species, and is in the natural order of things (no one is being harmed in order to obtain it).
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#18 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 03:57 PM
 
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I'm not voting because there's no response that conveys my irritation with the question. :
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#19 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littleaugustbaby View Post
I wouldn't consider it vegan if the mom isn't on a vegan diet, but if she were, then yes. But that's just me!
Well, then, based on your logic, wouldn't a cow who ate strictly vegan (grasses, grains) produce vegan milk?
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#20 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 03:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainbowbird View Post
Well, then, based on your logic, wouldn't a cow who ate strictly vegan (grasses, grains) produce vegan milk?
Cow milk is only vegan if it's drunk by calves, not by any other creature.
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#21 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Interesting discussion, thanks everyone. I'm not vegan at all, but I could never figure out/decide if breastmilk was or wasn't.

So basically, breastmilk is vegan if the mom is vegan, and it is given freely. That makes sense, thanks!

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#22 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by whateverdidiwants View Post
Cow milk is only vegan if it's drunk by calves, not by any other creature.
Because of the consent issue?
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#23 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 04:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainbowbird View Post
Well, then, based on your logic, wouldn't a cow who ate strictly vegan (grasses, grains) produce vegan milk?
Well, if you are talking about a calf drinking it, then I suppose you could say the calf is on a vegan diet. Except that I think veganism is a human construct and is a way to guide our behavior towards other animals, not a way to define the behavior of other animals.

There is no way a person drinking cow's milk, even if the cow only eats grasses and grains, could be considered vegan.
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#24 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 04:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by QueenOfThePride View Post
So basically, breastmilk is vegan if the mom is vegan, and it is given freely. That makes sense, thanks!


NO. It's vegan because there's no coercion--it has nothing to do with what the mother eats.
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#25 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 04:06 PM
 
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Of course it is.

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#26 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 04:07 PM
 
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I think so, because herbivorous mammals breastfeed their young.

I'm wondering--animal people, y'all can help me with this--are humans the only species who regularly consume the milk of another species? I know there are occasional stories of a cat nursing puppies or some such, but are there any animals that, as a species, rely on the milk of another species as a regular part of their diet past infancy?
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#27 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 04:07 PM
 
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no offense, but this question makes vegans insane. many find it very offensive.

in the same way the question "if you were on a desert island and starving, would you eat meat" makes vegans insane and annoyed.

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#28 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 04:09 PM
 
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Ok, then, I have an actual, serious question about milk/vegan beliefs.

I raised dairy goats until I was in my late teens. I hand-milked everybody. The moms BEGGED to be milked. They did not like the feeling of a full udder and there was absolutely no way that their kids could consume it all. If I let them out of their big loafing area, they would run for the milking stand and fight over who got to jump up first. The milking process was gentle and the does would sigh with relief as they were milked. The milk went first to the babies and then what was left over to the humans.

SO--since I've seen this behavior many, many times over years of experience, I'm pretty sure that this was as close to consent (actually begging) that any animal could give with as much of a brain as it has. So was my goat's milk vegan?
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#29 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 04:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainbowbird View Post
Because of the consent issue?
Yes. I think it's a safe bet that a mama cow, if given the choice, would happily nurse her baby and would NOT want any other creature to take her milk.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jokermama
no offense, but this question makes vegans insane. many find it very offensive.

in the same way the question "if you were on a desert island and starving, would you eat meat" makes vegans insane and annoyed.
Yes! Thank you!
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#30 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 04:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by frog View Post


NO. It's vegan because there's no coercion--it has nothing to do with what the mother eats.
I honestly think for some vegan mothers, donor milk from an ominvore might be problematic. Maybe not, but there are already different opinions right in this thread.

In general I think it is, well, ludicrous, for lack of a better term, to consider human milk non-vegan and I think it is mostly a point of view put forth by non-vegans who are trying to discredit veganism. But I don't think the question posed by the OP is pointless because I have heard of rare cases of those who believe that infants should not have human milk because it comes from an animal. If there are people out there who have these sorts of beliefs that they would completely eschew any product that can remotely be tied to an animal to the point they would not want to breastfeed their babies, I think it is a point worth discussing and trying to debunk within the confines of vegan philosophy. I understand that they aren't interpreting veganism the way it is, and some would say *should* be interpreted, and that the shouldn't call themselves vegans because of that, but sometimes this stuff gets out into the general public. So it's worthing making the point clear, IMO.
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