Cows with human milk!?

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Cows with human milk!?

Postby M.C. » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:48 am UTC

Spoiler:
Genetically modified cows produce 'human' milk
Scientists have created genetically modified cattle that produce "human" milk in a bid to make cows' milk more nutritious.

By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent 9:00PM BST 02 Apr 2011

The scientists have successfully introduced human genes into 300 dairy cows to produce milk with the same properties as human breast milk.

Human milk contains high quantities of key nutrients that can help to boost the immune system of babies and reduce the risk of infections.

The scientists behind the research believe milk from herds of genetically modified cows could provide an alternative to human breast milk and formula milk for babies, which is often criticised as being an inferior substitute.
They hope genetically modified dairy products from herds of similar cows could be sold in supermarkets. The research has the backing of a major biotechnology company.

The work is likely to inflame opposition to GM foods. Critics of the technology and animal welfare groups reacted angrily to the research, questioning the safety of milk from genetically modified animals and its effect on the cattle's health.

But Professor Ning Li, the scientist who led the research and director of the State Key Laboratories for AgroBiotechnology at the China Agricultural University insisted that the GM milk would be as safe to drink as milk from ordinary dairy cows.
He said: "The milk tastes stronger than normal milk.

“We aim to commercialize some research in this area in coming three years. For the “human-like milk”, 10 years or maybe more time will be required to finally pour this enhanced milk into the consumer’s cup.”

China is now leading the way in research on genetically modified food and the rules on the technology are more relaxed than those in place in Europe.

The researchers used cloning technology to introduce human genes into the DNA of Holstein dairy cows before the genetically modified embryos were implanted into surrogate cows.

Writing in the scientific peer-reviewed journal Public Library of Science One, the researchers said they were able to create cows that produced milk containing a human protein called lysozyme,
Lysozyme is an antimicrobial protein naturally found in large quantities in human breast milk. It helps to protect infants from bacterial infections during their early days of life.

They created cows that produce another protein from human milk called lactoferrin, which helps to boost the numbers of immune cells in babies. A third human milk protein called alpha-lactalbumin was also produced by the cows.

The scientists also revealed at an exhibition at the China Agricultural University that they have boosted milk fat content by around 20 per cent and have also changed the levels of milk solids, making it closer to the composition of human milk as well as having the same immune-boosting properties.

Professor Li and his colleagues, who have been working with the Beijing GenProtein Biotechnology Company, said their work has shown it was possible to "humanise" cows milk.

In all, the scientists said they have produced a herd of around 300 cows that are able to produce human-like milk.
The transgenic animals are physically identical to ordinary cows.

Writing in the journal, Professor Li said: "Our study describes transgenic cattle whose milk offers the similar nutritional benefits as human milk.

"The modified bovine milk is a possible substitute for human milk. It fulfilled the conception of humanising the bovine milk."
Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, he added the “human-like milk” would provide “much higher nutritional content”. He said they had managed to produce three generations of GM cows but for commercial production there would need to be large numbers of cows produced.

He said: “Human milk contains the ‘just right’ proportions of protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins for an infant’s optimal growth and development.
“As our daily food, the cow’s milk provided us the basic source of nutrition. But the digestion and absorption problems made it not the perfect food for human being."
The researchers also insist having antimicrobial proteins in the cows milk can also be good for the animals by helping to reduce infections of their udders.

Genetically modified food has become a highly controversial subject and currently they can only be sold in the UK and Europe if they have passed extensive safety testing.
The consumer response to GM food has also been highly negative, resulting in many supermarkets seeking to source products that are GM free.

Campaigners claim GM technology poses a threat to the environment as genes from modified plants can get into wild plant populations and weeds, while they also believe there are doubts about the safety of such foods.
Scientists insist genetically modified foods are unlikely to pose a threat to food safety and in the United States consumers have been eating genetically modified foods for more decades.

However, during two experiments by the Chinese researchers, which resulted in 42 transgenic calves being born, just 26 of the animals survived after ten died shortly after birth, most with gastrointestinal disease, and a further six died within six months of birth.

Researchers accept that the cloning technology used in genetic modification can affect the development and survival of cloned animals, although the reason why is not well understood.
A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals said the organisation was "extremely concerned" about how the GM cows had been produced.

She said: "Offspring of cloned animals often suffer health and welfare problems, so this would be a grave concern.
"Why do we need this milk – what is it giving us that we haven't already got."
Helen Wallace, director of biotechnology monitoring group GeneWatch UK, said: "We have major concerns about this research to genetically modify cows with human genes.
"There are major welfare issues with genetically modified animals as you get high numbers of still births.
"There is a question about whether milk from these cows is going to be safe from humans and it is really hard to tell that unless you do large clinical trials like you would a drug, so there will be uncertainty about whether it could be harmful to some people.
"Ethically there are issues about mass producing animals in this way."

Professor Keith Campbell, a biologist at the University of Nottingham works with transgenic animals, said: "Genetically modified animals and plants are not going to be harmful unless you deliberately put in a gene that is going to be poisonous. Why would anyone do that in a food?
"Genetically modified food, if done correctly, can provide huge benefit for consumers in terms of producing better products."


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/agriculture/geneticmodification/8423536/Genetically-modified-cows-produce-human-milk.html

I had to check the date on the article.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Vellyr » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:13 pm UTC

That's so gross, but I bet in 50 years we'll all be drinking it.

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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Ulc » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:20 pm UTC

Vellyr wrote:That's so gross


Why?

I mean, if you consider human milk gross, cow milk isn't really all that much different (except targeted at a different specie).

It's interesting that they've managed to do it, but I'd like to see how it works out a couple of generations later - if the genes are still around and what the mortality of the cows are compared to non-edited cows.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Technical Ben » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:45 pm UTC

Disease? At least I guess that is the usual reason to avoid such things.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Vellyr » Sun Apr 03, 2011 2:40 pm UTC

Why?

I mean, if you consider human milk gross, cow milk isn't really all that much different (except targeted at a different specie).


Honestly, drinking something that comes out of a cow's teat is even grosser, but for some reason it doesn't elicit the same primal reaction as human milk. Maybe it's the way society has made boobs taboo, or maybe it feels wrong because it seems regressive, I don't know.

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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby The Reaper » Sun Apr 03, 2011 2:58 pm UTC

Vellyr wrote:
Why?

I mean, if you consider human milk gross, cow milk isn't really all that much different (except targeted at a different specie).


Honestly, drinking something that comes out of a cow's teat is even grosser, but for some reason it doesn't elicit the same primal reaction as human milk. Maybe it's the way society has made boobs taboo, or maybe it feels wrong because it seems regressive, I don't know.

Some humans eat feces from other humans. I don't think I can be cranky at the people that like milk just yet.

Also, boobs = awesome. Best part is, everyone's got a set :D

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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Levi » Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:17 pm UTC

Sure, but half of them are useless and not nearly as awesome as the useful half.

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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:24 pm UTC

Presumably simply breeding cows to produce milk with human milk nutrition levels is harder to do than introducing transgenes?

I don't really get it. Are they trying to produce a strain of cow that makes better milk for human BABIES, or better milk for humans? Because we should just get over the idea that milk is good for you; it's not something humanity should be viewing as a staple. Except the mongolians of course.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Woofsie » Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:41 pm UTC

But milk is good for you. It's an awesome source of protein and calcium, among other things.

If this new milk is healthier for adults then it should totally catch on. It's no more disgusting than lots of other foods we eat.

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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Von Haus » Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:04 pm UTC

Things like this always make me wonder if farmers and the like have actually been involved in the research process. The cows are now producing milk optimal for human consumption right? So what the hell are we supposed to feed the calves on? They need the cow's milk at a young age before being switched to (in our case) cake and water so that we can have the milk for ourselves. If the milk the mothers are producing is no longer as suited for feeding the calves surely that will have a negative impact on them? And if we are then encouraged to add suplements to the milk to go to the calves then that is ridiculous, and could cause massive problems if the GM cattle become more common in the developing world making those farmers reliant on the whims of MNCs in MEDCs. (See problems caused by GM rice sold to Indian farmers replacing traditional plants due to a greater yield but also making them reliant on imported fertiliser the price of which then rises greatly by factors out of the farmer's control and suddenly mass food shortages.)

Another big objection of it from me is this:
There are major welfare issues with genetically modified animals as you get high numbers of still births.

Having a still birth is massively traumatic for the mother, even more so when the calf dies young which has also been a stated effect, inflicting that on the cows just to get a bit of a nutrient boost for ourselves is cruel.

Vellyr wrote:Honestly, drinking something that comes out of a cow's teat is even grosser

I take it you're either a vegan or you're lying to yourself (or both) then?

Izawwlgood wrote:Because we should just get over the idea that milk is good for you; it's not something humanity should be viewing as a staple

Fat, fat can be bad for you, we shouldn't encourage people to eat any of that either, or apples, they're sugary and can damage your teeth, clearly they're not healthy. Quite a few people find milk tasty, and do not find it unhealthy (I asume you were coming from the "mild and widespread lactose intolerance" angle, which is a fair one, but it doesn't mean there aren't people in places other than mongolia that are fine with it as well which seems to be what you are saying.) As for staple, what do you mean by that? Peoples diet varies a lot between people, let alone societies, the "staples" in my food cupboard could well be completely different from those in yours. But fine, if it's not a staple lets get rid of cheese, yoghurt, cream, milk, these things are found in quite a lot of food for quite a lot of reasons, taste, texture, consitency and health, and so I'd say they could be a staple for other valid reasons even if you argue against the health of them. It could also be argued that fat is unhealthy so shouldn't be a staple, well there goes pastries, anything fried, meat. What exactly are we having left to eat once we get rid of the "unhealthy" staples?
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Apr 03, 2011 5:21 pm UTC

Woofsie wrote:But milk is good for you. It's an awesome source of protein and calcium, among other things.

If this new milk is healthier for adults then it should totally catch on. It's no more disgusting than lots of other foods we eat.

There's more calcium in a cup of spinach than there is in a glass of milk, and take a guess as to which requires more effort in terms of farming. The 'milk has calcium that's good for you!' is an advertising campaign aimed at exaggerating our perceptions of the nutritional value of whats in the refrigerated aisle at your grocer. Source of protein? So are nuts.

Von Haus wrote:So what the hell are we supposed to feed the calves on?

Presumably this isn't supposed to be a bovine wide change. Besides, calves raised for slaughter are pumped so full of other crap, the nutrition they get from nursing isn't really an issue.

Von Haus wrote:What exactly are we having left to eat once we get rid of the "unhealthy" staples?

Your strawman went head to head with my hyperbole. I'm not suggesting we put a cease and desist order on the entire dairy industry, I'm suggesting we as Americans stop thinking of milk as a goto replacement for healthier foods. Making milk healthier is sort of missing the point.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Von Haus » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:05 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:There's more calcium in a cup of spinach than there is in a glass of milk, and take a guess as to which requires more effort in terms of farming. The 'milk has calcium that's good for you!' is an advertising campaign aimed at exaggerating our perceptions of the nutritional value of whats in the refrigerated aisle at your grocer. Source of protein? So are nuts.

As I said before, there is more to food than it's nutritional value. You seem to be completely ignoring this.
Izawwlgood wrote:Presumably this isn't supposed to be a bovine wide change.

If they're altering the genes and actually intending to have cows being born like this rather than having to alter the genes and implant every one of the human milk producing cows then you will be getting bulls produced with this gene as well right, and it will have to be a dominant gene? (Aside: Has the impact of having this gene alteration even been tested on males? This is why I'm always wary of GM, I'm not against it in principle, but it always seems to be pushed forwards without all impacts being considered, though I guess if this is still early stages testing on male calves may happen at a later date before they try to get it reproducing.) And if you then have bulls carrying this dominant human milk gene then maybe for a while you will be able to keep the human and cow milk producing lines separate but over time I struggle to believe the human milk line won't get across which will ultimately bring up the aforementioned problem of not having cow milk for the calves, we may be able to delay it but eventually you're not going to have enough milk to feed the calves.
Izawwlgood wrote:Besides, calves raised for slaughter are pumped so full of other crap, the nutrition they get from nursing isn't really an issue.

May I suggest if you don't like the beef pumped full of crap you buy the beef that's not full of crap? It is out there you know, and very tasty. :P
That raises another point about the keeping human and cow milk producers separate actually. If people only want "human milk" (which would be the point of this whole thing) but farms still have to be keeping a cow milk herd as well to feed all the calves then, well, that's just not going to be feasible for small farms, or really even medium sized ones. I can only see it really being practical for massive factory farm style producers, which is going to have the same problems you're complaining about in meat. Also, calves are also raised to provide milk and more cows, they don't all go to slaughter anyway, so the "Pumped full of crap and not needing nursing nutrients" argument doesn't even stand anyway as that's only for a section of all calves.

Izawwlgood wrote:Your strawman went head to head with my hyperbole. I'm not suggesting we put a cease and desist order on the entire dairy industry, I'm suggesting we as Americans stop thinking of milk as a goto replacement for healthier foods. Making milk healthier is sort of missing the point.

Okay, my language may have got a bit carried away but still, if you're saying it shouldn't be a staple then surely you are saying we should be eating less of it. That same logic can be applied to fats as I did and the logical result of that is you are reducing the availability of interesting foods. All I had to respond to was "Because we should just get over the idea that milk is good for you; it's not something humanity should be viewing as a staple." You saying that milk isn't as healthy as we think it is and from that it should not be a staple. I think it is unfair to say I made a straw man because I wasn't addressing a point you were yet to make, a bit of hyperbole maybe but no straw man, I only argued against the point you made. I wasn't replying to anything about milk being a go to replacement for other foods because you hadn't made that point at that time, merely your assertion that because it is not as healthy as we think it is milk should not be a staple. In a way you saying I was making a straw man about you abolishing the dairy industry is in fact the straw man in this. Replace "get rid of" with "reduce" and with the hyperbole gone maybe you'll actually consider my point rather than attacking me for using a straw man.

As for the we as Americans bit, well, other than the fact that I'm not American, do American's actually view it as a super healthy go to though? I mean, if there is a massive craze for skimmed and semi skimmed milk surely that is people thinking that milk is fattening and unhealthy and so being altered? If that's the case where is the “milk is a health food” thing coming from in the first place? The calcium adds? It's advertising, all advertising will make a product’s strengths seem more impressive than they are and ignore the products weaknesses, that's not really saying much. (Also, note that I don't think full fat milk is unhealthy or the thing people should be cutting if they want to avoid fat. I’m looking at you junk food.)
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:06 pm UTC

I'm going to have to say "eww". I don't like the idea of human-cow hybrids; when the cows are no longer profitable as milk-machines they are turned into beef. Would manbeef be cannibalism? If DNA is just ribose chains and flesh is just lipids sugars and proteins, how "close" does something have to be to humans to be human? Could you synthesize a human DNA instead of extracting it, and would it be human? What is inherently wrong with cannibalism? Keep in mind that (sexual thing)
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Ulc » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:23 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:What is inherently wrong with cannibalism?


This is probably more of a debate in SB business thing..

But I'd really like to see a argument against consensual cannibalism that isn't basically one large cry of "it freaks me out, it's unnatural!"
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Angua » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:26 pm UTC

Well, risk of disease is higher in general (especially the prion ones like kuru which is similar to mad cow or scrapie). I would advise to cook well and avoid any nervous tissue at the very least.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Dark567 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:28 pm UTC

Ulc wrote:This is probably more of a debate in SB business thing..

But I'd really like to see a argument against consensual cannibalism that isn't basically one large cry of "it freaks me out, it's unnatural!"
Most of the time we are not okay with killing humans for almost any reason, certainly not for food. Eating people that die naturally is pretty unhealthy, as usually the meat is bad from whatever the cause of that persons death was, barring accidental death. Basically there isn't a good way to get healthy human meat that doesn't involve other actions that we typically consider immoral.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:29 pm UTC

Uh... That's not quite true CorruptUser. Sperm is quite different from muscle.

Von Haus wrote:If they're altering the genes and actually intending to have cows being born like this rather than having to alter the genes and implant every one of the human milk producing cows then you will be getting bulls produced with this gene as well right, and it will have to be a dominant gene?

There are breeds for dairy and breeds for meat (well, multiple, at that). I sincerely doubt this is aimed at making ALL cows on the planet produce milk geared towards human nutrition. But no, presumably this could also be engineered to be only carried in the presence of certain crosses, and allow it to be breed in and out of populations as needed.

Von Haus wrote:Also, calves are also raised to provide milk and more cows, they don't all go to slaughter anyway, so the "Pumped full of crap and not needing nursing nutrients" argument doesn't even stand anyway as that's only for a section of all calves.

You seem to be hung up on the notion that calves are reared by their mothers; in swaths of the cattle industry, that's not really the case, and, even if it is the case, calves are slaughtered for meat far after they are weaned (mostly).
Von Haus wrote: I mean, if there is a massive craze for skimmed and semi skimmed milk surely that is people thinking that milk is fattening and unhealthy and so being altered?

Fat free and skim milk just support the idea that we shouldn't be drinking the stuff throughout our lives, to the extent that the dairy industry wants us to. That they had to significantly modify the nutritional content of milk to make it 'healthy' for lifelong consumption should tell you something. That we use a lot of dairy products isn't an indication that it's good for you, but that culturally, we're pretty good at keeping cattle.
Von Haus wrote:If that's the case where is the “milk is a health food” thing coming from in the first place?

The dairy industry. I'd think that was pretty obvious.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Ulc » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:35 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:Eating people that die naturally is pretty unhealthy, as usually the meat is bad from whatever the cause of that persons death was, barring accidental death. Basically there isn't a good way to get healthy human meat that doesn't involve other actions that we typically consider immoral.


That isn't a argument against cannibalism though, it's a argument against murder.

As in, it doesn't contain any reason that cannibalism in itself is immoral, merely that the options one has for doing it in a moral (and preferably safe) way is rather limited.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Box Boy » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:37 pm UTC

I see nothing morally wrong with cannibalism unless the meat came from an unwilling person.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Dark567 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:42 pm UTC

Ulc wrote:That isn't a argument against cannibalism though, it's a argument against murder.
Oh, completely. But I am saying thats probably the reason why most people view it as immoral, people often aren't very good a separating out morals like that.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:27 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Uh... That's not quite true CorruptUser. Sperm is quite different from muscle.


Sperm is still alive and a part of the human body, like nerve cells, skin cells, pancreatic cells, etc. If cannibalism is defined as eating part of a human body... Let's take the parallel; eating a human egg. It's more or less the same as sperm (kind of), but if people ate them like a delicacy, then it would be understandable that there would be massive protests, especially if they were fertilized.

But anyway, back to my earlier point; if the cows have human DNA, is eating them cannibalism? Because cows that are unproductive will end up in your hamburger. I don't trust the regulators enough to assume that no mancows will end up in your burger.

EDIT: FROM BELOW

Von Haus wrote:Also, for eating sperm to be canibalism would be to say that sperm are human, which would not just be pro-life/anti-choise but also ruling out condoms, masturbationg, sex even as that would be comparable to genocide...


No, sperm are PART of a human. Like blood, kind of. If someone was drinking blood, that person would be considered a cannibal (or at least I would consider that person a cannibal). Anyway, my point with the sperm line is, the lines between acceptable and unacceptable are often unclear. I don't consider spermophagia to be inherently evil, but isn't is still technically cannibalism and thus it should be wrong?
Last edited by CorruptUser on Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:40 pm UTC, edited 7 times in total.

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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Von Haus » Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:27 pm UTC

Ulc wrote:This is probably more of a debate in SB business thing..

But I'd really like to see a argument against consensual cannibalism that isn't basically one large cry of "it freaks me out, it's unnatural!"

This depends entirely on your definition of consensual. If full consent is given from all affected living parties then there isn't an argument against it that doesn't boil down to "freaks me out and unnatural". However due to the sheer scale of "all affected living parties" that isn't really that useful. As freaking out a third party, even if the one person does agree to be killed and eaten by another, is an effect of the situation and should be given at least some importance. The value you put on that third party (along with the two main parties and any others with the same of different views) determines if you think the action is acceptable or not.

Izawwlgood wrote:Uh... That's not quite true CorruptUser. Sperm is quite different from muscle.

Well that's saved me from covering that, thanks. :D Also, for eating sperm to be cannibalism would be to say that sperm are human, which would not just be pro-life/anti-choice but also ruling out condoms, masturbation, sex even as that would be comparable to genocide...
Izawwlgood wrote:There are breeds for dairy and breeds for meat (well, multiple, at that). I sincerely doubt this is aimed at making ALL cows on the planet produce milk geared towards human nutrition. But no, presumably this could also be engineered to be only carried in the presence of certain crosses, and allow it to be breed in and out of populations as needed.

Well yes, I didn't refer to meat production in that bit as to get the necessary milk for the calves that go on to be milk producing you'd need more milk than the meat cattle could provide if you were to start milking them (and this is ignoring the fact that a larger proportion of cattle that go to meat production are male anyway). So the meat lines aren't really anything to do with this discussion, the link was only made in your reference to calves pumped full of crap. So the only carried in certain crosses becomes irrelevant as the milk for the calves has to come from the cattle aimed at milk and that leads us right back to our previous point. As to breeding in and out of populations, I'm not actually sure we would be able to that and still it would boil down to having to have some milk cows carrying it and some not which again leads back to my last post.

Izawwlgood wrote:You seem to be hung up on the notion that calves are reared by their mothers; in swaths of the cattle industry, that's not really the case, and, even if it is the case, calves are slaughters for meat far after they are weaned (mostly).

Well personally I'm against those swaths of the cattle industry anyway but that's nothing to do with this discussion. The part you quoted had absolutely nothing to do with calves being raised by their mothers, I think you're taking an argument made in my very first post against the still births and the like and then applying that to everything else I say or something, it doesn't quite make sense...
"Calves are slaughtered for meat far more often than they are weaned", urm, what? Okay, the statistics are going to be skewed by all bull calves going to meat (apart from the few ones that go into sperm production) and only a portion of the cow calves but every single cow calf that goes in to milk production was weaned rather than slaughtered for meat, along with every bull calf that goes to make beef rather than veal. I read that as "more" rather than "after" never mind, though still, unless there is a massive veal craze sweeping the states surely not many calves are slaughtered for meat full stop, I'm not an expert on the meat side but I'm fairly sure they're allowed to grow to a decent size before slaughter, it's just be more cost effective. Anyway where were we, urm... right. Again the slaughtered for meat stuff is nothing to do with this. We are talking about the milk producing cows, which aren't the ones pumped full of crap to promote meat growth, the raised by their mothers thing is nothing to do with what I said and your point doesn't really say anything.
Izawwlgood wrote:Fat free and skim milk just support the idea that we shouldn't be drinking the stuff throughout our lives, to the extent that the dairy industry wants us to. That they had to significantly modify the nutritional content of milk to make it 'healthy' for lifelong consumption should tell you something. That we use a lot of dairy products isn't an indication that it's good for you, but that culturally, we're pretty good at keeping cattle.

Or not. Fat free and skim milk supports the idea that people recognise milk has a comparatively high fat content for a natural drink and so want it reduced. It's skimmed and fat free because people think it will keep them thin, nothing to do with lifelong consumption, so it really doesn't support your point at all...
And are we pretty good at keeping cattle? Yes. Is that why a lot of people eat lots of dairy products? No, it means it can be cheaper and more available than it otherwise would be but people eat dairy products because they like eating dairy products. Yes, the dairy industry wants people to drink milk throughout their lives but people don't really give a damn what the dairy industry wants, a lot of people consume dairy products throughout their lives because they want to consume dairy products throughout their lives and having not experienced the detrimental effect you say doing so has on their health they have no reason not to.
Izawwlgood wrote:The dairy industry. I'd think that was pretty obvious.

Industry plays up the positives of its products. That's what's obvious. Milk is a source of calcium, not as much as spinach sure, but it's got some, so they tell you about it, that doesn't stop it being true. The dairy industry points out beneficial qualities present in their products, yes, that's obvious, they're an industry! When I said "where is the 'milk is a health food' thing coming from" was saying that if people have it skimmed for health benefits how do you then go on to say that people believe it to be a great health food. The calcium and having milk all you life things also appear to be confused here, are you denying that milk has calcium and health benefits or are you arguing that cow’s milk is not necessarily suitable to humans throughout their life as show by lactose intolerance and the like?
Oh and also health food vs healthy food. Food can be healthy without being a health food. I'd put milk in that category, but would I be right to say you are saying it shouldn't be viewed as a health food (I agree and haven't said anything against that) and also that milk is itself bad for you?
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:43 pm UTC

CorruptUser: My saliva contains cells; if I make out with someone, does that make us cannibals?

Von Haus wrote:The calicum and having milk all you life things also appear to be confused here, are you denying that milk has calcium and health benefits or are you arguing that cows milk is not neccessarily suitable to humans throughout their life as show by lactose intolerance and the like?

I'm not denying that milk has nutritional value, I'm saying that humanity at large hasn't really evolved the metabolism to consume milk throughout the entire life. A steady diet of milk is akin to a steady of, say, high carbs, or high meats; it's outside the realm of our normal nutritional requirements. Lactose intolerance has nothing to do with it.

In terms of energy to produce, dairy is significantly higher than, say, spinach. Obviously market pressures are driven by desire, and there's a higher demand for dairy than spinach, but the argument that people eat it, therefor we should continue eating it isn't really holding much water here. That we've produced reduced fat milk or are considering altering the protein and fat balance of bovine milk to make it more in line with human milk is akin, really, to low fat potato chips or zero sugar cola's. Yes, potato chips and soft drinks have nutritional value, and making them healthier is probably a good idea, but it's kind of akin to trying to make a car that floats, instead of just going with the boat.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby The Reaper » Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:55 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:CorruptUser: My saliva contains cells; if I make out with someone, does that make us cannibals?
Saliva and half zygotes (re:sperm) are not flesh and thus should probably not make you a cannibal, but I'm sure that can be contested as well.

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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Nath » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:04 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I'm saying that humanity at large hasn't really evolved the metabolism to consume milk throughout the entire life. A steady diet of milk is akin to a steady of, say, high carbs, or high meats; it's outside the realm of our normal nutritional requirements. Lactose intolerance has nothing to do with it.

What does it mean, specifically, to 'not have evolved the metabolism to consume milk'? What is it in milk that we can't metabolize?

Many humans have evolved to consume milk into adulthood. That's what lactose-tolerance is. Most people from places with a history of dairy farming have this adaptation.

I'm with you about greens being a better source of calcium, but your best example for protein is nuts? I just checked the nutrition info on a box of cashews I happen to have at hand; a whopping 5g of protein per 160 calorie serving. I'd need to eat a 4480 calorie diet to get my target amount of protein if all my food was that low-protein. Nuts are great, but we shouldn't think of them as a high-protein food.

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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby M.C. » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:20 pm UTC

CorruptUser: under your definition I was a cannibal for biting the skin around my fingernails as a child. I don't think that it is a sensible one.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Box Boy » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:34 pm UTC

M.C. wrote:CorruptUser: under your definition I was a cannibal for biting the skin around my fingernails as a child. I don't think that it is a sensible one.

Actually, that does count as cannibalism as far as I can see.
Just not of the wrong variety, as you gave consent to yourself.

Nath wrote:What does it mean, specifically, to 'not have evolved the metabolism to consume milk'? What is it in milk that we can't metabolize?

Humans can literally not survive on a diet of pure-breast milk into adulthood.
It just doesn't provide the nutrients we need, and isn't viable once, for example, your mother's mother dies, as now your mother has no food source aside from others within her generation, and after a while of this happening to other people all nutrients end up being recycled from person to person until the milk's as good as cardboard and everyone starts starving to death.

At least that's how I read it.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Nath » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:40 pm UTC

Huh? Humans can't survive on a diet of only kale or turnips, either. Let's not eat those either.

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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Box Boy » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:53 pm UTC

Nath wrote:Huh? Humans can't survive on a diet of only kale or turnips, either. Let's not eat those either.

Yeah, but we weren't saying we shouldn't eat them, just that we shouldn't exclusively eat them.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:54 pm UTC

I must not be communicating clearly.
My comments about the nutritional value of milk are trying to convey NOT that it's bad for you or that it has no nutritional value, but that this notion of it being a required staple of our diet is overblown by the dairy industry. People obviously can and do consume dairy well into adulthood. There are obviously foods that have a lower nutritional value than milk.

What I'm trying to convey is that metabolically speaking, milk is meant for newborns, and the dairy industry wants you to be drinking more of it, so will try and convince you of things, like that it's high in calcium, or protein, or enriched with vitamin D. So what? As I said, it's obviously a good thing to be consuming things that are good for you, but drinking milk because you think it's the only way to get calcium or protein is silly.

And Nath, you picked one of the fattiest nuts out there to compare. And for what it's worth, one cup of cashews at 150 calories, 12g fat, and 5g protein compares fairly closely to a cup of milk at 150 calories, 8g fat, and 8g protein. (data from http://nutritiondata.self.com/)
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Nath » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:15 pm UTC

Dairy is not necessary (no individual food is), but it's a convenient, cost-effective source of some nutrients. Whole milk is a better protein source than nuts, but skim milk, for instance, has an even better protein ratio (8g/83 calories). Then there's whey and cottage cheese and Greek yogurt. Apart from meat and beans, dairy is where I get most of my protein.

Did we have this conversation before, or am I just having deja vu?

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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby crowey » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:19 pm UTC

I can't be arsed to go back and quote the relevant bits...

re: spinach having high calcium, yes, but it was a really poor choice for an example, since humans can only absorb about 5% of that calcium, making the effective nutritional content quite a bit lower. Though yes, I agree with the broader point that there are other good sources of all the stuff one can obtain from milk.

re: cannibalism, ethics of killing people for food aside, the best argument against it is kuru.

re: whether GM foods with a human gene in constitutes cannibalism. No. One gene does not make a human. especially in this case where the genes for making human-type milk would only be active in very few tissues that one is unlikely to eat, so the only difference between normal beef and the modified beef would be a few different nucleic acids.

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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Von Haus » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:28 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:this notion of it being a required staple of our diet is overblown by the dairy industry

This may be where cultural differences are causing the confusion, I don't think the "staple of a diet" thing is as common in the UK. Over here as far as I'm aware people drink milk/eat dairy/use it in foods, because it's tasty rather than especially because they've been told it has massive health benefits, it kind of is a staple but much like fat it is common because it's nice rather than for staying healthy. There is a general perception that a glass of milk is good for you I think, in that it does more good than harm, milk gives you strong bones and the like, which will surely play some part but not a massive "must have milk to be healthy thing". I mean milk is still a source of calcium and a convenient one due to its availability.

The milk is high in protein and vitamin D stuff I have never even heard of before so again that may well be an American thing, I have never thought of milk as a source of protein or vitamins.
Metabolically milk is meant for newborns animals, and that was the case for humans too, however many cultures domesticated milk producing animals thousands of years ago and over time their metabolisms have changed to work with this, as far as I am aware lactose intolerance is where that's not happening properly. And in cultures where milk producing animals were not domesticated it's true those people are not adapted to drink milk.
Izawwlgood wrote:drinking milk because you think it's the only way to get calcium or protein is silly.

I'm currently having a bowl of cereal with milk. The cereal is advertised as being enriched in vitamins and iron, I doubt it's as good a source of these as other things but it still gives me some of them, definitely more than I'd have in my diet otherwise and the cereal industry is building that up to sell their product. Does that mean cereal shouldn't be a staple? And at no point is it suggested that the only place to get vitamins and iron is cereal, just as I doubt it says that the only place to get calcium is milk, just that it is a good source of it.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:04 pm UTC

Von Haus wrote:Does that mean cereal shouldn't be a staple?

Yes. That's exactly what I'm saying; anytime a company advertises the nutritional value of it's product, we should avoid that product entirely, expunge it from our diet.

Nath wrote:Apart from meat and beans, dairy is where I get most of my protein.

This, to me, sounds like saying, "Aside from the gallons of water I drink daily, eating fruits is where I get my water from" minus the, you know, over the top hyperbole. And yes, before you jump on it, I KNOW some people don't eat lots of meat, and milk provides a nice alternative from beans for protein.

Nath wrote:Then there's whey and cottage cheese and Greek yogurt.

Which isn't something you see celebrities with milk mustaches in magazines running pitches for. The tag line is not "Greek Yogurt; it does a body good".

crowey wrote:since humans can only absorb about 5% of that calcium

And the absorbence of milk? And as an aside on the dairy industry and it's awesome bone fortifying prowess, someone, for shits and giggles, should take a look at how much phosphorus is in cows milk vs, say, spinach.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby crowey » Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:28 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
crowey wrote:since humans can only absorb about 5% of that calcium

And the absorbence of milk? And as an aside on the dairy industry and it's awesome bone fortifying prowess, someone, for shits and giggles, should take a look at how much phosphorus is in cows milk vs, say, spinach.

Disputed, but widely accepted as better than that of spinach because spinach also contains rather a lot of calcium chelating chemicals. All I was saying is that of all the green leafy veg you could have chosen, spinach was a bad choice. Absorbance from milk is roughly comparable to absorbance from brassicas such as kale or broccoli.

FWIW, I'm from the UK and there really isn't the same level of promotion for dairy products as wicked awesome for bones, so I'm finding your anti-milk* stance rather amusing.

*not really anti, but whatevs. :wink:

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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:36 pm UTC

My stance isn't really anti-milk as much as anti-genetically modifying cows to produce healthier milk and cheering on the health benefits of milk for it.

I love milk. I'd give up meat before I gave up cheese. Milk may or may not do a body good, but it sure as shit does my tastebuds good.
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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby crowey » Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:39 pm UTC

I think we agree then :lol:

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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Nath » Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:55 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Yes. That's exactly what I'm saying; anytime a company advertises the nutritional value of it's product, we should avoid that product entirely, expunge it from our diet.

That would limit my dietary options to... distilled water. :)

Izawwlgood wrote:This, to me, sounds like saying, "Aside from the gallons of water I drink daily, eating fruits is where I get my water from" minus the, you know, over the top hyperbole. And yes, before you jump on it, I KNOW some people don't eat lots of meat, and milk provides a nice alternative from beans for protein.

The thing is, I consume way more milk protein than bean protein, and some days more than meat. My point is that milk is a major source of nutrition for me. I could do without it, but that would take more effort and cost, for no benefit I can see.

I agree with you that having a giant marketing machine telling us what is and isn't nutritious is a terrible idea, but I think milk and many milk products are actually pretty decent foods -- better than many calorie sources that currently make up a large part of our diet. The fact that amoral celebrity shills are telling us this doesn't make it false.

(I actually haven't seen a lot of this giant milk marketing machine in the US. I've seen the occasional billboard with a picture of a milk mustache, but not nearly as often as I see companies advertising that their sugary crap cereals are certified heart-healthy because they contain a little fiber. Oh, and sugar-yogurt ads, with probiotics and whatnot.)

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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby DrSir » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:04 am UTC

Nath wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:Yes. That's exactly what I'm saying; anytime a company advertises the nutritional value of it's product, we should avoid that product entirely, expunge it from our diet.

That would limit my dietary options to... distilled water. :)


"Distilled water, 100% fresh and natural!" Aww crap...

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Re: Cows with human milk!?

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:05 am UTC

Nath wrote:That would limit my dietary options to... distilled water. :)

No, that's out too; the pure, crisp refreshing taste of Purenium is just an ad stunt.

You're basically down to just air, but only if it's not around a national park.

Nath wrote:The fact that amoral celebrity shills are telling us this doesn't make it false.

Of course not, and I agree that milk has nutritional value, significantly better than a lot of things that aren't even pushed on us. My concern with this campaign to make milk 'better', this time by genetically modifying the cows that produce it, is that it's forcing air into an industry that's built on, in some ways, bullshit. Milk and it's myriad blend varieties are probably one of the better for you food products out there; but it seems to me to be in the same vein of low-sugar soft drinks or low-fat potato chips; it's good that someone's making it healthier, but what would be more 'sensible' (to use a really subjective word in this debate) would be to promote healthier, greener diets. Green in terms of color of food and impact on environment.
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