Is breastmilk vegan? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
View Poll Results: Is breastmilk vegan?
Yes 233 68.13%
No 82 23.98%
Other 27 7.89%
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#31 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 05:13 PM
 
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Joanna, why was there such an over-supply?
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#32 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 05:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by thekimballs View Post
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?

No. Think of the regular supply and demand process with human breastfeeding. If you hadn't milked out the "extra" their supply would've diminished to what their babies were actually drinking. By milking them, you were in fact perpetuating their oversupply.
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#33 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 05:16 PM
 
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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?
But would they have wanted to be milked if they weren't in a position where they had been made to produce extra milk for human consumption?
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#34 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 05:16 PM
 
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duh, too slow. LOL
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#35 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 05:17 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?
But why did the goats produce so much milk? Was it because they were milked after feeding their kids, so that they could build up a supply for human consumption? Did a mother who had recently given birth, but had never been milked, run to the milking stand and try to get you to milk her? Would their milk supply adjust on their own if you left them alone? Would you milk a goat that didn't go to the stand?

I would vote that it clearly isn't vegan for humans to consume that milk - though it sounds far preferable to factory milk farms.
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#36 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 05:21 PM
 
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in the same way the question "if you were on a desert island and starving, would you eat meat" makes vegans insane and annoyed.


Well would you?
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#37 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 05:42 PM
 
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By definition, vegan means "to abstain from the consumption of products or by-products derived from an animal". Period.

So no, BM would not be vegan.

Your REASON for choosing to be vegan does not affect the definition of the word (ie: having to do with choice, being from the same species, etc).
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#38 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 05:44 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.
this cracks me up. it's still not vegan! that's like saying, "steak is not a vegetarian food unless you feed it to a cow".
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#39 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 05:47 PM
 
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Other= who cares? It's what's best for babies, vegan or not.
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#40 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 05:49 PM
 
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wow, this is a very interesting thread for me, and I've been interested in veganism for nearly 12 years (been veg all that time, and intermittently vegan).
although i DO find the "deserted island/ham sandwich" Q annoying (the answer is YES i'd eat the ham sandwich--my solid veg ethics won't do the world any good if i starve to death because of them, right?)

but i don't percieve the thread Q as a stupid question--when i was bf'ing my daughter, i was under the impression that my breastmilk was only as vegan as my diet was, and i strived to eat as little dairy as possible But using y'all's logic, my dd was actually vegan until she ate her first bite of dairy when she was 2-ish years old...? Consent. Okay. Cool thread, anyway

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#41 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 05:53 PM
 
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this cracks me up. it's still not vegan! that's like saying, "steak is not a vegetarian food unless you feed it to a cow".
UMMM....cow milk is the biologically intended food for baby calves, but not for any other species. just as human milk is the biologically intended food for baby humans, but not for baby calves or any other species.

What creature, please enlighten me, is STEAK the biologically intended food for??

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#42 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 05:54 PM
 
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this cracks me up. it's still not vegan! that's like saying, "steak is not a vegetarian food unless you feed it to a cow".
No, it's not. milk =/= flesh

What you're describing is cannibalism.
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#43 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 05:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Stinkerbell View Post
By definition, vegan means "to abstain from the consumption of products or by-products derived from an animal". Period.

So no, BM would not be vegan.

Your REASON for choosing to be vegan does not affect the definition of the word (ie: having to do with choice, being from the same species, etc).
Sorry, you're wrong. Absolutely 100% wrong.
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#44 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 05:54 PM
 
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What creature, please enlighten me, is STEAK the biologically intended food for??
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#45 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 06:10 PM
 
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What creature, please enlighten me, is STEAK the biologically intended food for??
Me!
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#46 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 06:11 PM
 
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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?
Only because no other animals are smart enough to be able to obtain the milk of another species. Many other animals will happily drink the milk of another animal if given the opportunity. It's not really a valid argument against consuming dairy products. It would be like saying, are humans the only animals that grow plants specifically to eat them? Well, yeah.
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#47 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 06:13 PM
 
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no offense, but this question makes vegans insane. many find it very offensive.
To be honest, I never even *considered* this question, until I heard the issue brought up by... vegans. Yes, there are some ill-informed vegans out there who state that breastmilk is not vegan and a vegan child should not drink it. I suspect those vegans do not and will never have children. They are clearly not thinking it through. But, it was the first context in which I *ever* heard this idea proposed.

I agree that it ought to be an offensive question, and I'm glad that most vegans are of a much more sane mind about the issue. But, if it's vegans who are going around saying, "Breastmilk is not vegan," you can't criticize non-vegans for getting confused and asking why, or how prevalent that interpretation is.
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#48 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 06:19 PM
 
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This thread has me !!

Are people being vaccinated vegan, as aborted fetal substance is in the immunizations? Or, because the ingredient in question is actually from a human, it is therefore considered vegan?

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#49 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 06:22 PM
 
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I want to apologize for offending vegans, but I still think these questions are interesting and at least they are posted on TAO and not the veg forum where I imagine it would get old quick to have to constantly defend your beliefs.

I'm not a vegetarian although there was a time when I didn't eat animal products and I refered to it as total vegetarianism since I wasn't sure what was really included in veganism, and what I might not be understanding. I bought some books about veganism and vegetarianism, and I even read some of them enough to know that there can be a lot that appears to be open to interpretation. I do think of veganism as having some immutable definitions, but since I couldn't be sure I was adhering to them well enough to not offend, I chose not to use the term.

One of the books I did read all the way through was The Vegan Sourcebook and she talked about how although vegans would eschew various things and why, there might be reasons why a vegan might hold onto some old things made from animal products. As a non-vegan with a fairly mainstream diet, I'm not exactly sure of all the finer points, and I honestly might not think that milk from a non-vegan mother was vegan just because of the consent issue. I mean I totally understand the consent issue, but at the same time I think of it mostly to describe a situation like breastfeeding, because it doesn't seem like consent is going to play into it when you are talking about other species, and just arguing consent might be tricky. In that sense, I can see why some people might just not get it, even though it seems clear to me that a vegan mother would breastfeed her baby.

I ended up not doing too well at total vegetarianism even, just because early on my ILs came to visit and made a bunch of grilled chicken breasts the night before they left, thinking my dh would eat them. The next day he told me that if I didn't want them, he was going to throw them out because no way was he eating them. He doesn't really like grilled chicken breasts. I was pretty darn annoyed because I felt like he should eat them, but I didn't want to trash them and I ended up eating them, and then going off meat again after that.

I have a friend and relative who are vegetarians, and they consume dairy and even wear leather and have it in their cars. But they are very picky about eating vegetarian foods that might possibly be contaminated by meat. Now if they were to avoid a certain restaurant because they didn't want to contribute money towards a company that mainly promotes and sells meat products, I would understand. But the only reason they avoid it is because they don't want to eat a veggie burger that might be cooked on a surface that meat has touched.

I know some people are vegetarians and it is the consumption of meat that is that is the problem, not the intent, but when I have chosen to be vegetarian, it was for reasons based on not wanting to contribute to the exploitation and pain of animals. In general, however, I wouldn't refrain from eating my vegetarian food if it inadvertantly got contaminated by someone else's meat juice or what have you, because my goal isn't specifically not to eat animal products, it's more the by-product of how I wanted to live my life.

I think the consent issue is interesting and makes for some unsual points of conversation, describing situations that are so far afield as to not really be particularly practical, but still are interesting. Not too long ago I read the book Alive and one of the things that came up is that the survivors of the plane crash did not eat the flesh of some of the people because the surviving relatives did not want that. But some of the remaining survivors were quite clear in giving their consent to be consumed should they die, and some of them were. And possibly there were some that did not want to be eaten, but it sounds like the wishes were granted as they were made known. There had to be some sort of boundaries guiding it for the people to not go completely mad in deciding what to do. It wasn't something I had really thought about, to tell you the truth, but I thought it was interesting.
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#50 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 06:23 PM
 
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Yeah I'm only very specifically referring to the inital question regarding the definition of vegan. I was a nutritionist and took classes specializing in vegan dietary changes. The definition of vegan excludes breastmilk because we are animals. It has nothing to do with choices or staying within the species. that's all. I dont have any FEELINGS about it...just offering my answer based on my schooling.

I lived a vegetarian life for most of my life, I BFd 3 babies and have participated in plenty of lactivism. This is not a political statement...it just is the definition of veganism! That's all, peeps. :
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#51 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 06:31 PM
 
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I'm not voting because there's no response that conveys my irritation with the question. :
Please explain.

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Originally Posted by Jokerama View Post
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.
I understand you're annoyed, but how are people supposed to learn if they can't ask questions? I don't think the OP had any malicious intent, and there's clearly disagreement on this question as seen in the responses.

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To be honest, I never even *considered* this question, until I heard the issue brought up by... vegans. Yes, there are some ill-informed vegans out there who state that breastmilk is not vegan and a vegan child should not drink it.
I had the same experience - a vegan told me breastmilk isn't vegan, and I wasn't able to really argue with him because I'm not vegan myself and don't know a whole lot about it.

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Are people being vaccinated vegan, as aborted fetal substance is in the immunizations? Or, because the ingredient in question is actually from a human, it is therefore considered vegan?
Many vaccines contain animal products. Here is an article with a familiar photo at the top listing some of those: http://www.associatedcontent.com/art...at.html?page=3

Discussion of vaccines and being vegan:

http://www.vegfamily.com/vaccines/ar...ines-vegan.htm

Plus similar info from pro-vaccine sources:

http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize...vac_ingred.pdf

http://www.immune.org.nz/?t=920
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#52 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 06:32 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.
I'd find the latter question annoying for two reasons: 1) the idiocy of the presumption that meat would be available on a desert island, and 2) the likely frequency with which the question would arise.

Is (2) why the question "makes vegans insane"? I can't really see why it would be considered offensive -- it seems like a pretty valid question with quite a few aspects to consider.

(I can, of course, see that it would be annoying for someone who is a vegan nursing mom to be hit with silly "gotcha!" stuff from people who would argue that nursing violates her vegan lifestyle b/c BM is an animal product.)
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#53 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 06:33 PM
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UMMM....cow milk is the biologically intended food for baby calves, but not for any other species. just as human milk is the biologically intended food for baby humans, but not for baby calves or any other species.

What creature, please enlighten me, is STEAK the biologically intended food for??
Wolves and other ferocious predators... like humans.
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#54 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 06:46 PM
 
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WNB, put down the club and WALK AWAY!
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#55 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 06:49 PM
 
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But why did the goats produce so much milk? Was it because they were milked after feeding their kids, so that they could build up a supply for human consumption? Did a mother who had recently given birth, but had never been milked, run to the milking stand and try to get you to milk her? Would their milk supply adjust on their own if you left them alone? Would you milk a goat that didn't go to the stand?

I would vote that it clearly isn't vegan for humans to consume that milk - though it sounds far preferable to factory milk farms.
It IS a supply/demand equation, but the does would have been in tremendous pain if we had left them with just their kid(s) to empty them. They get engorged just like we do, and they scream with pain. So I would never have left them to adjust on their own; it would have been unthinkable. Their natural production at peak lactation is 8-10 quarts a day, while the baby might take half that at most. And you really can't dry off a dairy doe before she's at least eight or nine months into her lactation, whereas the babies are done nursing at about four. If you try to leave her alone, not only is she in tremendous pain but she can get horrible mastitis and abscess, even gangrene.

The maiden does never fought us--they were all used to the stand because that's where they got feet trimmed, etc. It might take them a few days to connect the stand with milking (so very early on they might just stand there and look confused), but once they understood they were always eager to be milked.
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#56 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 06:54 PM
 
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I thought that vegan meant that it was not an animal product (or animal). Like, cow's milk (or cheese, or yogurt) is an animal product. Aren't humans animals?


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#57 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 07:05 PM
 
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Confusing stuff.:

I don't believe that breastmilk is vegan, whether mom is a vegan or not.
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#58 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What creature, please enlighten me, is STEAK the biologically intended food for??
Wolves, lions, coyotes, dogs, cats, tigers, hyenas, vultures, humans, etc.

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#59 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 07:20 PM
 
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it is offensive because the majority of the time vegans are asked this question it is an attempt to discredit veganism. THE MAJORITY. So Im sure you can see how irritating it is. Most people ask questions like that, and the desert island question, etc to find some kind of loophole, so they can say "Gotcha!". Its not cute and its not fun. I dont care what whoever's dictionary says, but breastmilk IS vegan. Veganism is not purely about diet. Thats vegetarianism (or strict vegetarianism) Vegans eat the way they do, because that diet is a byproduct of veganism.
In my experience, most nutritionists know squat about veganism.

As to the goat question, one of the biggest reasons the milk wouldnt be vegan, is its not vegan to raise goats in the first place. The only way it would be vegan would be if they were rescues which is a whole other story.

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#60 of 142 Old 07-27-2007, 07:29 PM
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it is offensive because the majority of the time vegans are asked this question it is an attempt to discredit veganism. THE MAJORITY. So Im sure you can see how irritating it is. Most people ask questions like that, and the desert island question, etc to find some kind of loophole, so they can say "Gotcha!". Its not cute and its not fun. I dont care what whoever's dictionary says, but breastmilk IS vegan. Veganism is not purely about diet. Thats vegetarianism (or strict vegetarianism) Vegans eat the way they do, because that diet is a byproduct of veganism.
In my experience, most nutritionists know squat about veganism.

As to the goat question, one of the biggest reasons the milk wouldnt be vegan, is its not vegan to raise goats in the first place. The only way it would be vegan would be if they were rescues which is a whole other story.

That makes sense -- I can see how the question would be annoying in that context. But I don't think that was how it was asked here, nor have many (any?) of the answers been contrived to discredit veganism. I'm not vegan, but I certainly respect the principles of those who are. I'm also aware that one person's ethical reasons for living a vegan life may differ substantially from another's reasons. (Which is to say they may define "veganism" differently, and have different perspectives on such "Is X vegan" questions, like this one.)
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